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What Makes Tyler, The Creator Special, According to Pharrell

This is better than being "mainstream."

Tell Tyler he can be who he is—that’s his secret to success anyway. In a sprawling new profile with Fast Company, Tyler, The Creator and his inspirations and collaborators break down Tyler’s acclaim and impact. The core of it, as Pharrell Williams said, comes from Tyler, The Creator’s boundless approach.

Williams first praised Tyler’s “audacity to try,” also adding that today’s media climate is perfect for an expansive artist like Tyler, The Creator to find and secure his bearings. “Radio, AM, FM, Sirius, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube,” Williams rattled off. “Tell me, what is mainstream? What are the metrics to say something is massive or niche? That’s the beauty of existing now, and that’s why I feel like Tyler wins, because the metric is based upon his own personal success, not how it looks in one of these particular dimensions.”

The internet affords Tyler endless opportunities to create and diversify his niches, and considering Tyler, The Creator is as his name implies, always creating, Pharrell Williams is right on the money. The more he makes, the more audiences Tyler cultivates, the more impressions he leaves, the more doors he opens, and so on.

“My core is to explore,” Tyler seconds. “That curiosity, people lose that, because they think they know everything.”

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From this Socratic wisdom, we find that Tyler, The Creator’s secret sauce is a mix of relatability, wanton creative energy, and being open to being wrong. Not every idea is going to stick, of course, but the important note is to continue having ideas. Steel will eventually sharpen steel.

When the ideas do stick, Tyler, The Creator plays as one of the most influential artists of the past few years. He has influenced boyband BROCKHAMPTON as much as peers like A$AP Rocky and Vince Staples. His music and persona create space for all people to be themselves in all ways. That might be better than being considered “mainstream.”

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