2 Years…

Two years ago Tyler, The Creator thrust himself into the mainstream, jumped on Jimmy Fallon’s back and caused the artist formerly known as Mos Def to viscerally shout, “SWAG! SWAG! SWAG!”

Since then, he’s released one pretty good but uneven solo album, an equally so-so collabo Odd Future album and got tacked onto the end of Channel Orange, the album of the year, as a throw away hidden track.  He’s received no radio traction and has been regulated to nothing more than the random Complex blog post here and there.

What happened?  This guy was suppose to be the future of rap.  In two years he’s only had one hit.  And that’s only if you count popular YouTube videos as hits.  And by that measure what’s the difference between Tyler and Kreayshawn?  Okay, that’s a low blow.  I mean have you heard Somethin’ ‘Bout Kreay?  If you haven’t, don’t.

Tyler is still young.  He’s only 21.  He has a lot of career left.  I even once compared him to a young Eminem (I wasn’t alone).  But after asserting himself as the leader of Odd Future, he’s already lost footing in his own entourage.  Think Vinnie Chase post-Medellin.  He’s been totally eclipsed by Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt may have passed him too.

Was Tyler just a gimmick disguised in cool 5-panel hats and graphic button ups?  Is he a one hit wonder?  Is he little more than a foul mouthed hype man?

I’ll tell you what I think.

I think he’s a good technical rapper who puts together rhyme schemes in an interesting way.  I think he’s a totally underrated producer who strings along catchy abrasive beats.  I think he’s 21 and bereft of any life experience that could fill a full album.  I think he’s hip-hop’s version of punk rock.  I think he has the talent to possibly recapture some of his buzz, but I mostly think he’s done.  A fad, like those 5-panel hats and graphic button ups he’s so smitten with, doomed to a life of tumblr reblogs and little else.

But I’m rooting for him.  Since Eminem stopped being Eminem twelve years ago, rap has been at a loss for a strong anti-hero.  Hip-hop needs an Anti-hero.  Someone hostile, politically incorrect, who gives a big middle finger to the Lou Pearlman and/or Scooter Braun pop machine.  It’s either going to be Tyler or Chief Keef.  For the sake of hip-hop, let’s all hope it’s going to be Tyler.

Frank Ocean – Terminal 5

Sometimes, you go to one of your favorite artist’s shows, and they immensely disappoint (ahem-Drake).  Sometimes, they’re solid.  And sometimes, Frank Ocean absolutely brings the mutherfucking house down.

A few weeks ago, I totally spaced out (like I usually do).  Frank Ocean tickets went on sale, sold out and I, of course, missed them.  Luckily, I got a totally awesome friend who didn’t miss them, and invited me to join her (if you’re reading this THANK-YOU-A-MILLION-TIMES).

The place was buzzing early.  The crowd erupted when Tyler the Creator and Earl Sweatshirt took their places in VIP.  Rumors were swirling around that Jay-Z was in the building.  Some people were counting bagels.  Outside there was a tornado warning (or some type of cataclysmic weather warning), but inside Terminal 5 no one could care less.

Frank hit the stage, and the crowd’s ovation rivaled the thunder outside.  For about, the next hour and a half it was a 3000 person (ages 17-27) sing along.  Everybody fell into a collective unconscious, vibing out HARD, showering Frank with unconditional love.  And he deserved it.  He played everything, everyone wanted to hear (with the notable exception of Pink Matter, but still),  he crooned, he swayed, he didn’t miss a step.  Then he played Pyramids, and everyone lost it (including Tyler).  Then Frank left the stage.  Then the crowd chanted for one more song.  Then Frank delivered.  Then the crowd left.

Breathless.

I’m currently reliving the entire concert via YouTube (big ups to MrsLexiouWesCudi and JornalismNerd).  So, so, so, good.  Too good.  That is all.

No, now, that is all.


Frank Ocean on Jimmy Fallon

Last night, Jimmy Fallon had Frank Ocean (the big brother of Odd Future) on to perform a new track from his debut album.

The last time Jimmy Fallon had an Odd Future affiliate on the show, it is was pretty epic.  This time it was entirely different and still equally more epic, much more epic.

Amazing.  Just Amazing.  I sat at home, watching this alone, in a dark room.  It gave me a lump in my throat.  When it ended I felt like standing up and clapping (and I would have if my parents weren’t sleeping upstairs).

Why such emotion? Was it the awesome vocals?  The extremely well crafted lyrics? The strings in the background?  The squeal at the 3:22 mark?  The headband?  The dope shirt?  The fact that the performance comes on the heels of this?  It’s probably all of these, plus more I just can’t quantify.

Jimmy Fallon literally leans in Frank Ocean’s ear three times to tell him how good he was (the third time got cut out of this video).

If this doesn’t hit you right in the chest, I don’t want to know you.

**Note – Frank Ocean’s debut album is currently steaming on his website.  I’ve already listened to it three times.  I’ll post my official thoughts on the album tomorrow.**