“What the fuck is an NFT?”

Before heading out on tour, Tyler, the Creator was asked about his opinion on NFTs, and he couldn’t hold back his disgust.

“I’m really outside living, so what the fuck is an NFT?” he responded, incredulously. 

Visibly frustrated, Tyler went on a hilarious rant, describing the NFT world as a “dick-swinging contest,” and explaining that he’d rather spend his time making art in the real world. “I paint at home. I play instruments. I know n****s who sculpt and shit. I have a friend making me speakers by hand right now. What the fuck is an NFT?”

The clip immediately went viral, as Tyler’s words struck a chord with people who are fed up with digital “art” that feels like a shameless cash grab.

“None of the examples that I’ve seen is beautiful art,” he said. “It’s a fucking monkey in a Supreme hoodie. I’m fully not into it, because you can’t NFT me looking at you in real life right now.”

Tyler’s words come at a time of growing fatigue for quote-unquote “digital experiences.” After two years of Zoom meetings, virtual events, and pervasive social media addiction, people are seeking out real-world experiences. And right on time, here comes Tyler, an artist who can’t stop talking about riding his bike in the forest and making things that people can actually interact with in real life.

It’s ironic that an artist who blew up on Tumblr and online message boards has become an advocate for IRL experiences, but Tyler’s worldview has shifted over time. Now, he fondly looks back on trips to New York and Europe as formative moments that changed his perspective on life forever, so he made a whole album inspired by travel. On Call Me If You Get Lost, he says his passport is his “most valuable” possession, and he spends most of his time flexing about boats and expensive trunks. Between verses, DJ Drama drives home the point by yelling about having his toes out on a yacht in Switzerland, among other exotic boasts.

“​​I live life,” Tyler recently told Fast Company. “I go and do stuff, and it’s shown in my work. So whether it’s shown in my work through sound, or cloth, or visual stuff, it feels cohesive.”