Tyler the Creator
Wolf


2.8
good

Review

by Aziz STAFF
April 28th, 2013 | 18 replies | 2,091 views


Release Date: 04/02/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Wolf offers some great flashes into the maturing mind of Tyler the Creator, but if he's not rapping about rape and murder, 70 minutes is just way too long.

At least Tyler the Creator made it nearly impossible to deliver a disappointing album in Wolf. After Bastard and subsequently “Yonkers” set expectations at near astronomical levels, Tyler released Goblin, the uniformly boring, overlong, and laborious 2011 album that nobody expected. It marked the beginning of Tyler’s transformation from a horrorcore rapper whose calling card was clever word play (“It’s not a figure of speech when I tell you that I dumped her”) and controversial shock rap (“Jesus called he said he’s sick of the disses/ I told him to quit bitchin’ this isn’t a fuckin’ hotline”) to a more restrained musician who shied away from rape and murder and began devising concepts and spitting more about his daddy problems. The trend only materialized further on Wolf, which is almost entirely devoid of the elements that gained Tyler and the entire Odd Future crew notoriety a couple years ago. The album is constructed loosely around a concept involving a struggle between the characters Wolf and Sam (both of whom are represented by Tyler and are competing alter egos), particularly in wooing Sam’s girlfriend Salem. What is most interesting about the concept is the way it entwines the threads that have been woven by Bastard, Goblin, and the track “Sam (is Dead)” from last year’s OF Tape Vol. II (theories are readily available across the internet, and the idea that Tyler masterminded an entire story here is both likely and ingenious), but within the context of the album it’s a simple idea that is referenced enough to be lucid, but not overbearing to the point that the songs suffer.

The good isn’t much; the really good anyway. His short tenure in hip-hop has made it abundantly clear that Tyler the Creator makes good music when he’s acting like a kid. Disregarding convention (see: any song in which Tyler discusses rape), making brash statements towards those who care too much (“Somebody tell [T]egan and Sara to come suck a–”), and making clever references (“Dress my little dick as Ike, twenty says I hit your wife”) is what made him stand out, and when he goes dumb on tracks like “Domo 23”, “Rusty”, “Pigs” – even “Trashwang” gets some love here just because it slaps in the whip – Wolf really shines. Failing that, Tyler has a penchant for making soul-baring tracks; we saw it a little on Bastard and progressively more on Goblin, but now it seems like a section of every song is dedicated to his chagrin towards his father, and the connection to his audience made from these evocative moments is a huge plus. “Answer” is dedicated almost entirely to his father, and “IFHY” is a Neptunes-inspired ode to Salem, as Tyler walks us through his troubled mind and relationship. It’s compelling; it’s interesting; it’s one of Tyler’s greatest assets as an artist – he even acknowledges it on “Stan (Remix)” with comments like “‘but Tyler you’re my hero, I used to be bullied /Until I heard ‘Radicals’, the last part got to me’” and “‘[‘Bastard’] drew me in like predators carrying treats /Then I said to myself, fuck, is he speaking to me?’” And the fact that the stronger tracks are interspersed throughout the album makes it much easier to listen to, because the tedium of the filler becomes mitigated by bookended bangers. But this is really where the high praise for the album stops.

In typical Tyler the Creator fashion, the album opens with the title track; however this time it’s not a lengthy search into the mind of Tyler as its predecessors were. Instead, he leaves the therapy session for album closer “Lone”, which is an unfortunately truncated iteration of “Bastard” and “Goblin” before it, which allots Tyler only enough time to tell the story of his late grandmother’s passing. And though the “therapy sessions” with Dr. TC have traditionally been stellar due to their mixture of clever bars and tormented honesty, “Lone” really seems like it could have just been spoken as a story rather than rapped, having only a meager, clumsy element of BADBADNOTGOOD wordplay to declare itself as a legitimate song. Actually, quite a few of the tracks on this album (as was the case with Goblin) are pretty weak but we’re forced to accept them because despite their tedium they either compare favorably to the drivel that perpetuated Goblin, or because once the meat of the song is finished, we’re given a 20 or 30 second flash of the story’s progression (“Parking Lot” being the best example). For the most part though, even the throwaway songs are enjoyable: “Answer” is fairly binary in its drab, traipsing beat and humdrum hook, but the first verse is a nice peek into the broiling anger that Tyler feels for his father, calling him a faggot and a “Nigerian fuck” before settling into “but if I ever had the chance to ask this nigga, and call him, I hope you answer”. “Awkward” and “PartyIsntOver/Campfire” are some of the album’s slower moments, but in their comatose state they do still have some purpose – though this could be achieved with a quick skit instead. And then there are songs like “Tamale”, which add nothing to the story and seem almost wildly out of left field (“Treehome95” is also guilty of being a random addition, but to be fair, it’s a creamy lavender hymn to Erykah Badu’s brilliance and should have probably been a bonus track). What I mean to say is, that Wolf has a lot of comparatively dull moments – when every song has to compete with “Jamba”, “Domo 23”, and “Rusty”, it becomes difficult to pull off the more somber, subdued tracks – but unlike Goblin it doesn’t feel so overlong and boring because nearly every song has something to tie it to the overarching concept, and most of those are at the very least enjoyable as standalone songs as well.



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Comments:Add a Comment 
GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2013



5968 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

It's almost a month late, but I felt like this album needed a good middle-of-the-road review since it seems to be lacking in 3s.

tl;dr you can get away with not listening to this one, but there are definitely some good songs.

Also, everybody who has any interest at all should absolutely check out the story that Tyler's put together with his albums. I didn't want to discuss it too much since this isn't a blog post or whatever but it's really interesting (and impressive).

mindleviticus
April 28th 2013



8151 Comments


I have pretty much the same feelings as well. Good review, although I'd say it's average.

MikeC26
April 28th 2013



3139 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

nice review homie. Rusty is easily the best verse i've ever heard from him

Trebor.
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2013



49741 Comments


Had this as my sputnik avatar for a while
Had this as my facebook profile pic for a while
Will never listen

Digging: Empire! Empire! (I Was a Lonely Estate) - You Will Eventually Be Forgotten

oltnabrick
April 28th 2013



30047 Comments


Lol nice

Digging: Stellar OM Source - Ocean Woman

fish.
Contributing Reviewer
April 28th 2013



21559 Comments


Also, everybody who has any interest at all should absolutely check out the story that Tyler's put together with his albums. I didn't want to discuss it too much since this isn't a blog post or whatever but it's really interesting (and impressive).

Where can I find it?

Digging: Septicflesh - Communion

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
April 28th 2013



5968 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

There are a couple blog posts/articles around the internet. I read them a few weeks ago but I'll try
to find some.

http://noisey.vice.com/blog/the-conspiracy-theorists-guide-to-tyler-the-creators-wolf-trilogy

This one was written like right after the album released I think so it's a bit basic with what
happens but it's a good rough outline of what Tyler may have been going for (he also mentions that
EarlWolf might be a thing b/c of everything that's happened but that can't be because Earl gets
killed at the end of "Rusty")

I think there's a lot on RapGenius if you look through the lyrics explanation; I know I spent a
while just reading all of those and got a good idea from that.

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20130402180122AA7UryT

That's a pretty good summary of the story from Wolf, but it doesn't mention the other albums or
anything.


There were some other things that I read early this month but I don't remember where they were now
=/

Oooh just found this. Haven't read it but it seems like it might be pretty legit seeing as how it's
a forum dedicated to Tyler.

http://www.oddfuturetalk.com/forums/topic/31346-wolf-storyline-discussion/

Passname
April 28th 2013



301 Comments


this guy is a queefer [2]

He rapped about satan, rape, and murder? OMG the HORROR. Big L was doing the same thing 20 years ago
except he was actually good.



demigod!
April 28th 2013



43793 Comments


Big L could flow like a beast and didn't need tryhard beats to keep him goin

Digging: Black Flag - My War

foxblood
April 28th 2013



6797 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

yee

sideburndude
April 28th 2013



2782 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Rusty

demigod!
April 28th 2013



43793 Comments


lord quas >

foxblood
April 28th 2013



6797 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

lord quas is about a million levels above this turd

oltnabrick
April 28th 2013



30047 Comments


lmao wtf wow so elite calm down ok

RosaParks
April 28th 2013



14592 Comments


shit band

oltnabrick
April 28th 2013



30047 Comments


haha good one raserpurks

CK
April 29th 2013



4872 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

It's weird watching this guy on Loiter Squad, which really isn't all that good of a show even

GnarlyShillelagh
Staff Reviewer
April 29th 2013



5968 Comments

Album Rating: 2.8

Yeah lol it can be kind of funny sometimes though

That shit they did with the trampoline and thumbtacks had me rolling



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