Let me start the review by saying I’ve always been a big fan of Tyler, The Creator. He has his own record label, a posse of talented rappers behind his Odd Future brand, three albums under his belt, a clothing line, a retail store, not to mention his ability to direct videos, produce his own tracks and then rap over the top of them. This was all achieved, colourfully described by Tyler on the collaborative OF Tape II, before he was ‘even old enough to drink a fucking beer’.
That being said, after seeing planet Tyler grow from a hipster’s wet dream to the formidable hip hop phenomena that the A$AP mob can only dream of becoming, it’s glad to see that Wolf is a perfect representation of his ability to grow as a musician.
Wolf‘s production is the stand out improvement from Bastard and Goblin, it’s much more layered and exciting to listen to than lazy filler tracks featured on his previous albums. Rusty, Answer, Cowboy, Jamba and of course the Pharrell assisted IFHY all show this adventurous drive to achieve more, leading the way for more emphatic, meaningful lyrics in the process. Answer is a personal favourite of mine and shows the storytelling talents Tyler possesses but has seemed reluctant to utilise until now, the potent lyrics about his father’s absence during his life coupled with his direct verbal abuse of him make this to be an emotive yet enjoyable track.
A problem I found with Wolf is the scattered arrangement epitomised by Trashwang. A track filled with the lesser members of the Odd Future team, as well as a ridiculous cameo from Lee Spielman of Trash Talk who are signed to the label. It seems, in an effort to include all of his friends, Tyler has thrown the rest on the same track to create a barrage of noise, as well as a track that can be deleted upon download. Apart from this track, the utilisation of his OF cohorts is perfect. Beautiful symphonic melodies from Syd Tha Kyd and Frank Ocean compliment the album perfectly, and outstanding guest verses from Hodgy Beats, Mike G and Domo Genesis show that they are just as capable, maybe even more so in some cases, than Tyler and Earl.
Wolf is a solid album from Tyler, The Creator, much more listenable and enjoyable than his previous albums and shows his growth in terms of production and lyrical content. Fans of Goblin and Bastard will not be disappointed either, the same taboo busting Tyler is there, continuing to slate pop stars, opting for One Direction rather than Bruno Mars or B.O.B. on this occasion. Well worth a listen.