By Casey N. Batterbee
Tyler, the Creator — the self-proclaimed “star” of rap collective Odd Future — has gotten ungodly amounts of popularity over the last few months (partially thanks to Rap Genius). Since the early days of Odd Future, Tyler Okonma (a Nigerian nomenclature) has had several personas — but in the course of his rise to fame over the last few months, even more have emerged.
Also known as…
Thurnis / Masturbator:
Thurnis Haley was a recently established meme on Odd Future’s tumblr. Thurnis Haley is a golf loving “about 53 year(s) old” man, who indirectly promotes Tyler’s upcoming release of Goblin. Based on the therapeutic beef discussed below, I’m guessing this is Tyler grasping for a father-figure..
Tyler’s consciously-modeled counterpart to Eminem’s “Slim Shady” — this is his Freudian Id — his anti-social persona run amock..
Ace, the Creator
Ace is Tyler’s persona under which he produces and makes beats. This is his alpha-male quant persona. Tyler has produced every Odd Future release to date, and (other than for Radical) Tyler has “created” just about every beat from scratch — no sampling required.
Tyler, the Creator
Tyler, the Creator is Tyler’s stage name, as well as the name under which he raps. Thus far, Tyler has two releases under the name — his 2009 release Bastard — a minor commercial success met with much critical acclaim — and his first official album release, Goblin.
Tyler’s next album is scheduled to be called Wolf (guess who is gonna take center stage?)
On Bastard, Tyler’s therapy session focuses on the critical theme of the album: Tyler’s absentee father.
Dr. TC returns in Goblin to help Tyler understand himself. He asks Tyler to tell him “what’s been going on” because it has been a long time between sessions (even though Dr. TC said it was going to be three sessions in three days). Tyler talks about his new-found fame, that came with the help of Kanye’s tweets, the critics calling his music horrorcore without actually listening to the words, and how he is finally over his father (or lack there of).
Tyler’s birth name is Tyler Okonma, Okonma being his birth father’s name. Tyler is in effect, a “Bastard,” making the title of the album perfectly fitting. Tyler makes constant references to his father’s absence throughout his music:
Here’s a list of some examples from Bastard:
In the song “Goblin,” (another album starting with a title-track), Dr. TC mentions that “It’s been a long time since their last session.” Throughout the track, Tyler discusses that he’s not a role model, and that since becoming famous his life is pretty much still the same. People have guessed that Tyler’s lyrics might clean up, simply to be accepted in a more mainstream aspect (you can’t win a grammy with songs about rape) — but I don’t see Tyler conforming any time soon..
The final Goblin track, “Golden”, is the climax of an escalating argument continuing throughout the album. Tyler and Dr. TC further discuss Tyler’s problems, and mention one of the most sensitive subjects of Tyler’s psyche: his missing best friend, Earl.
Thebe Kgositsile, aka Earl Sweatshirt, is Tyler’s best friend, and Tyler often calls him his brother. Tyler never intended for Earl to be found (by far the most famous Odd Future meme as that of Earl Sweatshirt’s absence), but it was bound to happen sometime:
See, they’re missing the new album, I’m missing my only friend”
Earl is a very tense subject for Tyler, so it’s only fitting for the subject to escalate Tyler’s final argument with Dr. TC.
Tron Cat is the latest voice to spring up in Tyler’s head. Tyler insinuates on the Goblin track “Nightmare” that “Tron Cat” was another name for the voice in Tyler’s head that tells him to burn and destroy.
He even brings up Tron Cat in a conversation with Dr. TC:
Dr. TC: “What’s gotten into you?”
Tyler: “I don’t know. It’s like I’m a different person at times. Sometimes I’m f**kin’ mad, sometimes I’m not. It’s like I’ve got a f**king voice in my head telling my to do all of this f**ked up sh*t, man.”
Dr. TC: “Yeah what’s-”
Tyler: “I don’t f**king know man.”
Dr. TC: “What’s this person named then Tyler, huh?”
Tyler: “He tells me to do this sh*t that I don’t want to f**king do!”
Dr TC: “What’s his name?”
Tyler: “Tron Cat.”
On “Golden”, Tyler’s intense argument with Dr. TC ends in the doctor calling security; Tyler is sent to a mental hospital. While in the hospital, Dr. TC talks to Tyler in a scene reminiscent of Fight Club’s ending:
Dr TC: “Someone gave a f**k Tyler. The person that gave a f**k was me. See, you’re not going crazy. It’s me, I’m your best friend Tyler. I know everything. I know everything about you. You’ve been helping yourself this whole time. Your best friend is your imagination. Dr. TC. Tyler, I’m your conscience, I’m Tron Cat, I’m Ace, I’m Wolf Haley, I’m…
Deep stuff. Sometimes, all you need is one man and you’ve already amassed a Wolf Gang…
Benjamin Cosgrove assisted with this article