Though T believes he’s “four for four” with album releases Cherry Bomb, his third official release, is not looked at fondly by some fans.
According to some critics it suffered from being jarring, jumbled and doesn’t really have a through line.
Though there’s a film motif with the character traveling to see a movie the sonics can clash at times.
I don’t own a movie theater but my last album was about going to this movie theater that I wished to own and maybe that’s me, deep down inside, inside just throwing that in the universe so hopefully I own a theater like that. – Tyler, the Creator, HIPHOPLE Interview
Flower Boy has beautiful transitions and pleasing instruments and laid vocals but there are moments in Cherry Bomb like its title track that is awfully mixed, on purpose to the point the words are intelligible.
Tyler himself described it about being more about feeling, that it was similar to when he’s in moshpits at concerts.
With Cherry Bomb he hit a block because he had no desire to rap on the album which is blatant when much care is brought to the beautiful Hans Zimmer string sections on 2 Seater and the Roy Ayers collaboration Find Your Wings versus the bursts of raps.
The lyricism itself isn’t bad but he had to be creative to get himself to rap.
With Flower Boy he perfected what he did on Cherry Bomb.
Similar to Eminem’s Relapse Tyler evokes different voices and accents when he’s rapping.
He’s slurring his words before Schoolboy Q comes in with his verse on TBSoDL Part 6-12 (Remix).
It works with the energy of the record.
And since he established this with the last record it wasn’t as jarring as the jump from Wolf to Cherry Bomb.
I use to hate my voice cause it was too deep & I didn’t sound like I wanted to…I fuck with my voice, its distinct. But it’s hard to sing though. The voice that I write in aren’t for my voice, sometimes I’ll pitch it up because it sounds better to me & that’s how I want people to hear it. – Tyler, the Creator, HIPHOPLE Interview
With Flower Boy, Tyler played with voice which helped him with this same problem but lyrically he had improved massively from the last record.
Instead of continuing a disdain of rapping he embraced it creatively from fully singing on the intro to Garden Shed and the accent he uses on I Ain’t Got Time.
But this time when he uses accents and changes flows it works with Cherry Bomb times when he’d pitch up the vocals it would be distracting which fans expressed after not being able to under Pharrell’s verse on Keep The O’s.
On Flower Boy this was the most personal I’ve heard Tyler on record.
He’s talked about his relationship with his father on songs like Answer & there are songs about unrequited love on IFHY both on Flower Boy he went in more depth about the past year of his life including his connection with his good friend who he calls Grape.
For Cherry Bomb I purposefully was like “I didn’t want to get personal at all” I’m just gonna make songs, they were all just songs and in this one I was like let me write down every feelings to the [song] options.
A lot of them were just questions, just asking questions.
“How am I feeling today?”
“What if I go poor again?” And that’s how a lot of the songs happened, me just answering these questions – Tyler, the Creator, Flower Boy: A Conversation
Honestly I wanted an Open Letter of sorts, similar to Frank Ocean’s Tumblr post, where T was honest with his feelings and fully confessed his sexual identity.
Selfishly I wanted as a fan to experience that moment.
One of the first mainstream rappers who came out and is still respected in his field.
I was annoyed with even some fans being skeptical because of his reputation as a troll or a goofball.
The fact that he was so vulnerable in his music was astonishing to me and so beautiful I assumed everyone celebrated what we were hearing.
But I heard about a Frank Ocean quote from a GQ article that I feel works perfectly here.
“I’ll respectfully say that life is dynamic and comes along with dynamic experiences, and the same sentiment that I have towards genres of music, I have towards a lot of labels and boxes and shit.
I’m in this business to be creative-I’ll even diminish it and say to be a content provider.
One of the pieces of content that I’m for fuck sure not giving is porn videos. I’m not a centerfold.
I’m not trying to sell you sex.
People should pay attention to that in the letter: I didn’t need to label it for it to have impact.
Because people realize everything that I say is so relatable, because when you’re talking about romantic love, both sides in all scenarios feel the same shit.
As a writer, as a creator, I’m giving you my experiences.
But just take what I give you.
You ain’t got to pry beyond that. I’m giving you what I feel like you can feel.
The other shit, you can’t feel.
You can’t feel a box. You can’t feel a label. Don’t get caught up in that shit.
There’s so much something in life. Don’t get caught up in the nothing. That shit is nothing, you know? It’s nothing. Vanish the fear.”
This album is one of the records where you can turn it on and play it all the way through.
The songs blend right into each other and the theme of gardens is all throughout the album from Dropping Seeds with Lil Wayne to Garden Shed featuring Estelle.
If you haven’t heard it you need to check it out.
It was placed #2 on Billboard even after the album leaked two weeks before his release date and has now been certified Gold along with being nominated for Best Rap Album at this past Grammy’s.