By Erin Stafford
Distinctive rapper Tyler, the Creator produces the most confrontational and emotional album of his career with “IGOR.” Tyler has always been one of the rap industry’s most experimental and unusual artists, defining his older sound with filthiness and angrily said lyrics. However, Tyler’s sound was cleaned up by his honey-colored “Flower Boy,” which preceded “IGOR.” On “IGOR,” Tyler produces a perfect harmony between his older, grittier sound and his most recent, smooth sound.
“Don’t go into this expecting a rap album. Don’t go into this expecting any album. Just go jump into it,” says Tyler, already giving fans the impression that “IGOR” is unlike anything else he’s written before. “Go on some walks, [go on] some drive, [go] lay in bed and sponge it all up.”
In its purest form, “IGOR” is an emotionally charged breakup album. It is arranged, produced and written by Tyler himself, making it even more personal. Although the album is only about Tyler’s experience, it contains features by Lil Uzi Vert, Playboi Carti, Solange and Kanye West. Implementing these iconic hip-hop artists seasons “IGOR” with just the right amount of artistry to put it over the top, but still doesn’t take away from the confessional work of Tyler himself.
“IGOR” goes through the motions of breaking up, grieving over losing someone you love, and finally accepting that you’ll never get that kind of relationship back. As Tyler goes between feelings of denial and acceptance, the contrast of the upbeat background music allows listeners to grasp that Tyler is content in being unsettled, which is a first for him. On “EARFQUAKE,” Tyler pleads for his ex not to break off their relationship. “Don’t leave, it’s my fault/cause when it all comes crashing down I need you.” Tyler admittedly reveals that although his relationship is flawed, he still needs his ex there for him. The relatability of “IGOR” really comes into play here in the beginning as Tyler opens up about how he doesn’t want to be abandoned, which is something that people going through a non-mutual breakup are very familiar with.
As “IGOR” progresses, Tyler slowly begins to accept that his relationship will not be repaired. “You never lived in your truth, but I found peace, so peace,” says Tyler on “GONE GONE, THANK YOU.” Tyler still wants his ex to find satisfaction, even if he’s not the cause of it. Sequentially, the album finally ends in a state of calm uncertainty as Tyler tries to keep his ex in his life in a different way with “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?” where he continuously asks his ex if they can still talk, but just as friends.
Though “IGOR” is an album about processing heartbreak, it is also one of self-exploration. Tyler opens up to his listeners for the first time, leaving fans with a sort of raw emotion that should be bottled up and opened only when one wants to get high on happiness and sadness at the same time. It is Tyler’s most complex album yet, both lyrically and musically.