Ladera Heights, California rapper Tyler Gregory Okonma, better known as Tyler, the Creator, has finally released his fourth studio album and it’s been generating a lot of buzz, no pun intended. The album artwork, showing Tyler in a valley amongst sunflowers and giant bumble bees, is appropriately titled Flower Boy.
Originally thought to be titled “Scum Fuck Flower Boy”, Flower Boy sees Tyler’s sound taking a sharp turn into the N*E*R*D school of beats with a lot more vibey synth and a lot less hard-hitting tracks prevalent in his previous works. Completely written and composed by Tyler, the album is very introspective and features the likes of Frank Ocean, A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, Kali Uchis, Estelle and Jaden Smith to name a few.
The album also sees Tyler exploring his own personal feelings and sexuality outside of the music. While nothing has been confirmed, throughout the album Tyler touches on experiences that many listeners have taken as his coming out as a gay man. In the album's intro, titled “Foreword”, Tyler spits, “See I was in the woods with flowers, rainbows, and posies”, later adding, “Shoutout to the girls that I lead on / For occasional head and always keeping my bed warm”. On “Garden Shed”, featuring vocals from Estelle, Tyler says “Garden shed, for the garden / That’s where I was hidin’ / That’s the love I was in / Ain’t no reason to pretend”.
The most talked about line of the album however, was in his song “I Ain’t Got Time”, where he said, “Next line will have ‘em like ‘woah’ / I’ve been kissing white boys since 2004”. Without a response on Tyler’s end, it has created a pretty huge stir in the music community as well as piquing the interest of some internet lurkers. In a 2015 tweet on Tyler’s verified twitter account he posted:
I TRIED TO COME OUT THE DAMN CLOSET LIKE FOUR DAYS AGO AND NO ONE CARED HAHAHHAHAHA— Tyler, The Creator (@tylerthecreator) April 13, 2015
Given Tyler’s notoriety and common use of homophobic words, many fans believe the album isn’t supposed to be taken literally. However, since the coming out of Tyler’s close friend’s Frank Ocean and Syd, both formerly of Odd Future, we’ve seen Tyler’s stance change a lot. He has released a Gay Pride series from his clothing line brand GOLF, as well as supporting Frank and Syd when they each came out publicly.
Another possible theory for the album is that it is meant to represent a year, or the normal life cycle of an annual plant/flower. With the intro and outro excluded, there are 12 songs, including “Where This Flower Blooms” as January, “Garden Shed” and “Boredom” as June and July, “911/ Mr. Lonely” as September, “November” as November and “Glitter” as December. Reaching further, “I Ain’t Got Time” as August could represent the end of summer and time slipping away, and “Pothole” as May could represent the metaphoric shortcomings in a relationship.
Continuing further down this rabbit hole, at the end of “Sometimes…”, the third song off the album, we hear a mysterious man tell Golf Radio DJ Shane Powers that he would like to hear “the one about me” when asked what song he’d like to hear next. This then follows directly into what is Tyler’s favorite song off his album, “See You Again”. He finishes his opening verse of the song with “You exist behind my eyelids, my eyelids”. Earlier this year Tyler changed his Twitter bio to “he exists behind my eyelids”, before quickly being changed. However, that didn’t stop fan accounts from posting about his bio, and now it’s all coming together for fans.
Regardless of Flower Boy’s true meaning, the album is a masterpiece. The layering, features, and overall composition of the album is unarguably Tyler’s best to date. It shows his growth as an artist both on the mic and behind the boards, and it should make any fan excited for what his future holds. Considering Tyler has released an album every two year’s, we shouldn’t expect to see something new until 2019, but with this album, fans will be set for a while.