Over the past nine years, Tyler, The Creator has accomplished a lot in music—he's released four solo albums, he's collaborated with rap icons like JAY-Z, Kanye West and Lil Wayne, and he's earned millions through touring and merch sales—but he's never heard any of his songs played on the radio.
That is, until now.
On Monday, for the first time in his career, Tyler heard one of his songs ("See You Again" featuring Kali Uchis) on the airwaves.
He was moved to tears.
Up until the release of his latest album, Flower Boy, Tyler didn't exactly go out of his way to make catchy, accessible, radio-ready music meant for the mainstream—this is the same artist who once rapped, "Kill people, burn shit, fuck school"—but that decision never once inhibited his success. In fact, it serves as proof that radio isn't a requirement.
On his own terms, Tyler was able to build a large, loyal and dedicated fanbase. And despite signing a deal with a major label (Columbia), Tyler has always maintained full creative control.
For most artists, there's nothing quite like hearing your own song on the airwaves, but with the diminishing importance of radio in today's streaming ecosystem, especially since radio is busy taking its cues from Spotify, it's only a matter of time before there's one less line on the artistic success bucket list.
Keep it weird.