Tyler, The Creator is the latest GQ style cover star, and his Q&A for the magazine is a characteristically unguarded conversation. Now a year removed from his 2017 release Flower Boy, Tyler remains intent on growing as an artist, as he reflects on his past work, eschewing the nostalgia fans hold on to, and watching the gradual evolutions of Kanye West and Eminem. He reveals that he feels his debut project Goblin is “cool,” but feels the follow-up Goblin is “horrible.” He also looks at the legacy of Odd Future‘s alumni, as well as narrowing down why he might never make it to radio.
Read some excerpts from the interview below, and read the whole thing at GQ.
On My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy and gradual musical progression:
I just stopped yelling and stopped saying crazy stuff, honestly. Like, n***as act like “Analog” wasn’t on Goblin. Or I wasn’t wearing tie-dye. Or like the “Yonkers” video, I didn’t have a bunch of chains on, wearing cutoff shorts with this hot-pink button-up tie-dye shirt. And, like, I do think that I’ve progressed in just making perfectly crafted stuff. But a lot of this stuff isn’t too out of character if you really study a artist. Like, I’ll use as an example: Kanye produced a song by Trina and Ludacris called “B R Right.” And in the middle of that song, there’s, like, a bridge. There’s no rap verse, no vocals from Ludacris or Trina, but it’s just a string section and this girl doing an opera-type singing for 16 bars or so. And that’s basically the blueprint for My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. But some people don’t look at things like that, so they’re like, “Oh, my God, this came out of nowhere.” Nah, he’s been trying to perfect that for years, and he finally perfected it with Twisted Fantasy.&
On crying to Kanye:
[W]hen I heard “Violent Crimes.” Those chords, like, fucking—I can’t explain what they do to me. I always talk about chords and probably sound like a fucking dork, but since I was fucking 4 years old, I would always say it was a slant or it went up, ’cause I didn’t know what chords were, but it was a thing that music did that I just felt in my fucking body. And that was the most recent song that did it to me. Like, 1 out of 10, that shit did it a 12, and I just—my eyes just started watering. I couldn’t explain it. I hope when I die it gets explained to me.
I don’t think [Recovery is] bad—it’s just not for me […] The thing with Eminem is he’s the reason I started rapping, still one of my favorite rappers […] I just want to hang out with him and we go to Target for a few days. And go feed some ducks and then, like, listen to some weird fucking German dub-prog-rock-industrial music and then see what we come up with, no strings attached. We don’t have to be rappity-rappity or we don’t have to try to sound like this. Let’s just make. Because, man—I just wanted to rap like Eminem my first two albums.>
On the evolution of Odd Future’s members:
When I made Odd Future, I was onto something. Just the energy that it brought in and the people that came around. We have our Internets now, we have our Earls, we have our Franks, we have our me’s, and I just think that’s really cool. I was just thinking about that the other day. I was listening to some old stuff and I was like: That’s cool.
On how his old music has aged:
Some of it has aged well. Some of it […] I think Goblin is horrible. I think Bastard is cool. The only songs I would keep from Goblin are “Yonkers,” “She,” “Nightmare,” “Tron Cat,” “Fish,” “Analog,” and “Au79.”
On why he feels his voice isn’t cut out for radio:
I hate my voice and I think—it’s not a full thought or theory yet—but I think there are certain voices that can make it into a mainstream world because of the tone that they’re in. People like Jay, ‘Ye, Drake, you know, Kenny. It’s a world that their voice lives in. It’s not too high and squeaky, and it’s not too low and bassy, it’s not too abrasive and raspy. It sits in this space that’s easy listening for humans. And I’m still trying to figure out the science behind it. When I do, I’ll let you know, but I definitely don’t have that voice. And I fucking wish that I did. Stevie Wonder has it, too. It’s a tone that I’m tryna pinpoint. Like, Lloyd Banks was the hardest rapper from G-Unit to me. And you know, he probably didn’t have the same charisma and blah, blah, blah.
On his disdain for nostalgia:
I mean, nostalgia is the worst thing of all time. We get attached to things. Like, again, some people can’t grasp the concept of change. Which is crazy. If you ask someone, “Hey, what was your favorite food when you were 5? What was your favorite thing to do? Okay, you’re 13 now, why don’t you do it anymore?” and they’re like, “What do you mean? I was 5.” They can’t grasp that same concept from when I was 19, and this was all new, to when I’m 27.