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Review: Tyler the Creator- Goblin by jason
September 15, 2011, 10:00 am
Filed under: Review | Tags: ,

Tyler the Creator-Goblin. XL Recordings, 2011.

Well. It seems that Tyler the Creator is, as he says in “Yonkers,” a walking paradox. He’s a rapper who often writes about how sick he is of white indie kids loving him, yet the indie kids continue to love him. The indie blogging community, which has a strong leftist bent, can’t get enough of him, even though many of his songs seem to promote violence, and even rape, against women. He decries popular hip-hop and r & b, going as far as threatening to murder Bruno Mars and B.O.B., yet he cites Eminem as one of his biggest influences. He’s kind of an enigma.

I’ve been hearing about all the reasons why he is a genius, as well as all the reasons I should never listen to him or give his work any space on the blog. With someone this polarizing, I figured I had to listen to his album to see what the big deal is.

And now I know.

Goblin is one of the most terrible, and most awesome, albums I have ever listened to.

It is absolutely true that the message of the album is terrible. It’s really a concept album in which Tyler, a hip-hop artist who is coping with his sudden, new-found fame, as well as the absence of his father, is talking to his therapist, Dr. TC. throughout the session, which spans the entirety of the album, another personality, Wolf Haley, emerges. Wolf is a murderer, rapist, and possibly the devil. On “Transylvania,” Wolf sings:

I’m Dracula bitch
Don’t got a problem smacking a bitch
Kidnapping, attacking, with axes and shit
’til I grab them throats and start smacking them shits
Bite her in her f#####g neck, bite her in her f#####g neck
Bottom of the f#####g lake, bottom of the f#####g lake
Call my gang of wolves and bats
It’s a full moon tonight and these hoes ain’t acting right

This isn’t the only song where he threatens violence against women, and it’s not the worst case, but it’s the one that stands out. He also talks about using drugs, and uses anti-homosexual slurs.

Now, are we supposed to take this seriously? In his Wolf persona, Tyler revels in his drug use, yet by all reports, Tyler is formerly straight edge, and now only takes prescribed medication. So if he is philosophically against one of “Wolf Haley’s” behaviors, should we assume that he is against them all? Does it even matter? If someone is sending a message that he does not personally believe in, is it just satire, or is the wrong message still sent?

Regardless of whether his message is to be taken seriously or as a satire of the hip-hop community, I do have to say that as a musical work, this thing is awesome. Almost every track was produced by Tyler and his Odd Future comrades, rather than sampled from other work. It sounds great from a purely aesthetic standpoint. Also, I’m a sucker for concept albums, and as I mentioned before, this is a concept album about Tyler and his therapist. Not only that, but this album is a direct continuation of his previous album, Bastard, which was another therapy session, and Tyler is expected to follow it up with the third session, Wolf. So while his message may be repugnant, the entire project shows a tremendous amount of ambition.

So, should you listen to Tyler the Creator’s Goblin. You know…I’m not sure I can recommend anything that seems to revel in violence against women, even in jest. That said, I’ve listened to it repeatedly, and will continue to do so. Take that for what it’s worth.



4 Comments so far
Leave a comment

So like, was it good? At least he ain’t Project Pat.

Comment by Jayson

On the level of “Is this guy talented and is this creative” I’ll say that I love it. I’ve listened to it almost every day this week. But I can’t get behind violence against anyone, especially women. But I don’t think he’s serious. It’s…confusing. As a concept album, it’s brilliant.

Comment by jason

lls. that nigga is fuckn lyrically ill. wolf stay up g

Comment by ganster d

I realized today that, assuming all the serial killer stuff is in Tyler’s head, you can listen to the first two and last three tracks and get the whole gist of the concept.

Comment by jason

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