Multiple Covers of the day: File these under “oddity”. Mark Ryden, the artist behind the cover art to Tyler The Creator’s third album Wolf, has recently enlisted a starry roster of names to cover the 1892 standard “Daisy Bell (Bicycle Built For Two)” for a benefit album, entitled The Gay Nineties Old Tyme Music: Daisy Bell. Profits from the $99, 999-copy, limited run LP will go to the charity Little Kids Rock, whilst the tracks themselves are part of Ryden’s new exhibit, also titled The Gay 90s. Ryden has also animated some unsettling visuals to accompany the covers. Above you can hear Tyler, The Creator’s effort, which neatly samples HAL 9000’s infamous rendition from 2001: A Space Odyssey into something on the “chilled summer jam” end of the Odd Future spectrum. Of the other contributors, Nick Cave’s cover is fairly nightmarish, “Weird Al” Yankovic goes for a relatively straight-laced barbershop-esque style, Katy Perry shows she wouldn’t be too at sea reinventing herself as a folk singer, Devo frontman and Wes Anderson composer Mark Mothersbaugh goes fully surreal, Metallica guitarist Kirk Hammett puts a minimal doom-laden militaristic spin on things, whilst legendary composer Danny Elfman’s contribution sounds as if it could be on the soundtrack of one of his many collaborations with Tim Burton.
Tyler The Creator Twitter Feud of the day: So misogynistic one-note shock rap versus vomit-inducing pop trash… it’s hard to know who to back in this war of words, but we think we’ll go with Tyler, since will.i.am is responsible for an inconceivable amount of shit music being inflicted on the world, while at least Tyler made “Yonkers” and Bastard.
Doris is, if not the most anticipated, then certainly the longest anticipated rap release since Tyler, The Creator’s Wolf earlier this year, and is proof of why Sweatshirt is one of the genre’s highest-rated underdog characters. Dripping in dark, mellow, haunting production, as evidenced on “Centurion” amongst others, Doris as a stand-alone album of beats is a cracking showcase of what happens when you work tirelessly when selecting your instrumentals. Accompanied by Earl’s characteristic late night answer-phone message-cum-semi-animated social lecture flow, the entirety of Doris approaches life through the wide eyes of an older, maturer Thebe Kigostile, less green and fresh-faced than the kid who couldn’t complete his skateboard tricks on the sidewalk who millions watched on YouTube.
With a wealth of features from hip-hop giants like RZA, younger contemporariessuch as Vince Staples and Mac Miller, through to the expected staple contributions from fellow OF members Domo Genesis, Frank Ocean (who contributes a rare unsung verse), and of course Tyler, the record flows effortlessly between each track. Indeed, Earl seems to have extracted the best of each of these artists’ talents to compliment his own. Having previously given us “Chum” as his answer to the fans so eager for his return back in late 2012, Earl had shown his brilliance as an artist. Who could forget the power of “it’s probably been twelve years since my father left, and left me fatherless” in its muttered acceptance or the words “Too black for the white kids, too white for the black” which so accurately portrayed much of the OFWGKTA and their fanbase’s self-perceived social outcast status.
As the hip-hop world and its biggest stars continue to reel and recover from Kendrick Lamar’s monumental verse in Big Sean’s “Control”, I pray that this brilliant album doesn’t lose its share of the limelight. Many of the rappers addressed by Lamar, and indeed those who weren’t but replied jilted by the injustice of not being called by name, could learn a thing or two from Doris’s maturity and versatility; Instead of penning their attempts at establishing their lyrical supremacy, they might do better to craft a musical work with as much strength in sound as Sweatshirt has given us in this.
There’s a joke to be made about piracy here of the day: Tyler, The Creator, that loveable rap scamp/horrific mysoginist (depending on your disposition), just posted this photo on his Instagram with the caption “BOUT TO STEAL THIS SHIT”. Eagle eyed readers will see that it’s in fact a copy of his just-released third album Wolf tucked into his jeans. In these days of The Pirate Bay, rock & roll antics have devolved a little.
It’s fair to say that the hype, controversy and drama surrounding Odd Future, especially Tyler, the Creator, peaked in summer 2012 and has certainly quietened down now. This is pretty bleak considering that Wolf may be Tyler, the Creator’s best effort yet. Gone are the misogynistic and downright awful lyrics about kidnapping and raping women! They’ve been replaced by yet more rapping about father problems, troubled teenagers and a story set in Camp Flog Gnaw – Tyler’s imaginary summer camp. In the smooth piano led intro Wolf asks Samuel (both personas of Tyler’s) “so you guys are into jazz?”, letting us know that Wolf is going to be all about jazzy beats and crooning over twinkly piano chords, something a million miles away from the angry and aggressive Tyler featured in songs like “Radicals”.
A highlight of the album is the confessional “Colossus”where Tyler raps about trying to enjoy a nice day at a theme park but ends up being hounded by a very obsessive fan – it’s all very “Stan” by Eminem – but much more enjoyable because it’s backed up by simple piano chords and what sounds like a glockenspiel! The album could almost be his Summer Camp Mix for 2013, what with it’s summery theme and soulful tracks like “Treehome95” that go down a Noughties R&B route, a genre that Tyler is a huge fan of. It’s almost as if Wolf pays homage to everything Tyler enjoys outside of rap music – there’s jazzy piano, an appearance from Trash Talk’s Lee Spielman on “TRASHWANG”, quite a few appearances from Odd Future’s resident crooner Frank Ocean, a Toro Y Moi reference and that’s not all! Lætitia Sadier from Stereolab pops up in “Partyisntover” to make some s’mores by the camp fire; Pharrell and Nas also manage to contribute a few verses too, no big deal.
The only thing that really grates on me about Wolf is “Tamale” – it’s an obvious reminder that Tyler hasn’t totally left his childish behaviour behind but I’m just left feeling a bit…annoyed and wishing it wasn’t on there at all. One annoying track aside, the rest of the album is summery and lush, backed by an interesting story about rivalling teenage boys at a summer camp. Tyler’s creativity and innovative beats really shine through on Wolf which is all a bit disheartening as it leaked a few days before the release date and the internet barely batted a collective eyelid. Wolf is possibly Tyler’s most diverse and interesting release to date and he’s proved that he doesn’t need to rely on controversial subject matter or aggressive beats to produce a brilliant rap album.
Overkill of the day: So, Mr. T. Creator has returned. Remember him? Course you do; Goblin, Odd Future, “Yonkers”, homophobia, controversy, a million and one think-piece blog posts about what he means in modern music, yadda yadda. Well after being delayed by The OF Tape Vol. 2, his second album Wolf is just about ready for release with three different covers. There’s the main ’90s-esque portait one, the extreeeeeme close-up alternate artwork, and the rather innocent looking Mark Ryden-illustrated deluxe edition. The album itself is released on April 2nd; early feedback from Tyler indicated it would be entirely instrumental, but no such confirmation. The first video from the LP is set to debut on Oddfuture.com at midnight EST, so keep an eye out for it.
Since the infamous Earl returned to Odd Future earlier this year, he’s been a little quiet. An appearance on The OF Tape Vol. 2, and a guest verse on Frank Ocean’s album, and that’s it. Quite a slow trickle of output for a rapper hailed as one of the best of his generation by quite a number of people, but might that be ready to change now? This cut appeared on Odd Future’s blog earlier, and it’s pretty damn good. The simple, tumbling piano beat is excellent, and the subject matter is quite personal, compared the gruesome imagery in some of Earl’s older material. One line goes "Only been back a week and already feel like calling it quits"; could this be signalling the end of young Mr Sweatshirt?
In which Frocean shows us he’s not only capable of producing best-of-the-year quality albums (hello Channel, Orange!), he can also rap better than roughly 60% of OFWGKTA. "Blue Whale" is so chilled out, what you’d expect to shuffle on as the sun’s just about to set at a well-soundtracked BBQ. Pity we’ve just drifted into autumn, and have to wait eleven months for that moment.
As a precursor to our review of Frank Ocean's debut album Channel Orange, here's one of the many many highlights of the record. If this doesn't convince you that the Louisiana-born, Cali-based singer isn't a colossal talent and bonafide star in the making, nothing will.