Tyler, The Creator – Goblin
If you haven’t yet heard of the hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKTA to their devoted fans, Odd Future to the rest of us), then you soon will. They may not have the catchiest of names, but led by the enigmatic and prolific Tyler, The Creator, Odd Future have quickly built up an army of underground fans by constantly releasing free albums online – and are now poised to unleash their distinct brand of hip hop to the masses.
First up is Goblin, the first album proper to to come from the collective – and the first to be heavily promoted. The fact that it is essentially a solo album by Odd Future’s founder suggests Tyler, The Creator is being positioned as the high-profile figurehead of their mainstream push – and if Goblin is anything to go by it looks like he is more than worth the hype.
Goblin is full of the confident minimalist beats and dark, angry lyrics that have characterised Odd Future’s output so far, and become the trademark of rapper/producer Tyler, The Creator – who at just 20 years of age is already being touted as the new ‘voice of a generation’. While that kind of statement is probably going to do him more harm than good in the long-run, confident and composed tracks like ‘Goblin’ (which plays out like a brutally introspective counselling session) and ‘She’ (which displays his more soulful, populist touch) suggest he’s got the ability to follow the shocking yet successful formula of the likes of Eminem.
Songs like ‘Radicals’ also suggest the young Tyler has an old head on his shoulders – toying with hip-hop conventions to create a self-aware call to arms for the youth to live their own life on their own terms. It’s this at times reckless youthful exuberance that is getting everyone so excited about Tyler, The Creator and his Odd Future cohorts, with Goblin acting as their first ‘official’ mission statement to a new generation to reject the old traditions and make up their own rules.
As introductions go, Goblin is as exciting, visceral and relevant as Nas’ Illmatic and could well be viewed as just as important in the coming years – it just depends what Tyler and Odd Future do with all the hype and hyperbole swirling around.