By Corie Lecane
Artist: Tyler the Creator
Release Date: May 17, 2019
Tyler the Creator, the 28-year-old Ladera Heights native, has worn many hats during the 12 years since he founded the rap collective Odd Future. Rapper, designer, producer, director, comedian; you name it and Tyler has tried his hand at it in some facet. However, IGOR, the fifth studio album from the rapper, explores a lane that Tyler has never fully immersed himself in musically. IGOR is pure vulnerability from beginning to end.
While Tyler has explored vulnerable themes in his music his father’s abandonment in “Answer” and bullying throughout his discography, it’s usually done under the guise of comedy and at times it’s even done with the alternate personalities Tyler has created in his music. IGOR is purely Tyler, exploring the peaks and pits of emotions after a breakup.
In the track, “I Think,” which is clearly reminiscent of Kanye West’s heartbreak era, Tyler details the beginning stages of the romance outlined throughout the album, “I think I’m falling in love, this time I think it’s for real.” Tyler croons over deep brassy synths and whimsical rolling flutes.
While IGOR isn’t too far off from the bluesy soulfulness of Tyler’s fourth album Flower Boy, it’s a complete departure from the horrorcore-esque world he’s sewn together in his previous three albums. He’s honest and candid and at times pleading in a way that resonates with anyone that has had to go through losing someone before they’re ready. In addition, the lack of crediting features makes one thing unmistakable, IGOR is Tyler’s.
IGOR at its core is simply an album about love. Love found, love lost and loving oneself enough to know when it’s time to let go. Tyler has always pressed boundaries in his music but he’s chosen the avenue of honesty to portray this in IGOR instead of his usual edgy one-liners.
He says it best on the track, “Running Out Of Time,” an uncharacteristically stripped down track with musical breaks of dreamy synths and soft piano chords interwoven throughout, “Stop lyin’ to yourself, I know the real you.” The entire track could be dedicated to Tyler just as much as the object of his affection, as IGOR is Tyler baring himself in a way that shows as much vulnerability as it does character development.
IGOR debuting at number one on the Billboard charts sends a clear message, the vulnerability is effective and people are listening.