8 Things We Learned From Tyler, the Creator's Wide-Ranging ‘All Star Series’ Interview
Tyler, the Creator gave fans a lot to ponder when it comes to NFTs, creativity, inspiration, and much more thanks to a lengthy new interview.
Tyler, the Creator—complete with some hilariously spot-on observations about NFTs—gifted fans with footage of a wide-ranging 70-minute conversation on Wednesday.
The discussion, hosted by Bimma Williams as part of Converse’s 2022 All Star Series, was recorded in February and sees Tyler being joined by L.A.-based members of the brand’s global All Stars community. During the interview, Tyler—who recently kicked off a U.S. tour behind his Call Me If You Get Lost album—touched on everything from the aforementioned NFT space to the importance of artists having a strong team around them to ensure their vision is met.
Below, we’ve highlighted some key moments from the chat, which you can also view in full up top.
Time stamps: 7:57, 8:41, 28:07
As Tyler recalled, his friend (and recent Jackass Forever cast member) Jasper has been with him since the very beginning. “Jasper has been at every show I’ve ever done, even when I’m 16, making the worst songs and beats and like, ‘Yo, I got this idea dude. And we can put this on a shirt and then when I go onstage—because we’re performing at a church—I’mma pull my pants down and hump the air.’ And that man is right there like, ‘Alright, I’m right there with you.’ And what that is, is everyone wants a cheerleader.”
Continuing around the 8:41 mark, Tyler imagined a hypothetical scenario of walking into Converse’s offices with an idea about a release “no one’s gonna buy,” only to still receive support from the team. “You need that,” he said. “You need cheerleading. Everyone wants a cheerleader.” The cheerleading insight also returned deeper into the discussion when Tyler was making a point about the career of acclaimed music video director Hype Williams, but we’ll get into that shortly.
Time stamps: 9:14
“I really think the internet ramped up in 2016,” said Tyler, who argued that this ramping-up also complicated the creative process for artists who favor the power of surprise. “Like, something happened. … And because of that, it’s no more privacy. Everyone wants to know something, everyone wants a leak, everyone wants to just know things. Nothing can be a surprise.”
Adding to that, Tyler connected these feelings to why he wasn’t getting specific about release plans.
“If I sit here and tell you what we have planned…then it’s no point in really working on how to really show you. The element of surprise is fun,” he said.
Time stamps: 10:06, 11:49
Furthering the discussion on the “element of surprise” and the importance of vision, Tyler expressed criticism over artists who choose to constantly tease works-in-progress on social media while also allowing the audience’s reactions to influence the fate of the final piece.
“You know what I hate? You know what is one of the, like, most obvious forms of insecurity to me? When artists put a snippet up of a song on the internet and wait to see how people react to it and let the crowdsourcing of opinion dictate if they’re gonna put that out,” Tyler said. “How do you not like your own song enough to put it out?. … Just put the shit out. Like, what?”
He then took the same stance in a broader sense, lumping in movies. “Just surprise me with a trailer, bro,” T advised.
Time stamps: 12:08, 13:34, 14:29, 15:44, 48:48
Around 12 minutes into the conversation, Tyler (hilariously) interrupted a question about NFTs, then proceeded to say “What the fuck is a NFT?” several times while contrasting the oft-criticized space with varying enjoyable activities he’s experienced in real life.
“I paint at home, I play instruments. … I have a friend who’s making me speakers by hand right now. What the fuck is a NFT?” Tyler said. Later, around the 15:15 mark, he noted that zero NFT examples he’s seen would qualify as top-tier art.
“None of the examples I’ve seen is, like, beautiful art,” he said. “It’s a fucking monkey in a Supreme hoodie.” Driving the point home even more around the 15:44 mark, T pointed out that you “can’t NFT me looking at you in real life.”
Time stamps: 22:15, 23:18
The Ye-produced 2002 single “B R Right,” which paired Trina and Ludacris, is—in Tyler’s opinion—a good example of an artist hinting at their future masterpieces in their earlier work.
Around 22 minutes in, Tyler mentioned the artist formerly known as Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, arguing that—for listeners who find themselves shocked by particular pieces of work—the blueprint is often right there in your face the entire time.
“Listen to the structure of that song,” Tyler said. “It has kind of weird but hard-hitting drums. … And then in the middle, out of nowhere, the drums come out [and] it’s a string arrangement and this lady, like, humming. That was just the buildup for, you know, 10 years later to get to Twisted Fantasy. So when people heard that album and was like ‘How did he do this?’ I’m like, bro, he’s been building up for this for so long. Y’all just ain’t been paying attention.”
Time stamps: 24:51
Close to the 25-minute mark, Tyler was asked to name any shelved projects he wishes had been made available to fans. While his ultimate answer was no, he did mention two projects, one of which fans will recall as having previously been mentioned in a 2019 tweet.
“I started a Bossa Nova album. And, like, a indie rock—that sounds weird to say—indie rock album in 2013, in 2012. … I have that in the can that I’ve never put out,” Tyler, who also suggested that elements of the latter ended up on Wolf, said.
Time stamps: 27:11, 27:44, 28:13
Revisiting the topic of the importance of cheerleading, and the simultaneous necessity of always moving forward creatively, Tyler mentioned Hype Williams’ 1998 feature film debut Belly.
“Hype Williams put Belly out,” Tyler said. “At the time, everyone was like, ‘What the fuck is this shit?’ I think he got scared to make anything else and that hindered the greatness and the ill shit that he could have did. And that’s one of those stories that bums me out so fucking bad. Because he didn’t follow none of the snobby movie rules.”
Later, Tyler wondered aloud what could have been brought to the medium if Hype had continued forward in cinema. “Just imagine if, like, he would have did a second or third [movie], what that would have been,” T said. “It kills me because that is my favorite video director.”
Time stamps: 50:25, 51:32, 52:01
“Kanye tweeted ‘Black Future Month’ and I understand what—he’s not the most articulate sometimes—but I understand what he’s saying because it’s like, bro, let’s focus on that,” Tyler said of Ye’s declaration. “Sometimes we’ll something on TV and it’s like, dude, they’re doing this stereotype again? They’re doing this again? We have to continue to push and be like, bro, we not on that.”
Elaborating further, Tyler highlighted the potential power of nurturing ideas so that they “snowball” into having a larger impact.
“It’s just doing what that’s not and just letting that build up and snowball, and then it’ll be easier for those doors to really open. … That [which] you don’t see is still existing and it’s thriving and it’s huge,” Tyler said.
Tyler eventually mentioned a number of artists who were pivotal along his journey—including Q-Tip, André 3000, and Pharrell—and spoke about the late Virgil Abloh as another artist whose work had a similar influence on others.
“That’s what Virgil was doing. … Just do, just do it at the highest level because then they’ll catch on,” Tyler said close to the 52-minute mark.