Firstly, prior to commencing this review, let me begin by stating this. Before even listening to this latest gift from the captain of the abrasive and crude Odd Future pirate ship, cast aside any preconceived expectancies. Where both Bastard and Goblin presented Tyler’s ever bold willingness to shove bravado and ill intentions down his avid listeners (and critics) throats, Wolf brings something different to the table, something which many may not fully appreciate.
Of course this is dependent on what your expectancies were when you heard that this was going to be released.
*Excuse me while I turn it up on the hi-fi for a sec*
So lets get to it.
Wolf begins much like its predecessors, with a skit, but thats where similarites end. For anyone who assumed Tyler didn’t possess any form of emotion (or soul for that matter), this should indeed change your mind. Straying away from his usual barrage of extensive and elaborate profanities, he gets off the wacky shenadigans for a while and truly speaks his mind.
Referencing the obsessive fans who prevent him from enjoying theme parks – Colossus, to the night his grandmother passed away – Lone, you can see a somewhat different side of him. Actually, you see a great few sides of him. To be frank you’d be forgiven if you thought he was bi-polar as his pseudonyms increase in number. But I suppose if Beyonce can put on a glittery dress, become Sasha Fierce and then apparently murder her in cold imaginary blood, why can’t Tyler have a love triangle with himself?
Still, the many facets of his persona provides amusement as he raps about his girlfriend Salem who’s been stolen by Wolf. Also theres a guy called Sam? Now from what I understand the events of the album.. sorta, kind of, revolve around a summer camp- obviously only existing in Mr Creator’s head.
Essentially it just feels like Tyler is having his own personal sitcom with himself, which of course is very much interesting to listen to. As I’m writing this, I haven’t heard anyone elses thoughts on the album but I can certainly forsee alot of people throwing a hissy fit about the length given the content which it bears.
At 71 minutes or so I can somewhat understand that as a critic. However I feel you can’t be nitpicky about such a trivial thing given what Tyler is presenting: angst, his forced growth and some feelings wrapped around a middle finger to everyone who won’t leave him alone.
Again referencing the summer camp thing I mentioned earlier, if you bear this concept in mind as you listen, and I know this is going to be a risky thing for me to say. Treat it like a more disjointed and internally cruder version of Bandcamp- Childish Gambino. Don’t be confused though, the attempt at a backdrop is the only similarity.
The next thing I feel worthy of a mention is the production on the album. You can certainly see (or rather hear) that Tyler has grown both as an artist and a producer. I don’t know what others will think about this but I certainly feel a Wu Tang element in terms of the progression with tracks showcasing underlying funk mixed with distinct drum hits and rolls one can only help but now associate with the OF sound. Sharp foreboding synths intermingled with edgy bass and guitar rifts gives the album a unique and interesting weight, you cant avoid rewinding certain songs once they are done, one example is TreeHome95. Another favourite being Awkward but this is probably because it reminds me of something you would have found on Purple Naked Ladies. Assessing lyricism alongside the instrumentals; enjoyment wise you can’t help but nod your head as Tyler drunkenly shuffles across each beat with confident ease, although at times stumbling in terms of direction but never losing the poignancy in his delivery.
The instrumentals can certainly shoulder the burden of what he’s saying every time he steps up, even when it feels as if he is just rambling. Production stability is even more apparent when the rest of the Odd Future team is thrown at you. Domo’s potent lyrcism and energetic but contained delivery on Rusty instantly had me head banging as the bass demanded to be heard.
Earl’s relaxed conversation like delivery equally had me waving my arms about. Now I know everyone will have an opinion on who was the best rapper on this one, but I personally feel it went to Domo (with Earl and Tyler tied for second). No actual competition though, all three are talented and this will certainly be getting constant replays for days to come. In fact I enjoyed all features on this album which is rare as I have an awful tendency of expecting them to typically be filler. I got a sense of Tyler feeding on the energy of his counterparts which in its totality contributed superbly to his overall deliverance on this latest venture. Now excuse me while I set Slater as my ringtone.
Wolf clearly showcases Tyler how I assume he wanted people to see him, a guy with some problems he’d like to get off his chest. You kind of get the sense he misses the days before the fame, before fans male and female alike wanted to ride his nuts. I understand it. I even have a new found respect for him especially after hearing his openess about his grandmother.
My biggest gripe with this album however is its overall fluidity. For me personally as an album its was all over the place in terms of its overarching basis. Perhaps this stood out a lot more to me due to my love for the overall presentation of Good Kid, M.A.A.D City. Additionally, I thoroughly appreciated over the top, shock value abusive Tyler. I enjoyed the look on people’s faces as I pulled up at traffic lights while playing Bastard at full blast. Still there are enough profanities on this album to keep me happy and as mentioned previously, the unique sound has really won me over on this one.
As an overall package I can’t complain. I’d certainly recommend this as a starting point for anyone who has really wanted someone to like Tyler, but couldn’t rationale the reasons for him freely foaming at the mouth about rape and locking white girls in his basement like Joseph Fritzl.
Stand out tracks:- “IFHY” feat. Pharrell. “Pigs”. “Answer” feat. Syd the Kid. “Rusty” feat. Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt. “Lone”
Watch the video for IFHY: