As the mouthpiece and figurehead of OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All), a Los Angeles based hip hop outfit, Tyler the Creator has faced down an especially large amount of expectation surrounding his first major-label release. What started as bored teenagers posting mixtapes online for free download has spiralled into a whirlwind of hype culminating in the group of artists and producers adorning magazine covers, ripping up stages to Tyler’s much hyped second album entitled Goblin.
Goblin is just as deranged and twisted as Tyler’s debut. Moreover, it’s every bit as exceptionally brilliant. The content is as disturbing as listeners might expect, and then some. If you are able to overcome his debased musings (the album is awash in misogyny and homophobic slurs), it’s impossible not to be astounded by Goblin. The material paints some truly dark and troubled visuals.
Goblin plays out in exchanges of dialogue between Tyler and his fictional therapist, whom is voiced by Tyler. Tyler is eerily hypnotising from beginning to end.
There are arguments for and against Tyler’s mind and foul mouth, but once the language barrier is broken and ears become oblivious, the real brilliance of Goblin shows itself. It is in Tyler’s flows, his intricately woven internal rhymes, storytelling, and rhythmically changing speech patterns. His delivery is melodious that plays like poetry against the self-produced harsh and raw back tracks and loops. Goblin sticks to the lo-fi style sound that his debut was famed for but shows more refined musicianship.
Yonkers, the album’s second, and most successful, single, that brought about Tyler’s mainstream popularity, consists of a repetitive 2 note bassline fusing choppy synths and sonorous bass drones with a haunting piano repetition. These synths seem specially made to nurture the necessary volume of tension, menace and impact. Yonkers was somewhat controversial stemming from a violent insults aimed at fellow rapper B.o.B and singers Bruno Mars and Hayley Williams.
Track 3, Radical, is most notable for its cultist-like chorus, in which the rapper chants, “Kill people, burn shit, f*ck school”. Certainly ranking this among hip hop music’s most provocative expressions of all time.
Goblin can be seen as old school for a new era, an impassioned and much needed escape from the vast banalities of radio friendly and clichéd rap.
Magnetic in the same way one might stare at a dead body, Goblin is a masterpiece for those capable of stomaching it.