June 9, 2023
Ithaca, NY | 47°F


Review: Upbeat tempo and emotive lyrics stand out in rap album

Tyler, The Creator shook up the music scene in 2011 with the release of his sophomore studio album, “Goblin.” Its breakout track “Yonkers” topped charts and reaped accolades, including an MTV Music Award in the Best New Artist category. Two years have passed since then, and Tyler is bringing his signature vehemence to rap once again with his third studio release, “Wolf.”

Standout tracks “Jamba” and “Domo23” are shots of energy to the album with their up-tempo beats and energetic lyrical delivery. The typically down-tempo rapper has no trouble speeding things up. The track “Tamale” rushes past with its lightning-quick beat.

These songs aside, the 18-track “Wolf” does not forget the weighty, slower lyrical work that has made Tyler, The Creator so well known in the rap community. The song “IFHY,” a track best described as a crazed confession of love, does not shy away from delivering emotionally charged verses with insidious patience. Verses include, “Life without you has no goddamn meaning / Sorry I’m passive aggressive for no goddamn reason / It’s that my mood change like these goddamn seasons.”

“Wolf” is a collection of emotionally driven tracks, all of which are paced methodically and with expertise. The vulgarity of his lyrics may prove to be off-putting to some listeners, but for fans of the artist, this album will prove to be a splendid return to Tyler, The Creator’s psyche.

4 Stars

Steven Pirani can be reached at spirani1@ithaca.edu or via Twitter: @stevenpirani