Tyler, The Creator: Flower Boy

Tyler, The Creator releases a thoughtful album in Flower Boy, covering the limits of materialism, the value of relationships, and the precious nature of time.  Using a poetry slam style Tyler, The Creator delivers fierce lyrics on top of gentle music.

Limits of Materialism

The lead track “Foreward” questions the fulfillment one can find in possessions.  Here are two portions where Tyler, The Creator speaks to the limits of things:

How many cars can I buy ’til I run out of drive?
How much drive can I have ’til I run out of road?
How much road can they pave ’til I run out of land?
How much land can there be until I run in the ocean?…

Cars are classic rap territory.  How big are the wheels?  Are you ridin’ dirty?  Are the cops on your tail?  It’s incredibly refreshing to hear Tyler, The Creator confess how meaningless the accumulation of cars is.  The wordplay is clever, having every fancy car you dreamed of owning eats away at your ‘drive’ to succeed.

How many raps can I write ’til I get me a chain?
How many chains can I wear ’til I’m considered a slave?

It’s not wrong to rock some bling as Tyler, The Creator demonstrates, but it is tragic when possessions define your value.

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Value of Relationships

The conclusion of “Foreward” is that all the possessions in the world will never satisfy.  If I die, my stuff won’t mourn my passing.

And if I drown and don’t come back
Who’s gonna know? (Maybe then I’ll know)
And if I crash and don’t come back
Who’s gonna know? (Maybe then I’ll know)

If I crash one of my awesome cars and die, nobody will care.  This depressing reality leads to the hunt for a love interest; someone who will care.  In “See You Again,” Tyler, The Creator stops chasing things and pursues love.

20/20, 20/20 vision
Cupid hit me, cupid hit me with precision, I
Wonder if you look both ways
When you cross my mind, I said, I said
I’m sick of, sick of, sick of, sick of chasing
You’re the one that’s always running through my day dreams, I
I can only see your face when I close my eyes

Protect Your Time

Now that we’re madly in love, we have to prioritize our time so it isn’t hijacked or wasted.  “Boredom” advises the lethargic to find something fun to do.  Time is flying by, we can’t stop it – you might as well enjoy it.

When you’re having fun, fun
Time flies, time flies, time flies
When you’re having fun (time flies)
Out the window (it goes, goes, goes)

Inactivity is one way to waste your life but you’ll find plenty of people can distract you from enjoying life.  “I Ain’t Got Time!” emphatically puts critics and naysayers on alert.  Tyler, The Creator will not be wasting his time on fools.

Recommendation

Flower Boy offers substantial food for thought.  Rap fans are fed a steady diet of more, more, more!  It’s only fair to have a voice that explores the limits of consumerism, focuses on loved ones, and values time.  Musically, Flower Boy is catchy and gets better with multiple listens.

The only caution I have for Flower Boy‘s message is the source of salvation.  According to Tyler, The Creator, ultimate fulfillment is found in human relationships; he never mentions Jesus.  This is to be expected since Tyler, The Creator is not a gospel artist.  The best boyfriend or girlfriend cannot save; they only offer limited support and encouragement in this lifetime.  Without Christ, this is the best substitute a lost world can give.

I enjoyed the fight against materialism and loneliness with Tyler, The Creator’s unique sound, and I think rap fans will find his message refreshing too.