beat out Khaled and his cavalcade of stars by about 300K streams off "Earfquake".
so, really, you don't need to take it from me, right?
well... here it is.
I stayed up late to hear this album upon release, through computer speakers and about 5 songs in I was like "WTF, is Tyler gonna actually go through an album not rapping?" later that morning while in the Volvo and during the day I listened it to a few times more and I was just floored.
to be fair, my favorite Tyler album is still probably WOLF but I saw something like this album coming when "Fucking Young" was the first single off CHERRY BOMB, an album many disliked but I personally loved. So much I bought it again just to get the instrumentals.
and to also be fair, I was once a person who called Odd Future "OMGWTFKTA" at the peak of their hype, largely because a dillweed on here was endlessly shitposting about them. If you told me a Pharrell disciple who rapped about the kind of stuff he did back in the BASTARD and GOBLIN days would be one of my favorite artists of all time back in 2011-12 I would have laughed in your face. But here we are.
Tyler has, since that point, found a way to reinvent himself but retain some core aesthetic ever since that point. each album, even if you find a connecting thread, has its own "universe". This was something the greats would do. In fact, I think he's surpassed his idol (Pharrell) in that regard. One thing that still boggles my mind about him is how he gets the guests he does. When Pharrell first appeared on a Tyler song I wondered if Tyler was finally getting "noticed by senpai". But he's appeared multiple times. He's had Charlie Wilson, Roy Ayers, Erykah Badu, Alice Smith, Leon freakin' Ware, and countless others like my dogg Toro y Moi on his albums. Many of whom I never thought would appear on an album by this guy. But here we are.
So with IGOR... we come out of the revealing, somewhat depressive undertones of FLOWER BOY into tales of heartbreak cascading over most of the length of this album. As he tends to do, Tyler wears his influences on his sleeves: you're brought to think of Pharrell with "EARFQUAKE" (featuring a returning Charlie Wilson). Classic Kanye (before the red hats, erratic Tweets, and bleach on the T-Shirt) on "A BOY IS A GUN"... while the ACTUAL Kanye shows up in the background of the rather messy "Puppet". You even get the latest iteration of the classic "Tyler hype track" in "What's Good" (think: the "Domo23", "Who Dat Boy", "Yonkers" type song), a reminder that while it isn't the focus, Tyler still raps. The closer, "Can We Be Friends?" calls to mind... late '70s PRINCE trying to do other late '70s R&B. Speaking of Prince, Tyler's also doing the "speed up the voice" thing on several tracks that would make one think of that "Camille" era of Prince, but on Tyler it kind of makes him sound like a lil kid.
Owing something to hanging out with Solange (on whose last album he makes a production cameo), he weaves Jerrod Carmichael offering testimonial comments in a way that reminded me of Master P getting airtime on A SEAT AT THE TABLE. Besides "Earfquake", "Running Out Of Time", "A Boy Is A Gun", my favorite song is "Gone, Gone / Thank You", featuring King Krule. In particular, the middle part with the ill chord progression and Tyler actually rapping one of the more sober moments of the album.
This might also be the shortest Tyler album ever. Does it even hit 40 minutes before you're back at the top again? In any case, we've got a certified winner in IGOR, and I can't wait to see what he does next.