Review Summary: WOLF is an original release with classic Odd Future-esque lyrics, but with terrible production and mixing.
In an interview with SPIN Magazine, Tyler the Creator expressed that Wolf would be a different organism from his previous releases. “Talking about rape and cutting bodies up, it just doesn't interest me anymore...what interests me is making weird hippie music for people to get high to. With Wolf, I'll brag a little more, talk about money and buying ***. But not like any other rapper, I'll be a smart-ass about it. People who wanted my first album again, I can't do that. I was 18, broke as ***. On my third album, I have money and I'm hanging out with my idols. I can't rap about the same ***.” The mistake the interviewers made in presenting these quotes were that Tyler the Creator is never what he seems. He constantly blends truth and fiction with such ease, it's unsettling. Even more so than him rapping about rape and cutting bodies. Having listened to the album, I'll dissect the quotes for your benefit. “Talking about rape and cutting bodies up, it just doesn't interest me anymore.” Let me provide some lyrical excerpts from the album to see if this statement happens to be factually correct. “Address my little dick as Ike, twenty says I hit your wife.” “Oh, you want a tip bitch, well here's my dick for gratuity, bitch.” “Sorry, I called you the wrong name, see, my brain's splitting. Dad isn't your name, see Faggot's a little more fitting.” Tyler wasn't lying. He's still rapping misogynistic, homophobic and violent, but at least he's staying away from mutilation and rape. Baby steps are important.
“What interests me is making weird hippie music for people to get high to.” This is an odd comment from Tyler. Anybody who's listened to anything he's released knows he's not really into the whole hippie scene. Peace and love? More like loving women in pieces. , In addition he's also never been interested in marijuana, he's also espoused a "straight-edge" lifestyle for himself. His fanbase isn't largely comprised of hippies, obviously. Hippie music also doesn't traditionally contain references to forcibly making women drink your semen, but I'll give Tyler a break. He's obviously just trying to ease into a new style. He would never lie to us about the content of his album, right? Maybe, we need to create a new blend of hippie counterculture with hip-hop counterculture. I'll give Tyler credit where it's due for trying to accomplish this.
“With Wolf, I'll brag a little more, talk about money and buying ***. But not like any other rapper, I'll be a smart-ass about it.” Tyler's lyrics are predictably clever. But he doesn't often, if not at all, brag about money and buying *** on WOLF. Even though the production is insanely different from his previous albums, which I will cover in a moment, he's more or less rapping about the same *** as Bastard and Goblin, with a calmer and more confident feel. It's not extremely disturbing or horrific content like GOBLIN, but WOLF still retains a classic sheen of Tyler the Creator that we have come to appreciate and accept from the Odd Future leader. If you like Tyler's typical lyrical content, you will enjoy WOLF.
The production on this album is incredibly strange. It combines tranquil, almost dull beats with typical Odd Futuresque lyrics. Although tracks exist on the album with top-of-the-line production such as “Domo23” and “Jamba” which are standouts, the album is almost a cruel April Fools joke. Everything Tyler said in press releases about the album would be false. He touted the release as being lyrically calm and unconventional, while most of the album would be production-based, but there seems to have been no effort put into some of the mixing and structure. Tyler's not made a horrible release, but he's made a deceptive one, with deceptive marketing. Fans of hardcore beats to match hardcore rhymes will be scratching their heads while listening to WOLF.
“People who wanted my first album again, I can't do that. I was 18, broke as ***. On my third album, I have money and I'm hanging out with my idols. I can't rap about the same ***.” Tyler can certainly rap about the same exact ***, but apparently he can't replicate the same exact sound. Odd Future has never particularly cared about the opinions of internet critics, but Tyler, if you're reading this, I'd love to get haunting and imposing tracks again. I'm sure an artist who has made a name for not caring what anybody thinks is going to take my advice, but I'm certain a majority of your fans are on the same page as me. WOLF has excellent lyrics, with no production to match.