Tyler, the Creator, the leader, artistic brains, producer, and mastermind behind the Odd Futre Wolf Gang Kill Them All hip hop collective (usually just Odd Future or OFWGKTA), has finally announced a release date and details for his highly-anticipated new album Wolf. The record has been talked about since before Tyler’s last album, 2011’s career catalyst release, Goblin, had even hit shelves (at one point it was even planned for early 2012). Wolf is now officially set to drop April 2, and it’s Tyler’s first solo release through the rapper’s own imprint label, Odd Future Records. The record will feature 3 different covers, depending on the edition and outlet. I’ve inserted them above and below in this post. Along with the release date announcement, Tyler also dropped a new single called “Domo 23,” and you can check out the official video below (which Tyler also directed):
Tyler had previously expressed a desire to move away from the “shock rap” material that defined much of his earlier work (and was sometimes dubbed “horrorcore”). If “Domo 23” is any indication, the rapper will be making good on that promise. Though it’s not a huge departure (especially if you’ve heard Tyler’s post-Goblin Odd Future material), the track shows a side of Tyler more grounded in the real world. His delivery is still as intense and focused as ever, and the snarkiness and intelligent, bordering on punk, lyrical prowess remains intact. The refreshing change is how personal he’s willing to get, even if it’s just within the context of hip hop boastfulness (his most personal previous tracks tended to lean more self-deprecating, by contrast). Tyler tends to project his narrative onto manufactured characters, or skew so outside of the real world in his thematic focus that you get the sense you’re not listening to Tyler so much as one of his many alter-egos. That’s not the case with “Domo 23.” The OF mastermind is as confident as he’s ever been, and even the shift in production has a greater attention to detail and air of confidence. The video’s typical Tyler- silly, fun, surreal, and well-made, but the top-notch quality track is the real pleasant surprise here.
A lot has happened for Tyler and Odd Future since the release of Goblin. In addition to his own label (which has begun releasing records from non-Odd Future-affiliated groups), Tyler also opened an Odd Future retail store in Los Angeles. Odd Future saw the release of their first “official” (and certainly most talked about) album as a collective, The OF Tape Vol. 2. Various OFWGKTA members released solo efforts as well and, most prominently, OF member Frank Ocean has become a Grammy-winning international star, r&b innovator, and the first openly gay member of the r&b/hip hop community. And, if that wasn’t enough, Odd Future also debuted their own television show, Loiter Squad, on Adult Swim.
To call Wolf anticipated would be an understatement. Tyler is as relevant and influential as he’s ever been, and though he’s still largely operating in the “underground” (i.e. no mainstream radio attention or gigantic tours yet- but still an almost unmeasurable amount of hype), this record is one of the most important and potentially career-defining releases imaginable. The usual Odd Future cohorts will make cameros, including Frank, and Wolf will almost certainly showcase a more focused, grownup side to Tyler. Oh, and if you’re interested- there’s a preorder bundle up now which includes socks and tickets to Tyler’s upcoming tour. Who couldn’t use a new pair of socks? No Nashville dates have yet been announced, but with the more extensive touring from Tyler we’re likely to see, this might be the year he finally pays Music City a visit.