Tyler, the Creator’s career has been built on over-the-top antics and crude humor –to say the least. But In his latest effort, Flower Boy, he digs deep into his own thoughts and delivers his most accomplished project to date. Known for his obscene and controversial style, Tyler decides to depart from that for a majority of this album substituting it for a more thoughtful and introspective journey. He takes the opportunity to explore his personal growth as he covers topics like success, love, and isolation. The album utilizes beautiful soundscapes as the backdrop for Tyler’s lyrics. The colorful and melodic production creates a sense of liberation. It allows for Tyler to easily get off his thoughts and effortlessly paint vivid imagery through his lyrics. On past albums, Tyler alienated himself by using various alter-egos possibly as a way to stay closed off and refrain from fully exposing himself. On Flower Boy however, there’s none of that, you only hear Tyler’s perspective and his thoughts on the album, which is refreshing.
Probably the most eyebrow-raising topic throughout this album is Tyler’s sexuality. On the song “I Ain’t got Time,” he raps, “Next line will have ‘em like ‘Whoa’, I’ve been kissing white boys since 2004.” While these lyrics aren’t concrete evidence regarding Tyler’s sexuality, it’s not the first time he’s mentioned it. He’s tweeted about coming out of the closet and even stated his love for ’96 Leonardo DiCarprio in an interview with Rolling Stone. Even so, it is hard to tell whether or not Tyler is being serious about these claims or joking. Regardless, Tyler’s sexuality isn’t meant to be the focal point of the album. The album is about his journey through life until now and his acceptance of who he has become.
Ironically enough, even though the album’s title is Flower Boy, this is the most mature Tyler has ever sounded. It almost seems like he is using this album as a way to leave a lot of his immature antics behind him and come into manhood. That’s not to say there aren’t times where Tyler showcases the brash and in-your-face persona that’s made him popular, but he balances it out with a more thoughtful and introspective approach throughout the project. He also seems really grounded throughout this album, which is supported by the features. He gets support from R&B artists, such as Estelle, Kali Uchis, and Frank Ocean to maintain the album’s primarily breezy tone. On the other hand, he taps ASAP Rocky to partake in his mischievous adventures on “Who Dat Boy.”
Overall, it seems like Tyler found himself with Flower Boy and started making the music he’s always wanted to create. He is able to mesh his influences (i.e. Pharrell and Roy Ayers) while maintaining his own sound. Nothing on this album sounds forced. Instead, Tyler organically presents himself exposing listeners to a new side, a more mature Tyler. He utilizes a sound that is more focused and has a much more eclectic vibe than any of his other previous efforts. Even when he previously reverts back to his classic sound on songs, like “I Ain’t got Time,” it doesn’t necessarily feel out of place. This album is a testament of a boy evolving and blooming into a man. While the transformation may not be complete, Flower Boy demonstrates Tyler’s growth. This project is not about trying to right his wrongs or obscene past, instead it is about moving forward.