The LA rapper optimises his evolution as an artist on ‘IGOR’, cherry picking the highlights of his last five albums to create something completely outlandish.
Tyler is a tease. Fans go on an emotional rollercoaster whenever speculation arises amidst a new album, and the agonisingly vague promotion for IGOR frustratingly optimises this. Before today, we had only heard snippets of new music to accompany short, hype-generating videos which hinted at the new aesthetic the Odd Future founder was pursuing. The clips of ‘What’s Good’ and ‘New Magic Wand’ suggested Pharell was once again a heavy influence, with Tyler’s distorted vocals and instrumentals sounding like a gentrified version of many tunes on N.E.R.D’s debut ‘In Search Of…’
Yesterday, T put up an insta post ordering us “Don’t go into this expecting any album” - if you were hoping for an LP in the vein of ‘Flowerboy’ you’re going to be very disappointed. What we have though, is a more complete record, one that is consistent and articulates a universe seen from the perspective of an outsider, which Tyler in many ways views himself.
Controversial topics, like his sexual preferences, are rarely addressed, he remains a sucker for young love though and on ‘I Think’, his duet with Kali Uchis paints a blissful, ambient picture of IGOR coming to terms with falling for someone. T samples Bibi Mascel’s ‘Special Lady’, but manipulates the melody into a concoction of distorted, gravelly sonics and velvety synths, an algorithm of sounds that is becoming intrinsic to the LA native’s production. In an elaborate sense, the tune has a similar chord pattern to Kanye West’s ‘Stronger’, whether this was intentional or not is another matter, but the piano progression is unusually comparable.
Ye’s fairly inevitable feature comes on ‘Puppet’, he is credited as a co-writer, but appears as a vocalist too. The beat is sparse and vibrant - Tyler loves playing with the contradictions of love on this album, and here he feels a level of control from the person he fancies “I’m your puppet, you control me” he wines with Mr West over a guitar hook similar to 911//Mr Lonely.
The only song on IGOR worthy of being a single is ‘Earthquake’. Tampering with elements of soul and funk in a more muted manner, it once again touches upon a tale of heartbreak and despair; Blood Orange offers his sleek vocals whilst Playboi Carti’s appearance shows just how expansive HipHop is now. The Atlantan’s goofy mumble rap is the perfect fit for T’s playful production, and it completes an effervescent stand out song.
A personal highlight is definitely ‘New Magic Wand’ - the instrumental is not only outrageously vivacious but incredibly contagious too; it is one of the few instances we hear, real name, Tyler Okonma breaking out into a rap, and it is a reminder of where his true talent lies. The subtle inclusion of Santigold and A$AP Rocky completes a soundscape that collides a thrashing bass riff with an eery ensemble of cackling vocals, screechy guitar work and what sounds like a revving engine.
This Friday we've been treated with too many projects worthy of a review, Tyler's album is definitely the most interesting of the lot though. No one knew what to expect, and frankly I'd be surprised if anyone has come away disappointed from listening to IGOR . As I write this, the musician's ban from the UK has been revoked, and god are we gassed about it. A tour now seems inevitable.