Tyler, the Creator: ‘Cherry Bomb’

Posted on Apr 21 2015 - 8:57am by McKenna Wierman
Cherry Bomb album cover. (courtesy www.stereogum.com)

Cherry Bomb album cover. (courtesy www.stereogum.com)


Tyler, the Creator. Oh. My. God. He’s like listening to Satan rap, but cooler.

For those of you who aren’t aware, rapper Tyler, the Creator will be performing tonight at the Lyric theater with special guest Taco at 8 p.m.

Tyler Gregory Okonma, better known as Tyler, the Creator, gained popularity as the face of rap group Odd Future and has been acknowledged for his extensive creative talents in visual, musical, lyrical and creative arts. To say he is a genius rapper isn’t quite right: Tyler is iconic.

That’s not to say he is for everyone. Tyler, the Creator is trashy, offensive and vulgar—not really everyone’s cup of tea. But, while it’s impossible to defend the vicious, nasty rhetoric of Tyler, it’s just as hard not to be intrigued by the artistic aspect of it all. Tyler has grown up and developed his identity apart from his alter-egos like “Wolf Haley” and “Dr. TC.”

Just this month, Tyler released his fourth album, “Cherry Bomb,” which featured other notable rap artists like Kanye West, Schoolboy Q, Pharrell Williams, Charlie Wilson, Kali Uchis and Lil Wayne, along with a faster, more colorful musical combination.

To say this is Tyler’s most mature album feels weird, but it is. Not “mature” as in explicit— though make no mistake, “Cherry Bomb” is chock-full of that famous Tyler jargon. Rather, his fourth album is “mature”— as in the most serious of all the records he has produced. It’s the purest Tyler we have heard yet from him.

In previous records like “Goblin” and “Bastard,” we sort of came to expect the wildest from Tyler, the Creator. He built a name and a legacy for himself through graphic, violent and, frankly, scary personas that were undeniably fascinating. “Cherry Bomb” isn’t so much a step back from the aggressive voice Tyler has given us in the past as much as it is a totally different beast. While his other albums, “Bastard,” “Goblin,” “Wolf” and “Loiter Squad”, all seemed to progressively evolve into a more distinct sound, they all have that horror movie element about them; there is something terrifying but thrilling you just can’t look away from.

“Cherry Bomb” is a different kind of rush. Like a cool drink on a hot day that you spiked on the sly while you sit by your neighbor’s pool when you were supposed to be in class. There is still that kind of dangerous thrill about it, but it’s more composed; organized chaos, if you will.

Tyler, the Creator shines in this album. His lyrics are as clever as ever, sometimes even touching on current social issues like gang activity and the consumerism promoted by other rapper within the music industry. The beats are catchy and carbonated with just the right amount of bite. Each song is strong enough to stand individually but flow well together, too, in a weird, ADD kind of way.

Tracks like “DEATHCAMP” and “BUFFALO” are quick and upbeat, with almost a dance-y vibe about them. Meanwhile, “2SEATER” and “F**KING YOUNG” are smoother, almost jazzy –– easy listening. As strange as it may seem,  “Cherry Bomb” is an album you could play in the car while running errands, or at a party (with parental advisory, where applicable).

Though Tyler has always been an innovative rapper, “Cherry Bomb” stands out on its own with an entirely different little nugget of rap. In a way, it calls to mind some of the more classic rap gods of old, but with a “lost generation” charm you only find in a handful of today’s artists. Whether you love him or hate him, Tyler, the Creator and his newest album “Cherry Bomb” give us a brand new legacy for the artist that’s sure to last.

McKenna Wierman