Flower Boy - Tyler, The Creator
Tyler, The Creator's fourth studio album, Flower Boy is revered highly by many and even got a Grammy nomination. Many Tyler fans and fans of Hip-Hop hold this album in very high esteem, and it's for a good reason too. Flower Boy is the first album of Tyler's maturity, going from the edgy, indignant jagged music that characterized his early career to this. He has since followed up Flower Boy with consistently great coherent and mature LP's such as IGOR and 2021's CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST. Many people credit him with one of the biggest artistic transitions in recent memory, with Flower Boy being the start of it all.
The introductory track, Foreword features a very calculated instrumental that continues to build up to an obscure, diluted conclusion, with some nice guitar riffs woven in as well. As Tyler raps he inquires about his career, social injustices and many other aspects of his life and he does all of which with a smooth and graceful flow. Rex Orange County adds a chorus that's so great and adds much depth to Tyler's introspective start to the record. Where This Flower Blooms has a beautiful piano based instrumental which is also very progressive. Once the beat drops the atmosphere intensifies with the addition of a lot of heavy synths. Tyler's verse is solid with a continuation of thought provoking and reflective lyrics, as well as a standout chorus from Frank Ocean.
Tyler places an interlude early on in the track list with the song Sometimes..., which is radio themed. Tyler's friend Shane Powers and former Survivor contestant is the radio host who is "previewing" new music, which is just the next song, See You Again. This track is amazing and constantly changing throughout the duration of the song. In the beginning Tyler shows off how great his singing has gotten, but once Kali Uchis serenades us with her beautiful chorus the instrumental picks up speed. With the change in tempo Tyler's verse is fun, energetic and has some great lyricism. Kali and Tyler both do some great singing on this track.
The instrumental for Who Dat Boy starts off very ominous but the bass on this song is loud and obstructive. When Tyler starts rapping, it's with a lot of aggression and his classic boastful, don't give a f*ck raps and A$AP Rocky slides through smoothly and braggadociously. Tyler and Rocky have some great chemistry on here but the angry soundscape is really out of place on this album and despite being a banger, Who Dat Boy is a weaker track. The following track Pothole is a lot more calm compared to the unhinged Who Dat Boy. On this track Tyler raps about driving around in his McLaren and not knowing where to go and the instrumental is pretty spacey with some nice drums in it. Jaden's hook is nice as he sings about having to watch out for potholes in life but overall the track is pretty forgettable as a whole.
Garden Shed has a heavy instrumental that conveys a lot of emotion and Estelle's singing is angelic and lines up perfectly with the progression of the angelic but dramatic beat. The incorporation of electric guitars in the outro only strengthens the power of the instrumental and Tyler has a nice flow and fun lyrics but is ultimately too short. Boredom has a vibrant and classy instrumental which is home to some beautiful singing from both Rex Orange County and Anna of the North. Tyler's flow is passionate as he raps being bored while the instrumental progresses and Rex continues to add some great backing vocals that get woven into the instrumental.
The beat on I Ain't Got Time! is upbeat, dynamic and a motivated verse from Tyler. His lyrical content consists of how no one is worth his time and he steps up the intensity on the latter half of the track continuing to drop clever and hilarious bars. 911 / Mr. Lonely is very dynamic and bouncy, from the vibrant and layered instrumental to Tyler's upbeat raps, the whole song is amazing. Steve Lacy's bridge is integral to the song as well as Frank Ocean's short but sweet verse. Tyler raps about being lonely and despite the happy sound of the track, his rapping on the latter end of the track and the crescendo of the instrumental demonstrate the pain that can be felt through this track. This song continues to enforce the themes of loneliness and longing for love, just like the rest of the album.
The following Droppin' Seeds is a short track with a minimalist instrumental where Lil Wayne just spits for around sixty seconds straight. He drops amazing lyric after amazing lyric making this short, insignificant track worth listening to. This song is just a reminder of Wayne's elite pen game and was a great way to break up the album. November's instrumental is very dynamic and fun which makes a great soundscape for Tyler's catchy chorus and meaningful delivery. Tyler continues to be introspective, wondering what could've been in his life and how he got to where he is. November is an amazing progressive track about finding your happiness, which in this song would be your November. He also incorporates an impactful bridge of people saying what their November is, followed by how Tyler wishes he could go back to his November.
Glitter's instrumental is similar to the other tracks but in its own unique beautiful way very different. Tyler seems to be rapping and singing to a person he loved in a fun fashion. His down-pitched second verse adds more weight to the track and darkens the mood, which only enhances the quality of the song. Enjoy Right Now, Today has a drum heavy instrumental that sets a nice conclusory mood for the outro track. Without saying anything Tyler delivers a closer that conveys emotion as well as serving as an epilogue that gives the reader time to digest everything. It isn't the perfect final track but it is relaxing and serves the listener well.
Flower Boy is a great album and is held in very high esteem by fans across the world but I think it could be slightly overrated due to Tyler's transition into more mature and critical music. However this is a great record of reflection from Tyler as he takes a step back to recognize how far he's come and what he's been through to get there. His production is very fun, vibrant and progressive as most beats continuously evolve throughout the duration of the song. This is some of Tyler's best lyricism as well and some of his most personal. His sequencing is pretty great as well with the exception of Who Dat Boy and Sometimes... but other than that the whole album has a cohesive sound. His themes are also cohesive in self-reflection, finding happiness and also finding happiness in loneliness. Tyler delivers a great and new experience for listeners with this one but it is not nearly the masterpiece some people make it out to be.