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Tyler, the Creator is a bit of an enigma. He’s been a “walking fucking paradox” long before he gave himself the moniker on “Yonkers”. He’s controversial and has been accused of being homophobic and misogynistic, but he has a huge fan base nonetheless. He’s the co-founder and leader of OFWGKTA and has his own brand, Golf Wang. When asked to describe himself recently, he replied “I’m very bright. I’m smart. I’m annoying and obnoxious. I’m very creative and borderline genius, and I think other people are starting to see that, too.”
Cherry Bomb is his fourth LP and his third official album, following Goblin and Wolf. This latest release marks yet another change in his style; it shows his progress as a producer but is perhaps telling of his lack of growth as a rapper and as a lyricist. Brevity has never been Tyler’s strength either, Cherry Bomb is a solid 54 minutes long. While significantly shorter than its 70 minute-plus predecessors, it’s still incredibly lengthy when compared to other albums, like Earl Sweatshirt’s recent I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside that clocks in at a mere 28 minutes.
If you stream Cherry Bomb on Spotify, you’ll find the “EXPLICIT” label on every single track, which says a lot about Tyler’s style. Despite the expletives, Cherry Bomb is a little bit more chill than Tyler’s earlier work, with some critics even going as far to suggest that it’s a little bit soft. “Soft” is definitely not the word that I would use though; lyrically the album makes it clear that Tyler is still desperately trying to be as controversial as ever.
Cherry Bomb’s opening track “DEATHCAMP” has undeniable N.E.R.D. vibes and crunching, distorted guitar sounds. “SMUCKERS” is one of the most hyped tracks on the album, featuring verses from both Kanye West and Lil’ Wayne. On it, Tyler raps about being banned from New Zealand: “I got banned from New Zealand, whitey called me demon / And a terrorist, God dammit I couldn’t believe it”. Cherry Bomb also features a number of other artists, like Schoolboy Q, Pharrell, Toro Y Moi and Kali Uchis. Interestingly, you won’t find them credited on iTunes or Spotify and Cherry Bomb’s tracklist offers no hint at the extensive guest appearances it features.
Cherry Bomb ultimately marks a change for both Tyler, the Creator and for Odd Future as a whole. They’re no longer a bunch of relatable kids who got lucky—they’re rich, successful and they’re definitely in the big leagues now.