Today, Tyler, The Creator’s newest album Goblin drops. Ever since Tyler and his Odd Future crew started making noise, they’ve always gotten strong reactions from listeners and critics alike. Love them or hate them, it’s almost guaranteed you’ll feel something about them. That’s why we gathered some of the most significant voices on the Internet and had them write their own mini-reviews of Tyler’s latest creation. See what they had to say and be sure to leave your own review in the comments.
THE CONSENSUS PANEL: Andrew Barber (FakeShoreDrive.com), Combat Jack (DailyMathematics.com), Robbie Ettelson (Unkut.com), Kathy Iandoli (HipHopDX.com), Paul "Gooch" Cantor (PaulJCantor.com), Jeff Rosenthal (ItsTheReal.com), ego trip (egotripland.com), Karen Civil (KarenCivil.com), Confusion (PigeonsAndPlanes.com), Rob Markman (MTV), Brad Wete (Entertainment Weekly), Modi (DCToBC.com), Mike Waxx (IllRoots.com), Foster Kamer (New York Observer), Dallas Penn (Dallaspenn.com) and Ernest Baker (Complex).
See mini-reviews from each panel member below...
PANELIST: ego trip, ego trip
REACTION: Things ego trip Feels the Urge to Do While Listening to Tyler, the Creator’s Goblin:
Think, "Wow, this new Neptunes album is really kinda aggro."
Send copy to Oprah and wait for head to explode.
Wait for Drake to hop on "The Rapey Movement." (Rapey Movement >>>>Hyphy Movement.)
Rename album: Efil4Ysatnafdetsiwtkradlufituaebym
Declare ourselves awesome and fuck dolphins.
Eagerly await “Bitch Suck Dick” performance on Glee.
Do ollies in the Fox Hills Mall food court dressed like Stacy Peralta circa 1977.
Post crazy shit like THIS on our tumblr.
Talk sensibly to ourselves about suicide in Darth Vadar’s voice.
Curl into the fetal position, and sob… with swag.
Ask D12 what it feels like to now be the 2nd best black Marshall Mathers tribute band in the world?
Get a rope, some Jergens, and a chair… and nod our heads!
Thank Black Jesus that teenagers can still make music that’s not for fucking pussies.”
For more of ego trip's thoughts on Goblin, click here.
PANELIST: Kathy Iandoli, HipHopDX
REACTION: “It would be virtually impossible for Tyler, the Creator’s semi-sorta debut, Goblin, to live up to the hype that prematurely surrounded it. After a thorough Twitter co-sign from Kanye West about Tyler’s beautiful dark twisted single ‘Yonkers’ (and its roach-ingesting video), it seemed as though the main mouthpiece of OFWGKTA was destined for greatness. He is, but on this work his ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude really shines through, leaving Goblin pretty porous and occasionally lazy. Goblin is a huge contrast to Tyler’s early project, Bastard, which still threw caution to the wind, but was an arguably tighter work. Tyler’s rhymes on Goblin are still sharp and at times hugely grotesque—'Rape a pregnant bitch and tell my friends I had a threesome,' he hisses on ‘Tron Cat.’ While the aforementioned ‘Yonkers’ and the Jimmy Fallon favorite ‘Sandwitches’ with Hodgy Beats were the only glimpse into Tyler’s mainstream introduction, they were enough to anticipate an entirely solid album. That’s not the case, as Tyler’s mental glossary is wrapped around flimsy production, like on the Neptunes-lite ‘Analog’ and the forced horrors of ‘Transylvania.’ Perhaps the Odd Future camp pushed Goblin out early to keep the momentum going, or Tyler knows he could burp on the mic at this point and people like Steve Rifkind would still buy him donuts. Regardless, there’s no question Tyler, the Creator has the talent. Whether he has the motivation is a totally different argument.”
PANELIST: Karen Civil, KarenCivil.com
REACTION: “I know they have been around for quite some time, but Odd Future's rise to their present-day status has been as remarkable as head scratching. They're young, but seem to have a unique understanding of the business and their own set of beliefs, which isn't exactly common. That being said, I haven't found myself too keen to really embrace their music and that's not a knock on them. Going into Tyler's new album, Goblin, I had no clue what to expect aside from the unexpected. And that's exactly what it was. As a person who is still becoming accustomed to their music, not every song stood out on the first few listens. Still, there were shining moments (‘Goblin,’ ‘Yonkers,’ ‘She,’ and ‘Sandwitches’ to name a few) which give me more reasons to learn more about Tyler and Odd Future as a whole.”
PANELIST: Confusion, Pigeons & Planes
REACTION: “I think I like the idea of Odd Future more than I like listening to the music of Odd Future. Tyler has a wonderfully demented mind and is bringing a style to hip-hop unlike anything else out there. I appreciate that. At his best, he’s a combination of A Clockwork Orange and The Neptunes, but other times he sounds like a Neptunes fan that just read A Clockwork Orange. Tyler’s compelling charisma and twisted choice of content makes the album unique and valuable, but the purposefully grating chord progressions and overuse of 90s-era keyboard-sounding synths make it hard to enjoy as a whole. After the initial, ‘Wow, this shit is crazy,’ it's not something I'll want to revisit very often.”
PANELIST: Combat Jack, The Source
REACTION: “I like Odd Future. I don’t like Goblin. Yes it’s typical OFWGKTA material, but ever since they ‘blew’ up, expectations for their material has been high. Tyler is a very dope rapper and his ability to flip flows, spit complex rhyme patterns, and have control over wordplay is definitely present. It’s the production that fails. True, OF’s beats have always been ‘awkward’ and ‘clumsy,’ but with this offering, it sounds like they took a step backwards sonically. Thinking of a younger RZA with Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers), his production was also awkward, but at least there were beats that I could bump in the whip. Goblin presents little to no musicality. Adding Tyler’s dark and depressing subject matter, Goblin is an uninviting collection of very dense, dark depressing songs that only the small percentage of his true fans will enjoy, and those that really enjoy it are the ones that need to be placed on constant suicide watch. This record was not made for me.”
PANELIST: Dallas Penn, DallasPenn
REACTION: “I fux with this Tyler dude. He's a young visionary. The collection of songs on the Goblin album aren't classic material, but they are better content-wise than almost anything that will play on any pop music outlet. Plus the fact that some of these songs are running + mins pretty much guarantees they won't fit into the current radio format. Just as well I suppose because the vibe on Goblin is more about zoning out than shaking your hair.
“I wanted to make a corollary between Eminem's Recovery and the Goblin CD, but I think I need to bring it even further back to the OG rapper who frequently spoke on his records with an omnipresent psychotherapist—Redman. Goblin is a futuristic Dare Iz A Darkside. Less funk, more synth. Less lyrical swagger, more swag. Tyler is gonna do something crazy with his music as soon as everyone backs the fuck up off him.
“In the meantime and in between time I'm giving Goblin a 3.5 since the music backing up Tyler's rhymes isn't too compelling. That means the replay value for me is low and the key to a truly great album in my opinion is how often that shit spins on my iTunes. I'm not doubting that Tyler, the Creator and OFWGKTA have some classic everlasting albums up their sleeves, but Goblin isn't that one.”
PANELIST: Robbie Ettelson, Unkut.com
REACTION: “Tyler complains about being labeled 'Horrorcore' on the intro, but then spends the whole album rapping over cheesy synths and tinny drum machines that even a video game from the 80s would be embarrassed by. I managed to make it through the first two songs without bringing up my lunch, but by the time 'Radicals' came on my attention started to wander. Is this meant to be Schlock Rap? I guess if I was a 10-year-old kid with a Spongebob Squarepants lunch box I'd think a song declaring 'Fuck school' was pretty awesome, but then again I could just listen to that old Convicts tape which featured an actual song called 'Fuck School.' Are the beats on this supposed to be ironic like a hipster smoking an old man pipe at a rooftop bar in Williamsburg? Should I be scared to go to sleep on some Freddy Kruger shit in case one of these kids jumps through my window and attempts to drink my blood? And is that Dr. Trevis from Redman's Dare Iz A Darkside that's talking all through the records? Wow, how retro! The rapping is actually entertaining in some spots, but I can't fux with retarded Atari beats. If you need to jump on another man's back (pause) to make an impression when performing on TV, you've already lost. Fuck a Horrorcore.”
PANELIST: Rob Markman, MTV
REACTION: “With all the talk of rape, suicide, devil worship, and whatever other taboo subjects that excite the critics about OFWGKTA, one simple thing is overlooked; Tyler, the Creator can actually rap. Goblin isn't as shocking as it is conceptually sound. For all the innovation that Tyler and his Wolf Gang have been credited with, on Goblin he takes it back to the basics with good story raps. I appreciate more than anything the album's linear narrative. Most of the songs are dope as stand-alones, but work best in the context of the overall project. I mean, ‘Bitch Suck Dick’ is pretty lame, but it seems purposely done, just so Tyler can **SPOILER ALERT** shoot Jasper and Taco for rapping so bad.
“People compare Tyler to Eminem and I can see why, but I'm more impressed with the Prince Paul-like method he used to string Goblin together. Is it really hype, if you actually deliver?"
PANELIST: Andrew Barber, FakeShoreDrive
REACTION: “I’m going to tread lightly here, in fear of catching a swift beatdown in a pizzeria by the Chicago faction of the Wolf Gang, but this album is pretty average. Perhaps the insane amount of hype Tyler and Odd Future have generated jaded me a bit, but this is not the second coming of Kurt Cobain or whatever my colleagues are dubbing it. Don't get me wrong, Tyler can rap his ass off, and I enjoyed a handful of tracks, but it's a bit lengthy for a non-OFWGKTA enthusiast to digest, and at times too depressing for me to sit through. Sorry Ty, I guess I just don't understand. His theatrics are reminiscent of a young DMX and/or Eminem, but Goblin doesn't hold up to either of their major label debuts. Perhaps I've grown numb to these shock tactics over the years, or maybe Spaceghostpurrp's mixtape ruined it for me (Word to Danny Brown).”
PANELIST: Brad Wete, Entertainment Weekly
REACTION: “You can easily love or hate Tyler depending your perspective and opinion on what hip-hop ‘should’ be. I look at Goblin like a sci-fi movie with bits of comedy. At the end, the only thing I know for sure is that the kid has daddy issues and the Neptunes are a huge influence. Hip-hop’s a culture that usually appreciates actual/factual raps. So for a guy to be rhyming about outlandish stuff like being Dracula or vile rape is wild. But it works for me because I see him as the Creator of some, um, fascinating characters.”
PANELIST: Jeff Rosenthal, ItsTheReal
REACTION: “Any write-up of Goblin will probably read more as a psychological profile of Tyler than as an album review. In either case, it's hard to take something seriously when it demands that nothing be taken seriously. But, here we are, critiquing a person/an album that welcomes any critic as a 'faggot' (That I'm writing this for Complex, the hounds to Earl's fox, probably makes me a special breed of 'faggot').
“I've long enjoyed Tyler, the fun-loving villain, over his Hell Hath No Fury soundscapes. His live shows are like Bad Brains, anarchy at Santos Party House. He says the impossible, the unbelievable. Death threats go to his dad, the popular kids, girls who say 'no.' It's a scorched earth policy, and he's a modern-day General Sherman, burning the world to the ground. How could kids be this...mad?
“Apparently, they can't. Always the provocateur, he opens up his album with his biggest shock of all: he castrates himself. None of this is real, he says in a disclaimer. This is just Tyler letting us in on his back-of-the-classroom thought balloon: He fantasizes about rape the way he fantasizes about being 6'5 or being a dolphin. Who cares, it's all jokes. Sure, everyone 'knew' that it was an act, but it sucks to see him apologize for his character, especially since the whole point was that he's unapologetic. Rick Ross is obviously playing a superhero, but at least he never takes off his costume.”
PANELIST: Modele "Modi" Oyewole, DC To BC / The Great Progression
REACTION: “Odd Future represents a subculture within a subculture of hip-hop that's difficult to compare because there aren't any other acts doing anything remotely similar to what they're doing. I admittedly have no idea what they're doing myself, but I'd be lying through my teeth if I said something about it isn't captivating. Goblin is like a collection of the rawest scenes from a Clockwork Orange-esque film spliced together with the cheesiest moments of a typical chick flick, and then topped with a couple of extremely candid monologues that those artsy fartsy theater students at your high school used to perform at assemblies. It’s definitely all over the place, from wildly grotesque to extremely personal; people are literally losing heads and appendages on one song, and on the next you’ll hear Tyler lamenting about how the girl he crushes on doesn’t like him back. You can blame that on his schizophrenia, as he cycles through a handful of different protagonists throughout the entire project. But maybe "blame" isn't the right word; his limitless imagination is what led to the creation of the Odd Future universe, the most intriguing world I’ve encountered, musically speaking, since I was introduced to Dr. Octagon. Tyler and his cohorts are spearheading a movement in hip-hop that's as refreshing as that hot towel they give you on long flights.
“Goblin felt short in my eyes with its production's consistency; I just couldn't rock with every beat, though Tyler's efforts on the boards are admirable. He impressed me with the range of sounds created with his distinct minimalistic style. Some of the cuts sound more like movie scores than beats (‘Goblin’ and ‘Golden’), and on a couple cuts I coulda sworn The Creator channeled the spirits of Chad and Skateboard P while in the studio (‘Analog’ and ‘Sandwitches’), but much of the production sounds unpolished and a little too busy at parts. A lot of the instrumentals wouldn’t sit well with me without his accompanying lyrics, but for the most part, he makes it work.
“It’s a hell of a creative effort, and I applaud him for straying so far from hip-hop’s norms and still reaching a mainstream audience while remaining true to his crew, his fans, and most importantly, himself. It's definitely strange and far from typical, but I enjoy that aspect of it. Goblin gets 3.5 stars from me, but time will ultimately tell me how vicious this album is. Honestly though, I’m more excited to see what he can cook up with a video camera in his hands. If that ‘Yonkers’ visual and the rest of those ratchet YouTube videos OF has concocted are any indication of what to expect, then we’re in for a fucking treat.”
PANELIST: Paul “Gooch” Cantor, PaulJCantor.com
REACTION: “I like and dislike Goblin for different reasons. Thematically, I think the things Tyler chooses to rap about are fine. Rape, murder, alienation, loneliness, distrust, among other topics ... they're all sort of interrelated in many ways. If we were discussing love ballads or some shit Frank Sinatra was supposed to be singing on a cruise ship somewhere, then maybe it'd matter. But this is hip-hop, so I think he can pretty much say whatever he wants. Is there some shock value? Definitely. I guess that's OK. I mean, if he didn't do that, would he say enough cool shit to make me pay attention? Probably not. So look, it works. Beneath all the emo-aggressive shit, there's some substance there. If you're making a movie, you do what you have to do to get people in the seats. Maybe if the listener's smart enough, they'll read between the lines.
“That said, what didn't grab me that much were the beats. I'm not on the ‘Tyler is a production genius bandwagon.’ Musically, he's got this tendency to build his tracks around a lot of dissonant and augmented chords. So it's got an odd, almost eery sound, but at the same time it's jazzy. Does that mean it's good? Ehh, not necessarily. It's alright, but it doesn't thrill me. Sometimes I can't tell if the more musically creative things were done purposefully, or if this kid just doesn't know what the fuck he's doing (‘Let's just call it art!’). Having seen OF live, I do know that the beats work—they make kids get rowdy—so maybe I don't know what the fuck I'm talking about. I'm willing to admit when my tastes are off.
“I think Goblin is cool. Stellar? No. What it says to me—it doesn't take a genius to figure this out—is Tyler as a rapper is dope. What he does musically just sort of works for him. I don't think there's anything wrong with that, in fact I applaud it. But I can't help listening to him thinking, wow this kid would sound fucking amazing with a much better producer. A producer who can do what Tyler does with those jazzy chord structures and flesh them out into things that make better sense. Things that just—is there any more simple way to put this?—sound better. At the end of the day, music is visceral. You hear it, whether it's drums, melody or lyrics, and you react. No amount of thinking about some shit is going make the song pump out of the speakers any differently. I can't fault someone for what they didn't do though. I have to judge them on what they did. And Goblin, like I said, is a cool record. It'll definitely get some spins on my side and hopefully the OF material just keeps getting better and better.”
PANELIST: Mike Waxx, IllRoots
REACTION: “In a genre where there's wayyyy too much thinking going on, Tyler, The Creator decided to do what made the most sense to him and put together the best rap album since Kanye's last release. If you don't like it, chances are you might be old. There are a lot of really good songs on this album. In fact almost every song is really good. I wouldn't be surprised if 'She' becomes everybody's jam over the next couple weeks. 'Wiwdow,' 'Nightmare,' 'Radicals,' 'Analog,' 'Sandwitches'... just to name a few. 'Goblin' is the perfect intro and 'Golden' is the perfect outro. Tyler, The Creator really just outsmarted the entire industry and didn't have to put any of his credibility on the line or make any appearances on MediaTakeOut. The beats bang, his lyrical content is on 10 and the OFWG features are perfectly orchestrated. It's 100% organic and exactly how they want it. Makes sense that's it's good. XL snapped on the roll-out and huge props to whoever mixed and mastered this shit. Great album that I'll be bumping for a while now. I'm excited to see what's next, hopefully the stardom doesn't go to anybody's head. How long until the Rolling Stone cover?"
PANELIST: Foster Kamer, New York Observer
REACTION: “Forget the hype, the think-pieces about think-pieces about think-pieces, and while you're at it, the backlash to the backlash. Forget the photo shoots, co-signs, bandwagon, Sony deal, beefs, Twitters, Tumblrs, Asthma, midgets, Jimmy Fallon, Samoa, Golf Channel, and then, forget the fact that Tyler, The Creator has continued to capital-C Create every possible distraction from his own music which he has repeatedly claimed not to give a shit about, and then forget that he never doesn't demonstrate caring about it in some way. It's not easy. If you pull it off, here's what you get:
• A stark reminder of what could've happened after DMX claimed to have blood on his wang via necrophilia had he not already handed his destiny over to Def Jam so he could to bark his way into forgettable non-anthems like ‘Party Up,’ then the bank, and then, obscurity.
• A new precedent for self-consciousness in rap that makes early Kanye West look about as ‘so self-conscious’ as a Neutrogena commercial.
• The first equally strong-and-significant output from a member of an exciting collective striking out on his own since Tical.
• The most exciting major public debut from a rapper to shun hashtag rap in far too long, with a style to replace it that both outpaces and transcends any other obnoxious trends in hip hop right now.
• The creeping feeling that this could all come to an end at any moment.
"The last one's the most important, and prevents him from the five-point pickup, here. Tyler's goes hard and there's little filler, but on Goblin's most potentially dangerous track ‘Radical,’ he includes at the beginning what amounts to the disclaimer at the beginning of Jackass. It's like Eminem recorded ‘Stan’ on his first record. The fact that anyone can record the words ‘kill people, burn shit, fuck school’ and be taken as seriously as everyone has taken OFWGKTA is an incredible feat; it's not that we believe him, it's that we believe he isn't an ICP fan. At some point, Tyler needs to evolve from locker-door rhymes to a professional, but for now, yes—here's your White Dude Who Writes In New York Take, ever obvious—he's rap's Holden Caulfield: Damaged, pissed, destructive, belligerent, mischievous, sad, lovable, creative, plainly brilliant, and a reminder of the same in all of us. He is nothing like we've ever really seen before. Let's hope, however, that he roots out the phony within, before he ends up becoming—like those who Caufield despises - nothing more than the projected shell of who he thinks he should want himself to be: A phony. Or DMX."
PANELIST: Ernest Baker, Complex
REACTION: "'I give it a month before everyone hates Odd Future.' These are Tyler, The Creator's own words from his famously unhinged Twitter account. I'm pretty sure they'll still be relevant in a month, but the statement signals a shift in the dialogue surrounding OFWGKTA that's been lingering since Goblin leaked last week.
"Goblin feels like a major label release, and now that it's here, it's expected to either validate Odd Future's supporters, or vindicate their detractors. If not fully convinced of the collective's talent, critics can't just respond with, 'They'll improve.' Everyone is forced to take a stance, and that's okay. Tyler often labels himself a cult figure. This record is going to be divisive and he knows it. That polarization is what makes Goblin so interesting. Between the message boards filled with raving 17-year-olds who obsess over Tyler and OFWGKTA's every move, and the hipsters who have became disenchanted with the whole thing. There's little room for neutrality.
"The intro, also titled 'Goblin,' is incredibly dynamic and self-aware. We first hear The Neptunes' production influence that lasts for the entire album, with Tyler telling us that he's getting his Supreme for free, dissing underground rap, and soaking the track with a post-fame paranoia reminiscent of a Marshall Mathers LP-era Eminem, from whom Tyler borrows a flow pattern around the 3:25 mark on the same song.
"Like Eminem, Tyler is good at turning the tables on critics: 'Can't they just be happy for me? A kid with nothing living out his dreams. Why they gotta fucking hate?' Too many comparisons to Slim Shady, or Wu-Tang, pointing out the similarities between the Goblin voice and Redman's Dr. Trevis, or not being floored by every bar and chord progression on the album just means that you're mad. 'They don't get it 'cause it's not made for them. The nigga that's in the mirror rapping, it's made for him,' Tyler continues. You're not the 20-year-old leader of a cult empire. Instead, you're a 'blogging faggot' who gets stabbed with a pitchfork on 'Yonkers' and mocked on the title track. That has no bearing on how we approach Tyler's LP. Believe it or not, reviewing this album isn't about tweets, beef, age, or the rumored $2.5 million Sony deal. When the dust settles, all that matters is how Goblin sounds and the statement it makes as a piece of art.
"At times, it's awesome. 'Radical' is a high note, fully supportive of OF's thesis, and prime for a chaos-inducing live setting. Then 'She' comes along and feels like a misfire despite Frank Ocean's chrous. But that's okay because 'Her' and the Hodgy Beats-assisted 'Analog' are as a good of a 'girl song' as you can ask for. I played Goblin over and over, and it's very cohesive. The records flow together with an impressive consistency, and these kinds of varied reactions defined my listens.
"There's such an honest, wide-eyed enthusiasm from these kids that it's hard not to grin at a track like 'Nightmare,' where Tyler tackles being in the spotlight head-on and admits that he 'hasn't killed himself yet and already wants [his] life back.' Tyler's doing a good job of resisting the life of a regular music star, though. He made the album he wanted to make, and if you listened to Bastard first, you'll have an idea of the pacing and structure Tyler implements into his full-lengths.
"Goblin is a continuation of Tyler's DIY take on the album format, a style more suited for his 'personal listening pleasure' than mine. Because of that, it's possible to burn out on the the abrasive delivery and disjointed production, but the record's assertive disregard for rap's contemporary soundscape is admirable. Goblin is sure of itself, and a strong statement from Odd Future. Even if I don't personally play it for the next several weeks, there's a hardcore fanbase that will fall in love with most of these records and I understand why. Tyler, The Creator is a good rapper. He has a keen ear for melody and other instrumental sensibilities, and connects with his audience on his own terms.
"I respect that."