Since gaining notoriety on the Internet in the early 2010s, Tyler, the creator has shown a very consistent and constant maturation in both his music and his public personality. Early in his career, Tyler languished in a culture of shock. He filled his first two albums – “Bastard” from 2009 and “Goblin” from 2011 – with threats and insults, dubbing his troublemaker character whenever he was in front of a camera. He was surprisingly chaotic and outspoken, while managing to be charming at the same time. It was as if someone had given Eminem a Twitter account during the Marshall Mathers LP years.
Over time, Tyler opened up. He maintained his general air of affability, but let go of the callous internet troll persona he had built around himself, culminating in ‘IGOR’ of 2019, a gentle meditation on grief and self-acceptance. .
Tyler’s latest offering, “CALL ME IF YOU LOSE YOURSELF,” looks back on his career through the story of a world traveler who falls in love with his friend’s girlfriend. However, where Tyler’s last two albums explored a sound inspired by pop music, “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” takes the form of a Gangsta Grillz mixtape – with DJ Drama appearances on almost every song. By choosing to revisit the format of the internet mixtape, Tyler brings his rap back to the forefront of his music, while paying homage to Gangsta Grillz icons such as Lil Wayne, Gucci Mane and of course. Pharrell.
Those who do not know DJ Drama and his long The Gangsta Grillz mixtape series is likely to find its presence on the album shocking on first listen. Much like DJ Khaled, who made his debut alongside Drama in the late 90s and early 2000s, Drama’s main role in any of his projects is providing adlibs, speaking of l central artist. It’s a wacky concept, but Drama’s enthusiasm is contagious.
During the opening of the album “SIR BAUDELAIRE”, he appears to offer interjections such as “Welcome to the disco” and “See, while you were all in the house we were taking Rolls Royces to go see alligators “. On “HOT WIND BLOWS”, one can’t help but smile as DJ Drama describes a scene where he is on a yacht in Switzerland, fed on French vanilla ice cream. At no point is DJ Drama an unwelcome presence. His light taunts serve as an excellent nod to Tyler’s stone-faced swagger, providing the album with bubbling moments of humor and levity.
From a production standpoint, “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” feels like a collection of unreleased songs by Tyler, pulled out of the vault and reassembled for a more mature and avant-garde sound. The song “MASSA” begins with growling synths, snapping snares and weird midi keys, the basic ingredients of the sound Tyler cultivated on “Goblin”. However, around two minutes, electronic melodies begin to open up the instrumental, like a ray of sunshine breathing life into a dark basement. The track “SWEET / I THINTH YOU WANTED TO DANCE” also mixes sound elements used throughout Tyler’s career (albeit a bit more literally), as it features lyrical and musical interpolations of past songs, “F ** KING YOUNG / PERFECT “,” GONE, GONE / MERCI “and” I don’t have time “. The first part of the song is dripping with post-Charlie Wilson funk and features slow, swinging drums reminiscent of early 2000s R&B from which “IGOR” draws its sound.
“CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” reinforces a litany of appearances outside of DJ Drama. Interestingly, the track “JUGGERNAUT” contains the strongest and weakest characteristics of the album in the form of Lil Uzi Vert and Pharrell respectively. Uzi throws himself head first into the instrumental that makes the song’s chest vibrate, delivering a dazzling verse with inventive flows and a young and dynamic charisma. It was a defining moment on the album, unfairly tarnished by Pharrell’s lazy performance afterwards. It drops lyrical duds such as “I throw them like you run in crampons” while its choppy delivery sounds awkward and unusually amateurish. That said, Uzi is not without competition for the title of “best feature film.”
On “WUSYANAME” NBA YoungBoy provides a haunting soul voice and Lil Wayne appears on “HOT WIND BLOWS” with one of his best feature films since Solange’s “Mad”. As Wayne was arguably the defining artist of the Gangsta Grillz series and the golden era of the mixtape as a whole, he’s a welcome presence on the album and crams some of the project’s most memorable bars with lines like “Wind under my wings, desert eagle under my cloak.”
When it comes to Tyler’s rap, “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” offers a mixed bag. “WUSYANAME” sees him rapping deftly with sweet sincerity without sounding cheesy or mundane, while “MASSA” details a deeply personal look at his life as a closed bisexual man early in his career, declaring “tug of war with X and It was like a custody battle.
At their best, Tyler’s lyrics are witty, personal, and unorthodox. However, many of Tyler’s attempts at a more casual, punchline-heavy style fall flat, with the main offenders being “I love when she lets me rub her like Michelin” and “Nobody lies, hakuna matata”. In fact, the album’s biggest weakness comes in the form of the nine-minute “WILSHIRE”, where Tyler explicitly tells the story of falling in love with a girl who was dating his friend. While the story Tyler tells here is central to the album’s larger narrative, the song is littered with awkward bars and moments of emotional turmoil that seem mundane when observed up close (“I’ve got it all. that I want close at hand except you ”). That said, Tyler’s lyricism never wavers for too long, and his raw charisma is often enough to bring the listener back after a clunky line or two.
On “CALL ME IF YOU LOSE YOURSELF”, Tyler, the creator Return to his rap roots with open arms, and creates an album that celebrates the genre while detailing the personal growth his success as a rapper has brought him. It’s a simple project, filled with references to hip-hop from the late 2000s and early 2010s, which influenced his early work. Through the 16 tracks on the album, Tyler looks back on his 12 years in the spotlight, while maintaining his place as one of rap’s most avant-garde figures.