Flower Boy by Tyler the Creator, via Columbia Records
“That was so nerve-racking, the first time doing that song. I didn’t know if y’all knew the lyrics,” said Tyler the Creator, upon opening his Panorama set this past summer with “Where This Flower Blooms”, one of the crowning jewels of Flower Boy. Little did Tyler know that we did know every word, no less than an hour or two after our first listen, as it’s a record that came to define a summer, as well as the months following it. “Tell these black kids they can be who they are,” he raps on the track, “Dye your hair blue, shit, I’ll do it too.” With a little help from friends Frank Ocean, Kali Uchis, Estelle, Steve Lacy (!!!!!!), A$AP Rocky, and many more that are impossible to name without sitting here for a couple hours, Tyler managed to conduct what Pitchfork so rightfully deemed as his “most sincere and accomplished album that gets to the essence of what he’s been chiseling at: the angst of a missed connection, the pain of unrequited love, and navigating youthful ennui.”
On what I consider to be the record’s finest accomplishment, “911 / Mr. Lonely” shows a side of Tyler that onlookers often wondered when it’d come – a serious lamenting on lost love, made all the more perfect by contributions by the ones and only Ocean and Lacy. It’s a song split in two halves, but only complete with the other. Flower Boy closes out with “Enjoy Right Now, Today”, a smooth and hopeful near-instrumental that leaves you with only it’s title to remember it by, as we are assured that this is only the beginning of Tyler’s embarking of self-discovery as well as his most mature work to date.