BY MATTHEW HENGEVELD While Bill O’Reilly and the Unfair & Biased clan are busy tarring and feathering Common, I’ve got a nagging feeling that somebody somewhere didn’t do their homework. Obama invited Common Sense to the White House last week and George H. W. Bush invited Eazy-E to the White House in 1991— but when it comes to thuggishness, real or manufactured, neither Common (Oh puh-leaze! The guy is like the Sesame Street of rap, and I mean that in a good way) or that dyed in the wool Republican Eazy-E hold a torch to the sheer pathology of Tyler, The Creator, leader of the much-buzzed-about Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All posse.
Tyler’s new solo album, Goblin (XL), is easily the most satanic record I’ve heard since Slayer’s Reign In Blood. Every aspect of the album (production, lyrics, themes, etc.) emanates Tyler’s deeply-disturbed 19-year-old brain which seems truly impressive at first, but in the end there’s only so much fucked up R.L. Stine shit you can be subjugated to. And it soon becomes apparent that Tyler’s hell-child attitude is about the extent of his game, and sorely missed is Odd Future’s sense humor and comaraderie (Odd Future beginners should check out Radical Mixtape or Earl Sweatshirt’s EARL EP).
Odd Future’s strong suit is its ability to evoke the likes of Wu-Tang, D.I.T.C., Heltah Skeltah, Insane Clown Posse, G-Unit, Dipset, etc. without mimicking them and Tyler crosses that line with Goblin. The line “I’m a fucking walking paradox” is just rehashing Earl’s “I’m a hot and bothered astronaut.” In the same sense, the repeated chants of “Wolf Gang” on “Sandwiches” is little more than a reinvention of the “Wu-Tang” chant. And it doesn’t end there.
While I’m loathe to admit that there are several striking similarities to “Kim”-era Eminem in Goblin, it is undeniably obvious that Tyler wants to be Eminem. When Tyler raps “Start jackin’ him off, ‘til his cack blastin off? Fuck that!” he is directly ripping Em’s imprecation on “Remember Me”: “Slim get’s blamed in a Bill Clint speech to fix these streets. Fuck that!” Tyler follows up with other lines that mimic Em’s delivery on “My Name Is.” I’m sure Marshall Mathers’ is not amused.
As for the beats, I wasn’t too disappointed.To be sure, they don’t bang as hard as “Double Cheeseburger” or “EARL,” but “Yonkers” and “Sandwitches” still capture the same menacing gravitational pull that defined Tyler as Odd Future’s leader in the first place. I was impressed by “AU79,” a bubbling instrumental track that plays after Tyler kills all of his friends. However, songs like “Bitch Suck Dick” (his mom must be so proud) and “Window” move at such a numbingly slow pace, simply finishing the track becomes a chore. And that fucking screaming shit on almost every track makes me want to strangle someone — mostly Tyler.
The article in this week’s New Yorker, “Looking For Earl Sweatshirt”, is a stern reminder that Odd Future of 2011 is not the same Odd Future of 2010. More specifically, there is a clear pre-Fallon/post-Fallon split that galvanized the original fan base and inadvertently flip-flopped the roles of persona and platter in Odd Future’s music. Posse-style rap groups are so hard to put your finger on, especially when the standout artist (Earl) seemingly disappears, and the leader (Tyler) becomes hip-hop’s Paris Hilton.