In the current landscape of pop hip-hop, there are ideas you can depend on. Much like the speed of light, they are constants. Theres Drake, the smooth, sweater-wearing rapper who will always be at basketballs largest events and whose popularity knows no bounds.
Kanye West is another constant. One can depend on his actions and statements often about his musical abilities to overshadow his musical product.
Then theres Tyler, The Creator. The musician, producer and graphic designer is a polarizing figure. Along with Odd Future, a hip-hop collective comprised by the likes of Frank Ocean, Hodgy Beats and others, Tyler, The Creator brings a sense of millennial weirdness to a genre that rarely steps beyond the bounds of being outlandish.
Tyler, The Creator and Odd Future DJ Taco are performing 8 p.m. May 31 at Diamond Ballroom, 8001 S. Eastern Ave.
Tyler, The Creator, whose real name is Tyler Okonma, was born in Ladera Heights and grew up in Hawthorne, both communities in southwest Los Angeles County. His first musical release was The Odd Future Tape, Odd Futures 2008 debut mixtape. His debut solo album, Bastard, followed in 2009. It landed at No. 32 on Pitchforks list of The Top 50 Albums of 2010.
Bastard was followed in 2011 by Goblin, which reached No. 5 on the U.S. Billboard 200 with singles Sandwitches, Yonkers and She. Okonma was named Best New Artist at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards.
The video for Yonkers also introduced the mainstream music audience to the intense and uncomfortable world Okonma can create. Perched on a stool, Okonma, alone on screen, plays with a cockroach, then appears to eat it and vomit seconds later. Later, Okonma hangs himself in a noose.
Since then, Okonma has released two records 2013s Wolf and 2015s Cherry Bomb to positive reviews. However, his lyrical content has been criticized and described as homophobic. In an Arsenio Hall interview, Okonma spoke about the subject and his friendship with Odd Future musician Frank Ocean.
Franks gay, and I use that word all the time, he said. He doesnt care. He knows me. He knows when I say that word, Im not thinking of someones sexual orientation. Its just another word that has no meaning.
His lyrics got him banned from the United Kingdom. In August 2015, the Home Office, the United Kingdoms ministerial department responsible for security, immigration and law and order, informed The Quietus, a British rock music and pop culture website, of its reasoning: Coming to the UK is a privilege, and we expect those who come here to respect our shared values.
Okonma also is a graphic designer and creates the artwork for Odd Futures releases, including his own. His work often features bright colors and is best described as bizarre. He also designs a clothing line that dips into the same artistic well.
His work is now mobile; its published along with animation and music through the app Golf Media. The description in Apples App Store reads Golf Media is basically my brain in one place.
The one thing that we know for sure about Okonma is there is no place in rap like his brain.
Print headline: Clever originator, Multitalented artist Tyler, The Creator brings his tour to Diamond Ballroom.