Why Tyler the Creator is a Genius

Hi Class,

As most of you remember the topic of watching Tyler the Creator’s music video to his song Yonkers released in 2011 was brought up this past week in class. Although the content and word choice used by Tyler was too inappropriate to watch in a classroom setting (yes Jamie I agree now after examining the lyrics, by bad,) I would still like to give Tyler’s video some credit via blog post for what I believe to be an amazing performance.

Now, just to give a little background,

  1. Tyler the Creator is a hip hop artist associated with the group Odd Future
  2. Yonkers was released as Tyler’s lead single for his studio album Goblin 
  3. Yonkers was not only self produced by Tyler but he was his own director for the music video
  4. Much controversy was raised with the Yonkers Single
  5. Some people didn’t like the violent lyrics and insults thrown in this single
  6. However, Yonkers was critically acclaimed for it’s genius lyrics
  7. Ironically enough, Tyler was given the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist in 2011
  8. This entire song is a contradiction within itself 

As art students, many of us appreciate symbolism and incorporate it into our own works of art. Tyler is an artist who takes symbolism to another level of amazing. Going back to my eighth background point, each line of Yonkers is a contradiction, creating a deeper message that humans are constantly being hypocritical and doing one thing, yet saying another.

The opening line which I will edit for this post is

“I’m a walking paradox, no I’m not”

I feel like this line needs no explanation in why it’s contradictory, another line at the very end (again edited) states;

I just want to know if my father would ever like me
But I don’t care, so he’s probably just like me

The majority of Yonkers is Tyler dissing other artists like B.O.B, Bruno Mars, and Hayley Williams

Finally, before I post my last line to think about out of this song, think about what a song is. It’s a bunch of lyrics and words spoken, a song is not an act it’s a message and many time an artists opinion. Tyler’s last line in Yonkers is

‘Actions speak louder than words, let me try this, dead’

What do you guys think about Yonkers? Is Tyler genius or are his lyrics derivative?

Food for thought class, food for thought.

Also, if you’re interested check out this Yonkers Tumblr page 



2 thoughts on “Why Tyler the Creator is a Genius

  1. Finally someone is defending Tyler the Creator on his work.

    So much of his music is ironic and satirical purposely. Yes there are points of absurdity, where the descriptive points can get grotesque or just seemingly shock value, but they are all used at a deeper level. I don’t want to go quoting extremely offensive examples, because admittedly they are offensive and obscene. But when one steps back and analyzes the lyrics, a lot of the time, there is humor in them, words placed in certain orders and used in certain ways. Honestly at certain points it’s taking something thats crude and absurd and giving it a witty, intellectual spin on it usually through word play. A lot of his work does have this repeated “contradictory” concept.
    However the other parts of his work that are criticized are his violent songs that include anything about rape or murder. NO ONE IS CONDONING RAPE OR MURDER. Anytime he uses reference to those acts in his work its referential of either telling a story he has written that is meant to induce fear or disgust in the listener, or he is writing about a famous serial killer or something (in hopes of inducing that same fear/and or disgust). It is not any condoning of the actions or events, or even idolizing, its simply to tell a story.
    Tyler’s work is a Dark Offensive Comedy and has a lot of witty intellectualism that can be noticed if one gives it a chance.
    This dissonance is an issue that is universally prevalent through all forms of creative media, musicians, illustrators, painters, poets, anyone. But this piece is a good start to shine light on the situation

    In the words of Tyler The Creator
    “Listen deeper than the music before you put it in a box”

    P.S. sit down and listen to the album “Goblin”
    follow with the lyrics. Its awesome, disturbing, hilarious, everything

  2. I finally watched this. Totally not appropriate for class. I do, however, like your analysis of his work. It would be interesting to compare Tyler’s work to visual artists who have been using shock and pushing the boundaries of what is considered “okay” or “appropriate” for years. Art works like: Shoot, a 1971 performance piece by Chris Burden; Piss Christ, 1987, by Andres Serrano; Gottfried Helnwein’s 1996 painting, Adoration of the Magi; Chris Ofili’s The Holy Virgin Mary; or anything by Zhang Huan, Marina Abramović and Ulay, Mike Smith, and Mike Kelley (Destroy All Monsters). This comparison would make a very interesting paper for an art history class. . .just sayin’

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