Why Tyler, The Creator Is Still Hung Up on Radio Play

"Although it's not the most important thing, there's still a percentage of me that wants to listen to the radio one day and say, ‘Oh, that's my song!’"
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Tyler, The Creator does not need radio play, but he wants it all the same. The GRAMMY-nominated artist recently covered GQ Magazine and revealed that radio is as important to him as ever, regardless of his following and growing accolades.

“I've been trying to get on the radio,” Tyler explained. “I haven't been super successful with that, but that time will come. If it's not the next album, then it's the three after that… I grew up listening to it. Although it's not the most important thing, there's still a percentage of me that wants to listen to the radio one day and say, ‘Oh, that's my song!’ A lot of my favorite artists I heard for the first time because of the radio.

“I first heard ‘Tape You’ by N.E.R.D., my favorite band in the world, one of my favorite songs ever, on the radio. And that's how I got introduced to that, and that shaped everything for me, so. It's still a piece of me that not only wants to be on the radio, but it's probably some 11-year-old in the middle of fucking nowhere who might hear a song, look me up, get introduced to a whole world—and that could change everything he's into for the rest of his life.”

Where once making it to radio was a sure-fire sign that an artist “made it,” now we can look to curated playlists and Spotify streams as monikers of rap success in 2018. But that’s not what Tyler, The Creator is chasing. Tyler isn’t hoping to “make it,” he’s hoping to make a change in a fan’s life.

The good news is, regardless of radio play, that feeling of discovering your favorite artist by chance still exists, it’s just migrated to streaming services. As more and more people turn to playlists for music discovery, Tyler’s desire to be on the radio should shapeshift accordingly to a desire to be a playlist cover artist.

Whether prospective fans discover his music on a streaming binge or from one of his next three radio-ready records, Tyler, The Creator’s wish has already been granted. Pivoting to honesty made Flower Boy his most resonant body of work to date, no radio play required. 

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