“A good beat and catchy flow can bring a rapper to fame, but what allows a true artist to stay intact is what Flower Boy perfectly encompasses; vulnerability.”
Flower Boy – 9/10
Flower Boy is the album Tyler, the Creator’s entire career has lead up to. With air-tight, innovative production that echoes past albums and a newly revealed delicacy to his essence, Tyler calls his fans to allow themselves to be sad when the time is right, but most importantly, to live in the moment – through his best album yet.
The album opens with a smooth track that bluntly addresses everyone’s occasional need for escape and change. “How many cars can I buy ‘til I run out of drive? How much drive can I have ‘til I run out of road?” Tyler pleads as he presents his lack of motivation and yearning for excitement. This somber, yet hopeful message is set perfectly to bubbly synthesizers and jazzy progressions to keep the album playful, despite it’s moody undertones.
Cleverly naming the opening track Foreword, the song introduces common themes throughout the album such as some of the most raw, human emotions we experience (boredom, loneliness, love, etc) and is consistently discussed until the final track, Enjoy Right Now,Today. Undoubtedly, everything in between coherently expresses how Tyler felt in his most vulnerable state with stand-out tracks unlike anything he’s previously released.
The more quickly paced songs such as Pothole and 911 / Mr. Lonely seamlessly blend with vulnerable and depressing tracks like Garden Shed, as they all convey the same emotions, but are met with different production tempos so the diverse stages of loneliness, doubt, and sadness can be projected. And of course, Tyler made sure to throw in some off-rhythm hype tracks like I Aint Got Time! and Who Dat Boy to pay tribute to his most classic style of hip hop.
It’s also notable how cleverly Tyler, the Creator selected artists that collaborated on Flower Boy to master a diverse set of sounds all while consistently sticking with the themes of the project. It’s common for artists to drown out features with their own dominating style, but Tyler clearly allowed artists that have already produced music within similar margins to not just be heard on the album, but to be apart of it as well.
British indie/R&B singer Rex Orange County, Frank Ocean, and A$AP Rocky are just a few of the the credits who not only appeared as vocal features, but also collaborated on production, writing, and composition.
Tyler has always been fond of flaunting his ego in past albums, but Flower Boy enabled him to emotionally connect with his fans on a much more realistic basis, and quite possibly with himself. A good beat and catchy flow can bring a rapper to fame, but what allows a true artist to stay intact is what Flower Boy perfectly encompassed; vulnerability.
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