Review Summary: Tyler matures... Well a little
Odd future ringleader Tyler, The Creator has become somewhat a victim of hype and overexposure in the last few years. After Yonkers dropped and shocked the web with the violent lyrics and even more attention grabbing video (yes I'm referring to the roach) Tyler's last LP Goblin was awaited with baited breath and ultimately failed to fulfill the potential on display on Yonkers. Now Tyler returns with WOLF and it sounds like he's ready to get serious (for the most part).
First thing to mention is the production on this album is surprisingly fresh and imaginative. The police siren on Pigs, the woman moaning on Jamba are unusual samples that are actually executed stylishly on the LP. WOLF is also littered with elegant piano and keyboard melodies that give the album a cleaner sound to it than either Bastard or Goblin.
Lyrically Tyler is still using shock techniques in some songs but is also impressively open about documenting his inner thoughts and feelings. Whilst Tyler rapping about his absentee father is not new subject matter the way he addresses it in Answer is his best approach at it yet, detailing how despite the hate he feels for his missing dad he still wishes he could at least talk to him one time. The track succeeds in illustrating the anger Tyler feels and, often, documents underneath he still wishes his father was there for him and shows Tyler at his vulnerable best. Elsewhere 48 shows Tyler's ability to form stories that do not necessarily involve his many alter-egos and therefore is a standout track about a remorseful crack dealer who regrets the damage he has done. The album is still littered with contempt for critics, "faggots" and even fans. Colossus (Tyler's version of Stan) chronicles a crazed fan's thoughts of how he and Tyler could become best friends and are perfect for each other.
A common problem among Odd Future releases as always been the feature of fellow members. WOLF is no exception as Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt fail to ignite the songs that they feature on. Even Frank Ocean fails to make any lasting impact, this may be due to my personal feeling that he is wasted on his feature and has too much to offer to be simply providing essentially backing vocals.
Ultimately WOLF is about showing off Tyler's improvements in composition and arrangements. Tyler, the Producer; a new alter-ego for the OFWGKTA leader.