Tyler, the Creator is an anomaly. For nearly a decade he has been everything and nothing to a culture that wasn’t fully prepared for the change him and his childhood friends foreshadowed. Armed with the internet, endless Neptunes-inspired chords, music software, and a dream, came Odd Future and its leader Tyler, the Creator.
At times Tyler, seemed like he was following in the footsteps of Marshall Mathers, hellbent on shocking the world into submission, while simultaneously becoming the biggest rapper alive in the process. At other times Tyler has sought to break free of the shackles of his own making and pursue the pastures of pop production like his mentor Pharrell before him.
There have been four solo studio album, one scene-stealing debut tape, countless releases with Odd Future and all along the way Tyler has manifested his perverse fun world reality on to the public like a Supreme-obsessed Willy Wonka. However, with the release of Scum Fuck Flower Boy, Tyler is charting a new course. Gone are the shackles of a father that abandoned him. The horrorcore influence has been erased, and in its wake symbolism of flowers and the beauty of nature abound. The kid that made the world quake in fear is coming into his own.
Flower Boy is an awakening. Sexuality, creative freedom, and economic empowerment overflow on Tyler’s fourth studio album, but it wouldn’t be possible without the awkward phases that got him here. The years of problematic lyrics aren’t erased. For every exceptional Tyler beat, there is often one that circles into experimental oblivion. Early 2009-2010 punchlines have aged like an avocado in an abandoned Chipotle.
Regardless, we’ve tracked Tyler’s growth in front of our eyes. He’s consistently leveled-up against peers like A$AP Rocky and Earl Sweatshirt, while running laps around veterans like The Game and Pusha T. Below are the songs that got Tyler here and proved that no matter what anyone said, he was always going to stick around.