Tyler, the Creator (Failed Gig Review)
This post was supposed to be a gig review of Tyler playing his debut show at the Limelight in Belfast near the end of August. But, alas, the show was cancelled “due to circumstances” the day before, as with his other shows in the U.K. There’s a whole gang of reasons it could have been cancelled but according to Tyler, it was “…legit not possible”. After a few days it transpired that Tyler was subject to a ban on performing in the U.K. for three to five years per letter by the secretary of state. The letter calls into question, lyrics which Tyler wrote nearly seven years ago that are deemed as glorifying and inciting questionable behaviour. The best analysis of the situation comes in the form of a statement his manager released outlining,
You can read the statement and form your own opinion. Personally, I can’t see the justification for chastising an artist based on old content. Although controversial and perhaps, expressing an alter ego, after such a period of time, having allowed them access to their fanbase previously, cutting that artist off is seemingly a suppression of creativity and ultimately a form of censorship.
On a side note, one of those venues in Dublin hosting this type of show closed down last month, The Twisted Pepper, which has seen the likes of Freddie Gibbs, Action Bronson and Shabazz Palaces play in the past few years. Hopefully another venue will pick up the baton and perhaps, someone in Belfast will do the same. Anyway, the article below is simply "putting on" Tyler for those who don’t know much about him, but I’d say it’d be good for any creatives looking for ways to diversify their practices. Read on if you fancy that.
After much disappointment, my friends and I decided to get inebriated anyway and have a good time in a few of Belfast’s fine establishments. Waking up, on Wednesday morning, after getting over the sense of impending death, I thought a little more on the show cancellation. For the rest of the U.K. perhaps, not such a big deal. But for Belfast, we are sorely deprived of rap and hip hop shows. Most acts for whatever reason don’t play here, maybe they don’t want to or maybe promoters simply aren’t booking them. I feel there would most certainly be a demand, as exemplified by Tyler’s show selling out so quickly, but for now, it looks like occasionally heading to Dublin, London or Birmingham is the answer.
Like him or not, Tyler, the Creator simply put, doesn’t give a fuck, unless you ban him from your country, of course. His lyricism spanning across his four LPs is a testament to that, compounded by the riotous frenzy-like behaviour he incites at his gigs. He curates an experience. Not giving a fuck is certainly an envious quality to have, and when you pair it with the fact he possesses unbounding talent, which has afforded him the opportunity to do much more than just music, it’s pretty admirable too.
Tyler’s really nailed the whole lifestyle branding thing on the head in quite a paradoxical way. He’s a business man and a prankster all at once. When he’s not bouncing around on stage, encouraging viewers to scream “Fuck that!” and “Golf Wang!”, you’ll find him collaborating with brands such as Vans, his recent effort being the third in as many years. Beyond that, he’s launched his own app, Golf Media, has a TV show, Loiter Squad on Adult Swim and even hosts a yearly carnival/ festival situation, Camp Flog Gnaw.
The strength of Tyler’s work and creative vision is present across all of these platforms and perhaps, visually, most of all in his clothing line, Golf Wang Apparel, a play on Wolf Gang. (Tyler’s a big fan of fucking with words). Bold patterns and colours are mashed together creating something trashy and adolescent, but ultimately unique. Tyler’s distaste for fashion, as an industry, actually makes for a great business somehow, once being quoted as saying “..that shit is disgusting”.
Behind all the profanity and contentious lyricism, however, there’s some great music to be heard. The production on his recent LP, Cherry Bomb is spectacular. Tyler has an ear for chaotically splicing things together that shouldn’t really sound good, but they do. A juxtaposition of the divine and the horrid seeps into every track in some way, whether through humourous parody skits meeting poignant lyricism or pounding bass and synths clashing with pleasant keys and strings. Tyler's playfully pompous description of himself is pretty on point too, stating,
Hilariously egotistical statement, or not, the bulk of it is true, and I think for anyone who wants to try their hand at multiple disciplines, Tyler shows that if you are steadfast in realising your vision and work hard, you can pretty much achieve anything. Stream or buy Cherry Bomb online now and check out his other work at www.golfwang.com.