Tyler, The Creator is an artist’s artist. We can glean this from his consistent pivots to new sounds, his ability to plant seeds for albums to come, his playful dismissal of his own ability, and most recently, his ability to parse what makes his music work for his fans versus what makes it meaningful to him.
Covering Fantastic Man, Tyler revealed that while Flower Boy is his best work, it is not his favorite album:
“It’s more accessible, easier listening,” Tyler explained. “I got great hooks, the beats are great, shit doesn’t need taking out. It’s cohesive. The album art is fucking flawless. I get all my points across. The features are done well. I found my version of writing a pop song but still a rap song. I still get weird musically, but it’s not too gross… Cherry Bomb is my favourite.”
When it comes to appraising his own work, Tyler, The Creator is on the money. Flower Boy is exceptionally well-crafted and approachable, but not at the cost of watering down messaging or thematic structure. As Tyler explained last year, the verses are short to push the importance of his every word, and the hooks are both sticky and as impactful as the verses. Yes, on Flower Boy, Tyler, The Creator found his path to pop success through the lens of rap and whimsical strings. His GRAMMY nomination tells us as much.
Yet, Tyler’s affinity for Cherry Bomb should not be a surprise either. Sonically, the album laid a lot of groundwork for Flower Boy, and his recent stint of releasing Cherry Bomb instrumentals on YouTube should clue us into how special the record was for him, so special that he wants to find new ways to continue sharing the music.
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