Take 'em Back Radio
- Tron Cat
- Bitch Suck Dick
To be honest, that tagline is absolute nonsense. Hip-hop isn’t dead, and it will never die, but it has become a bit stale. There just doesn’t seem to be the same passion that used to be there. These days, it feels like everybody’s just going through the motions.
Enter Tyler the Creator and his OFWGKTA collective, a group of 17-20 year old kids from Southern California who are pissed off and full of swag. But why should teenagers from SoCal be pissed off? How about fathers or aren't there? Or 21st century ennui? Or your best friend getting sent to boarding school because his mom doesn’t like his “disrespectful” music?
Well, Tyler’s got all of that rage on reserve on his new album, Goblin. A follow-up to 2009’s self-released Bastard, Goblin picks up exactly where Bastard left off. Supposedly the albums are all part of a three-part series that delves into the consciousness of Tyler and his justification, or lack of justification, of his erratic, violent, and rebellious behavior. In this way, Goblin is as dense as a Michael Haneke film. The beats are miraculously minimalist and terrifying. He raps about murder, rape, drug use, and other random acts of violence, not to endorse the actions, but to force his audience to consider why they’ll accept these themes from other artists, but criticize him when he uses them.
The imagery is equally disturbing yet oddly engaging. Here’s the video for the album’s single Yonkers, which features Tyler serving up his stream-of-consciousness emotional outpouring one-on-one with the camera and couple other sight gags:
Goblin is emotional, violent, evocative, and most of all fun. It’s encouraging to see a 20-year old kid making something of himself and telling of a generational shift, as he never could have made this kind of cultural impact without the help of the internet. Although Tyler’s youth is one of the factors of his appeal, it also seems to be holding him back at this point. The album could have benefitted from a good deal of editing as entire tracks seem too juvenile and unnecessary, but for now we’ll just chalk that up to Tyler still not reaching his full potential yet.