Hip Hop Is Evolving, And So Is Tyler, The Creator

Tyler Gregory Okonma won the red carpet at this year’s Grammys — where his fifth and most recent studio album Flower Boy was nominated for Best Rap Album — donning a mixture of high fashion (a Louis Vuitton scarf) and his own fashion (custom Chuck Taylor High-Tops, a collaboration between Le Fleur and Converse), also rocking a baby blue Supreme coat, a traditional Russian ushanka hat, a cheetah print dye job, and accent stained teeth.

Both the peerless look and his institutional recognition represent a dramatic sea change in Tyler, The Creator’s reputation over the last decade since he first landed on the public radar swearing and screaming that he’s “a fuckin’ walkin’ paradox.” At present, Tyler is instead something of a polymath; his various cultural roles include that of a fashion designer, television tycoon, festival producer, budding filmmaker, and most recently, a symbol of hip-hop’s shift in focus towards artists breaking long-upheld boundaries of sexuality and gender identity. It’s a remarkable point for Tyler to reach from a career that began in the shadow of another audacious rapper who never made it that far in his own artistic evolution.

Tyler’s early adoption of Eminem’s ethos may have been as rooted in generational circumstance as personal connection. If you came into adolescence around the turn of the century, there were few artists as strikingly appealing as Eminem. There were few striking artists, period. During his incessant reign at the dawn of the new century, Ja Rule and Nelly were some of the most popular rappers in the country, Nickelback ruined karaoke forever with “How You Remind Me,” and American Idol had just launched the beginning of an unyielding experiment in populist star-breeding. The impression teenagers in the early 2000s had of their predecessors in the ’90s was that of counterculture basement-dwellers making their own rules and launching Nirvana ahead of Michael Jackson on the top of the Billboard charts. And what did our generation have? Boy bands? Mall-pop? Times were dim, and true to his word, pop culture would have felt empty without Em.

Source : https://www.stereogum.com/1980913/hip-hop-is-evolving-and-so-is-tyler-the-creator/franchises/sounding-board/

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