Tyler, The Creator’s ‘Cherry Bomb’ explodes with current fans

Tyler, The Creator’s ‘Cherry Bomb’ explodes with current fans

Tyler, The Creator

Cherry Bomb

Grade: B- 

Tyler, The Creator is known for his notorious cockroach snack in the music video for his critically acclaimed debut single “Yonkers” in February 2011. 

As a member of the eccentric rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, he has shocked, offended and fascinated the mainstream. His latest album, Cherry Bomb, is mostly an idiosyncratic Tyler album, but also a small step in a new direction. The self-produced album combines the familiar heavy bass and brash beats of his previous records with lush jazz samples and ample synthesizers. Many listeners have noted that the production is reminiscent of Pharrell Williams, one of Tyler’s musical mentors, whose production is well known for its use of jazz samples and synthesizers.

Fans of Tyler, The Creator will probably love Cherry Bomb, but despite more advanced and interesting production, there’s nothing different enough to draw in new fans. Tyler, like many other niche hip-hop artists such as Curren$y or Kid Cudi, already has an extremely devoted fan base who will support him and his music no matter what he releases. In exchange, Tyler doesn’t release anything too alienating or experimental. He knows who his fans are, he knows who will buy the album and that’s exactly who Tyler, The Creator makes music for.

Like all Tyler, The Creator albums, Cherry Bomb can be viewed as cluttered and manic by those who aren’t familiar with or don’t appreciate Tyler’s style of music. The title track of the album is a brash cacophony of loud, distorted sounds, reminiscent of the hip hop group Death Grips. Tyler raps over the beat: “I’m a firecracker and I’m ready to blow/You fire me up, I lose control.” The lyrics are a prime example of the outlandish mannerisms that dominate Tyler’s music.

Kanye West and Lil Wayne both have verses on “Smuckers,” one of the most hyped tracks from the album. The almost-six-minute song features multiple verses from each artist, and even includes a beat change midway through the song, after Kanye’s verse. The three rappers all maintain a somewhat rapid flow, frequently handing off verses over pounding drums, synthesizers and horns.

Tyler, The Creator’s album goes back to his roots as the vocals in Odd Future, a group which singer-songwriter Steve Albini described in 2011 as “assholes making music about being assholes.”

Odd Future is comprised of musicians, skaters and artists who became friends while living in Los Angeles. While the group’s exact history isn’t clear, they became famous for their eccentric behavior and musical talent. The group was propelled into the spotlight in 2011 following Tyler’s release of “Yonkers” and Frank Ocean’s features on Kanye West and Jay-Z’s album, Watch the Throne. Their popularity skyrocketed with Earl Sweatshirt’s mysterious disappearance, which prompted the “Free Earl” campaign. As a result of their sudden fame, the group created Loiter Squad, a show on Adult Swim, and opened their own store where they sell Odd Future-themed merchandise.

Whether their antics impress or offend you, their talent is undeniable. From Frank Ocean’s critically acclaimed masterpiece channel ORANGE to Earl Sweatshirt’s long-awaited and much-hyped Doris, Odd Future has released some extremely impressive albums that validate their fame. While most of Odd Future’s music is considered hip-hop/R&B, many of its artists, like Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator, have crossover appeal. 

While the initial hype and the novelty of Odd Future has worn off, the group still has many devoted fans, successful business ventures and remarkable new music. In the past few years, many Odd Future members, including Domo Genesis, Hodgy Beats and Left Brain, have used their fame from Odd Future to release their own solo and collaborative projects. People speculate that the notoriously media-reclusive Frank Ocean is working on a follow-up to channel ORANGE. Earl Sweatshirt has been touring in support of his latest album and Tyler, The Creator is still hard at work doing what he does best: uninhibited creative expression.

Cherry Bomb represents a new age in the fame and popularity of Odd Future. The more musically talented members of the group are enjoying immense success and recognition for their work, and the rest are still hanging out and having fun. They’re still great artists with eccentric personalities who make great music, but their antics no longer give them mainstream attention, and their music is listened to mostly by their devoted fans.

Their successes have afforded them the freedom to expand their ideas into clothing lines adorned with Odd Future logos and symbols, and television shows that show Odd Future just hanging out, messing around and having fun. Despite all of their success, the core dynamic that makes Odd Future so fun and interesting isn’t going to change. They’re still a group of friends who are going to keep doing what they’ve always set out to do: make music, skateboard and have fun.