Who Dat Boy? It’s Tyler, the Creator!

Staff Writer: Hannah Johnson  

Tyler Gregory Okonma born March 6, 1991, better known as Tyler, the Creator, is an American rapper, record producer, and music video director. He rose to prominence as the leader and co-founder of the alternative hip hop collective Odd Future and has rapped on and produced songs for nearly every Odd Future release. Okonma creates all the artwork for the group’s releases and designs the group’s clothing and other merchandise. 

After releasing his debut album Goblin under XL Recordings in April 2011, Okonma signed a joint venture deal for him and his label Odd Future Records, with RED Distribution and Sony Music Entertainment.  Following that he released his second studio album Wolf, which was met with generally positive reviews and debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 selling 90,000 copies in its first week. “I never liked any sort of hip hop, rap or pop music when I was younger. That is, until I was introduced to Tyler’s music. It was so unique and creative that I surrendered!”- Josh Adams, junior at Cherokee high school. 

In 2011, Okonma started the clothing company Golf Wang, and in 2012, he began hosting an annual music festival named the Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival. He runs his own streaming service named Golf Media; it contains original scripted series from Okonma himself and the Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival is annually streamed there. 

On December 25, 2009, Okonma self-released his first mixtape, Bastard. The mixtape was eventually ranked 32nd on Pitchfork Media’s list of the Top Albums of 2010. On February 11, 2011, Okonma released the music video for “Yonkers”, the first single from his first album, Goblin, which was released May 10, 2011.The video has received attention from several online media outlets. An extended version with a third verse can be purchased on iTunes. “Yonkers has to be one of the weirdest videos I have ever seen. I mean… the man eats an actual roach. I’ve even heard that he ate an actual bug! Man, he sure is dedicated.”- Matthew Anderson, music and meme enthusiast. 

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Former group “Odd Future” for short, performing on stage and giving their audience not only a show, but an experience.

 

After the release of “Yonkers”, Okonma announced that he had signed a one-album deal with XL Recordings. Okonma and fellow Odd Future member Hodgy Beats made their television debut on February 16, 2011 when they performed “Sandwitches” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. On March 16, Okonma and Hodgy performed “Yonkers” and “Sandwitches” on the 2011 mtvU Woodie Awards, being joined by other members of Odd Future during “Sandwitches”. Goblin was released on May 10, 2011. During an interview with Okonma for Interview, Waka Flocka Flame expressed his interest in collaborating with the Odd Future frontman to direct a music video for him. 

Okonma first mentioned the album in early 2010 saying that he would have an album titled Wolf. In early 2011 he told fans through his Form spring account that his third album would be called Wolf and it was scheduled to be released in May 2012. The album continued Okonma’s sessions with his fictional therapist, Dr. TC, as hinted by the title track on his mixtape, Bastard, in which Dr. TC says “this is the first of three sessions…” Okonma’s second album Wolf, released on April 2, 2013, contains the instrumentals that Okonma has been making since the age of 15. In August 2011, Okonma said that the album will be more focused on beats and have less rapping. 

During the time fans have been in waiting for Wolf, Okonma performed several guest verses for other artists, notably “Trouble on My Mind” by GOOD Music artist Pusha T, “Martians vs. Goblins by Game also featuring Lil Wayne, “I’ma Hata” by DJ Drama also featuring Waka Flocka Flame and D-Bo, the title track from fellow Odd Future member Domo Genesis’ collaboration album with The Alchemist, No Idols, andBlossom & Burn by Trash as well as Talk (also featuring Hodgy Beats). Okonma also co-produced the song “666” from Mellow Hype’s third album Numbers, which featured Mike G. Okonma won Best New Artist for “Yonkers” at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards In an interview with DJ Semtex, he confirmed that he will handle all the production on his upcoming album, except one song produced by Left Brain. This was how the production on Goblin was dealt with. 

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Tyler giving a goofy face for the camera. This shows off his humorous personality. 

 

On April 9, 2015, Okonma released a new song entitled “F****** Young” to the official OFWGKTA YouTube page along with a music video and short preview of another song entitled “Deathcamp”. Okonma announced the same day that the songs will be featured on an upcoming album entitled Cherry Bomb due for release on April 13, 2015. Okonma announced via his Twitter account that the album would feature Charlie Wilson, Chaz Bundick and Cole Alexander from Black Lips. Two days later, Okonma performed the songs “Fucking Young” and “Deathcamp” for the first time at Coachella music festival. During the set, Okonma notably criticized VIP members in the audience, of which many were celebrities, for their lack of enthusiasm. 

Okonma’s third album Cherry Bomb was released digitally on April 13, 2015, through Okonma’s own label Odd Future Records, with physical copies of the album, featuring five different album covers, set to be released on April 28, 2015. The album features performances from notable artists such as Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Schoolboy Q.  The album will be supported with a world tour through North America, Europe and Asia, beginning at Coachella music festival on April 11, 2015 and ending in Tokyo, Japan in September 2015. Okonma cancelled the Australian leg of his Cherry Bomb World Tour following a campaign by the grassroots organization Collective Shout against the portrayal of women in his music. 

On August 26, 2015, Okonma revealed that he had been banned from visiting the United Kingdom for three to five years, which forced him to cancel a string of tour dates supporting the Cherry Bomb album including the Reading and Leeds Festivals. The reason for the ban comes from lyrics dating back to 2009, as well as the content on his first two albums, Goblin and Bastard. His manager Christian Clancy said they were informed of the ban via a letter from then-Home Secretary Theresa May. May cited lyrics from the album Bastard as the reason for the ban though Okonma had toured multiple times in the UK since its release in 2009. Okonma later claimed that he felt he had been treated “like a terrorist” and implied that the ban was racially motivated, stating that “they did not like the fact that their children were idolizing black man”. On April 8, 2017, R&B artist Frank Ocean released a song titled “Biking” on his Beats One radio station “blonded RADIO”, which features both Tyler, the Creator and Jay Z, and eight days later it was announced Okonma would write, produce, and perform the theme song for scientist Bill Nye’s new show, Bill Nye Saves the World. 

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Riding around on his low riding bike seems to be one of Tyler’s favorite things to do other than music!

 

On June 28, the trailer for Okonma’s TV show, titled Nuts + Bolts premiered on Viceland. The show focuses on things Tyler, the Creator finds interesting or is passionate about, and explains how they are created. The series premiered on August 3, 2017. 

On June 29, 2017, Okonma released a song titled “Who Dat Boy” featuring ASAP Rocky on a new YouTube channel following many promotional countdown posts on his social media accounts. Later that night, he released the song on streaming services with a new song titled “911 / Mr. Lonely” featuring Steve Lacy, Frank Ocean, and Anna of the North. On July 6, 2017, he announced the name, track-list and release date of his fourth album, Flower Boy, which was released on July 21, 2017. “I loved his latest album so much! It has a really chill sound that you can sit back and relax to.”- Jessica Reid, Sophomore at Woodstock highschool. 

Several singles were released following up to the album’s release date, including “Boredom” and “I Ain’t Got Time!”. The album was released over iTunes, Spotify, and other major music services at 9 P.M. on July 20, or Midnight EST on July 21 On September 14, 2017, Tyler, the Creator announced his third TV show to date, The Jellies. It premiered on October 22, 2017. 

On November 28, 2017, Flower Boy was nominated for Best Rap Album at the 60th Annual Grammy Awards, (giving Tyler his second Grammy nomination after contributing to 2013 Album of the Year nominee Channel Orange), butas beat out by the Kendrick Lamar album Damn. 

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Even Tyler friends love to perform with him and give the audience a reason to stay dedicated.

 

On March 29, 2018, Okonma released “Okra”. Okonma referred to it as a “throwaway song”, stating that it was not going to be included on any upcoming album, and was not an indication of the sound any future projects. 

*All photos are from Creative Commons*

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