Tyler’s “Earfquake” and IGOR

Tyler, the Creator | photo by Sam Rock

One of the things I love most about seeing creatives at work and in their element is their freedom. When an artist—especially a performing musician—is really in their bag, it’s beautiful. Look at the video for Tyler, the Creator’s “Earfquake.”

What the fuck is this? In it he stars as a ‘60s-era singer rocking on a late nite show. He’s wearing a blond bowl cut wig and towards the end of the short, he flicks a cigarette away from his piano, which eventually burns down the set. It makes no sense. There’s no narrative. I don’t know if the piece (one that spends its first minute locked in on a hilarious interaction between host Tracee Ellis Ross and Tyler) means anything at all. But damn, it’s good.

The way he ticks on beat at the 2:20 mark. The smog and gunk on his sky blue boxy suit. The faint into the arms fire fighters. The flames raging behind him as he sings in front.

*Chef’s kiss*

The shit is gorgeous.

Similar to the IGOR album this song comes from, the “Earfquake” video seems to come from the magical land of No Fucks. Most of us only vacation there when we’re in the shower and the house is empty. It’s a place I wish we all lived, where its natives create stuff that comes from their hearts and act accordingly. It doesn’t matter if your voice sounds like Whitney Houston’s or the garbage disposal in your kitchen, if you dance like Michael Jackson or Elaine Benes. You just sing, because that’s how you feel.

In turn, I’m feeling this wave Tyler’s on.

Tyler Finally Had a Flower Boy Talk

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For about three collective months last year, I was in talks with Tyler, the Creator’s publicity team, wondering why he hadn’t any substantial press to promote his latest album, Flower Boy. For those that have heard it (and maybe love it as much as I do), it kind of begs for an interview with its star.

Is he depressed? Does Tyler need a hug and a girlfriend? I really wanted to talk about how he made sadness and unnerving pensiveness sound so colorful. I danced like crazy to “911 / Mr. Lonely” when he performed it at Camp Flog Gnaw in the fall.

Though his team appreciated my intrigue and the various ideas (video treatments for a documentary short, blends of illustrations and photography for artwork…), they kindly always passed. Apparently, T wanted to let the music speak for itself and opted not to go through traditional media to talk about it. Fair enough.

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All of that is to say I was pleasantly surprised when this interview between Tyler and comedian Jerrod Carmichael popped up today. Clearly they’re buds. It’s an hour’s worth of free-flowing convo about just about everything I wanted to talk about. The pair nerds out on Stevie Wonder and Musiq, the creative process of Flower Boy and more. Plus, it looks good. A simple dusty field backdrop and tight camera zooms made for quality visuals. Pretty dope. I’ll catch Tyler another time. Enjoy this in the meantime.

Happy Birthday, ‘In My Mind’

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I WAS 15 ATTENDING SUMMER SCHOOL AT HAWTHORNE HIGH, SPENDING MOST OF MY NIGHTS TRYING TO FIND ANY SNIPPETS OF THE ALBUM ON VARIOUS GERMAN SITES. THEN 7/25/06 CAME. IMM RANGES IN DIFFERENT STYLES AND SOUNDS AND I BELIEVE THATS WHY I GRAVITATED TO IT SO MUCH. THE UPRIGHT BASSLINE ON "CAN I HAVE IT LIKE THAT" OR THE BUCKETS ON "HOW DOES IT FEEL". OFF THE WALL MJ ON "NUMBER 1". I STILL TO THIS DAY DONT THINK I CAN MAKE A SONG BETTER THAN "THAT GIRL". AND "I REALLY LIKE YOU GIRL" IS EASILY THE BEST SONG ON THIS ALBUM WITH YOUR BEST TIMBERLAKE IMPERSONATION AND STEVIE HARMONICA. IMM ALSO INCLUDES "RASPY SHIT" WHICH IS THE WORST SONG IN YOUR DISCOGRAPHY I HATE THAT SONG SO MUCH YOU ARE SO GROSS FOR THAT. BUT THE ONE THAT STOOD OUT WAS "YOU CAN DO IT TOO". THE SADE BASSLINE, THE STRING PAD WITH CHORDS THAT YOU CLAIM ONLY Q-TIP, YOU AND I LIKE, THE JAMIE CULLUM OUTRO! BEING 15 BLACK NOT REALLY "INTERESTED" IN WHAT THE MAJORITY OF MY PEERS WERE INTO, IT MADE ME FEEL SAFE. I WAS OPTIMISTIC, ALWAYS DAYDREAMING AND SETTING GOALS SO I FELT YOU WERE DIRECTLY SPEAKING TO ME. I REMEMBER CLANCY TELLING ME HOW JIMMY IOVINE THOUGHT THIS ALBUM WAS A "COMPLETE FUCKING FAILURE IT DIDNT WORK". BUT SEE, IT DID, JUST NOT ON THE KIDS HE WAS LOOKING AT. THE ONES WHO JUST EXISTED;USED THE POPULAR SLANG;LISTENED TO WHAT WAS THROWN AT THEM;DRESSED IN CLOTHING THAT WAS TRENDING AT THE TIME. NOT SAYING THATS BAD BUT OF COURSE THIS WOULDNT WORK ON THEM. BUT IT WORKED ON ME AND I CREATED ODD FUTURE THAT SAME SUMMER. I WAS ACTUALLY NAIVE ENOUGH TO BELIEVE YOU AND THOUGHT I COULD DO ALL THESE AMAZING THINGS IF I REALLY TRIED. WHERE I GREW UP, NIGGAS GET STUCK AND NEVER MAKE IT OUT. JAIL, DEAD, SHIT JOBS, NOT REALLY GROWING. IT SEEMS LIKE AT A CERTAIN AGE, IDEAS; ORIGINAL THOUGHTS ARE NO LONGER A THING; I DIDNT FALL INTO THAT CYCLE. I'M NOW A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR ALL BECAUSE I BELIEVED YOU WHEN YOU SAID I COULD BE. YOU WERE THE FIRST PERSON I CONTACTED WHEN I PULLED OFF THAT MCLAREN DEALERSHIP! THIS IS GETTING LONG SO UHHH, HBD IMM. I NEVER HAD BROTHERS,UNCLES OR MY FATHER AROUND SO THANK YOU FOR BEING THE MALE FIGURE I GRAVITATED TO. ALLOWING ME TO EMBRACE BEING DIFFERENT AND TRUSTING MY IDEAS ❤️

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I remember riding around in my hand-me-down Saab with the windows down and bumping In My Mind before and after work at Target.

How sweet is this note Tyler, the Creator wrote? I’ve seen and read Pharrell talk about how much he doesn’t like IMM anymore, because it’s a version of himself he’s since grown out of. Still, though, this thing had some jammies. “That Girl” is kind of perfect.