Tyler Gregory Okonma otherwise known as “Tyler, the Creator” is surely living up to his Nom de plume. Ever since “Bastard” dropped back in 2009, each solo outing since then has been pushing the envelope and has been gaining fans with each subsequent release. With “Flower Boy” being his most palatable release to date for pure Hip-Hop fans, many of them began to clamor for his subsequent projects to see if he would push the boundaries once more or give a more traditional offering. By the looks of things it seems as if Tyler went FULL alternative hip-hop with his latest offering “IGOR”.
The album starts off with an “opening credits” of sorts with “IGOR’S THEME”. A heavy synth, heavy bass, heavy percussion instrumental that when you listen could absolutely envision the names of popular actors scrolling across the screen as you begin to binge watch season one of a new series on whichever streaming service you use. Words float in and out of the track in the form of refrains but it doesn’t detract from the overall instrumental. Oh and if you were wondering who all showed up on the track, yes that is Lil Uzi Vert with the assist to Tyler. Amazing opener.
“EARFQUAKE” the album’s proper first song is a musical roller coaster. There are many peaks and valleys as voices cascade in and out of another synth heavy instrumental. Charlie Wilson, Playboi Carti and Jessy Wilson continue the trend of uncredited collaborations but it is an added surprise. This track shows our main protagonist Igor has become smitten with the idea of courting his love interest.
“I THINK” is a funky late 80’s reminiscent track that pairs Igor with Solange as they whimsically dance throughout the song and ponder if “they think they are falling in love” throwing all apprehension to the wind while declaring that “they think this is for real.” Here’s to fresh book smell love.
“RUNNING OUT OF TIME” is minimalist at best in terms of the the initial instrumentation. It’s merely a build up though because things kick into gear through the midway point of the track as we are treated to a sonic blast of music but only enough to to whet one’s appetite as it goes back to being sparse. Jerrod Carmichael pops up with some more uncredited dialog sending you directly into the next track.
“New Magic Wand” has a frenetic pace but it flows greatly with the distortion effect that is on Tyler’s oops I mean Igor’s voice. It seems as if Igor is beginning to have reservations of his new found love. He doesn’t understand why he can’t be with or see her 100% of the time as opposed to whenever she can. It’s high key obsessive but when it’s that new book smell love or infatuation things can get a bit blurry. Santogold pops up as the love interest in question and it drives the song to a fitting conclusion.
“A BOY IS A GUN” is thematically brilliant, production wise its very reminiscent of Mid-era Kanye, the influence is undeniable. Narrative wise it appears that Igor and his love interest are in the throws of a relationship that is teetering on the brink of break-up. Petty arguments, past lovers popping up. It’s all bad, words are said, you know how it goes.
“PUPPET” is the regret portion of the break up. You know the part of the relationship when you’re the first one to break and contact the other person first. Igor is at that point where he wants her back but doesn’t know how to correctly convey those feelings. With Kanye West playing playing the role of his conscious it’s about to be a 808’s and heartbreak kind of evening for the kid. Jerrod Carmichael sweeps back in as the voice of reason, essentially telling Igor to come to his senses.
“WHAT’S GOOD” has Igor getting his “swag back” so to speak as he speeds off into the sunset after realizing that it’s truly over with him and his lady. In true bravo fashion, he spends the entire track being tough and boastful and ends up getting into a car accident.
“GONE GONE/THANK YOU” is the part of the grief where Igor has to come to terms with the fact that they are truly no good for one another and must make peace with what was and what ultimately will never be. Although it is a “L” for him emotionally, there is a lesson learned.
“I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE” is the final part of the closure that Igor is searching for and seems to have found. He realizes that yes it is okay to move on as there are definitely, other fish in the sea. It’s best to gather oneself, regroup, retool, and keep it pushing, its ok to love again in the future when the time is right. Right?
“ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” Igor still wants to still be friends with the girl that broke his heart. Again this is a classic post break-up maneuver. Unless its an amicable split, I do not recommend this. I repeat Do Not Do This, It usually doesn’t end well for any parties involved. If it was a clean break, consider that a blessing and move on.
In ending, “IGOR” as an album was a very enjoyable listen. As as a concept album the narrative stretched across two or three acts depending on how you want to look it at it. It feel like it’s a spiritual precursor to 808’s and Heartbreak while simultaneously being a successor. The album ultimately achieves its overall mission of adding context to the stages of relationships. It’s by no means a situation that everyone goes through or want to admit to going through but I’m sure at some point, we’ve all been there and we can all relate. Well done Tyler.