Tyler Okonma is the man, Tyler, the Creator is the pseudonym. Yet the line between reality and fiction are often blurred not least in the music he creates. Goblin is the hotly anticipated psychological study of characters; scary, mesmerising and talented in equal measure.
Okonma is under pressure to prove that he is the genuine article, free of pretence and method acting. Accused of being an artist riding on the secret imaginations that others choose not to share, now with a major release in tow he has to become the artist from the boy with a wild mind’s eye.
Regarding this, Goblin is an outright success but only as the result of the virtue that many consider a vice: he is an actor. Part of his success in this role is his ability to communicate. You feel the spit of rage when raps “I’m not a fucking role model/I’m a Nineteen year old emotional-coaster with pipe dreams” in the title track; every ounce of teenage sexual tension when he laments “the closest that I got was when I was poking her on Facebook” in ‘Her’. ‘She’ with its sultry vocals provided by Frank Ocean, is a highlight on the album; a voyeuristic tale of obsession, sex and violence, three factors inextricable throughout Goblin. ‘Transylvania’ is his take on Twilight sans the implicit advocating of celibacy or any sort of love story. Tyler assumes the role of an evil horny Dracula and the fact that he relates to someone of this character instead of anyone else with a good reputation is testament to his rebel nature. He’s a member of the youth, disassociated from society’s memes: fuck tradition, fuck religion, fuck the general good (who’s good is it?): “kill people/burn shit/fuck school”
Though Tyler is a story teller, he is best when he’s introspective and acting as himself. He’s comfortable with saying ‘”My dad called me today to tell me that he loved me/ I have a better chance of getting Taylor Swift to fuck me”, even if you’re not. But his ability to share, whether your life mirrors what he is jealous of, is the key to his success as a charismatic figure. You feel privileged that he bares his heart and soul to you, giving you a key into the wider Wolf Gang community. You a part of his Supreme Box Logo crusader army on a mission to fuck shit up with ‘Sandwitches’ as your theme music: “They are them/ We are Us/ Kill Them/All”.
The tenor of the album is as grimy and dark as the lyrics. Tyler and Syd Da Kid do well to produce and mix the album. But a major flaw is its length. The first half of the album is much stronger than the last because it is focused. In particular ‘Bitch Suck Dick’ is Tyler’s attempt to recreate the infamous crowd pleaser ‘Tina’ from his first mixtape Bastard. It’s somewhat of an ode to Waka Flocka Flame in production, a style that it doesn’t fit into the overall sonic structure of the album.
Not corrupted by drugs or alcohol these are crystal thoughts of a boy damaged. He probably used to care what people thought, but now with his solid catharsis of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, his self-created family, he couldn’t give two shits if you think he hates homosexuals, is a rapist or racist. He has ‘NOTHING TO PROVE’ emblazoned on his forehead.
In this album he assumes many characters: Tyler, the Creator, Ace, Tron Cat, Dracula, even a unicorn, all of which in a theoretical sense are the extension of the real Tyler Okonma: scary, mesmerising and talented, in equal measure.
From Michelle Kambasha.