An Intimate, Eye-Opening Night With Tyler, the Creator
Better Than: Oprah
Tyler, the Creator lost his virginity at age 17 in his grandmother's bed. Yep. You know that now. But chances are, if you're like the type of Tyler obsessive that bought tickets to the Highline Ballroom's sold out interview between the controversial rapper/designer/video director/provocateur and Elliott "YN" Wilson last night, it's the type of detail you'd relish.
Despite Tyler's assertion from the outset that the packed house was comprised of the "fucking retarded" for having "paid $20 to hear me talk for an hour" the night turned out to be quite an eye opener, an interesting and unique look into one of hip-hop's most inventive minds. Over an hour plus (started at 11:45, went past 1 in the morning) the two talked about [DEEP BREATH] Tyler's new album WOLF, the death of his grandmother, Tyler's beef with Earl Sweatshirt's mother, Facebook, the Art of the Selfie, writer's block, Tyler's new four-story home, women, Frank Ocean's coming out, meeting your idols, Tyler's small/very close family, and Complex, a magazine/website Tyler loathes so much he "hopes all their employees get a new kind of STD" for the "bullshit lists" they come up with. "Like, ummm, 'Top Ten Dicks Nick Cannon Has Sucked' or some dumb shit."
But before the night veered into things Tyler hates, it started out with things he loves -- vinyl records, boxes of Waffle Crisp cereal, bacon -- all of which were thrown onstage as gift offerings as Tyler walked out. (The night's big vinyl score: No Doubt's Hey Baby.) Carrying a carafe of milk when he first walked onstage, Tyler made idle chatter for a few minutes with members of the crowd and stripped his hooded sweatshirt off to reveal a pink and blue tie-dye.
Things settled and the two started talking WOLF, a topic that remained the conversational central ground they came back to throughout the night. Tyler told animated anecdotes about vocal producing his real life musical hero Pharrell for "IFHY" and how he didn't at all try to play it cool upon first meeting his idol. "I fanned the fuck out." He talked about iChatting with Erykah Badu to convince her to sing on "Tree Home," a huge thrill he still can't believe he got to experience. ("Real talk: Baduism is one of my favorite albums of all time.")
Where Tyler's first two albums Bastard and Goblin were both an expression of some wild horror fantasy about rape and murder and other assorted dark subjects that were a topical albatross in the early going ("I've read every book about every serial killer, so that's just what I wrote about") WOLF, he said, is primarily him aping the piano chords and ear for bridges of artists he's long admired-- Stevie Wonder, Isaac Hayes, Ray Charles -- and expressing himself in newer, deeper ways. It was harder than he expected, and early on in the process he says he didn't know what to rap about.