Tyler, The Creator

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Which Rappers Haven’t Released Their Best Albums Yet?

Hip-hop is a young artist’s game. Most athletes peak in their mid-twenties to their early thirties, and rappers follow a similar trajectory. There are exceptions, of course—boxer Bernard Hopkins won a world championship at age 49, and Pusha-T defeated Drake at age 41. Fame, money, drugs, love, and …

From MF DOOM to Kendrick Lamar: The Art of the Hip-Hop Concept Album

Musicians are obsessed with making concept albums. It’s the ultimate mark of creativity, a test of vision, and cohesion. Yet, the challenge for a visual story told with music is simple; it’s an aural experience. You don’t have the privilege of conveying a narrative with a large number of words. In …

Dissecting Rap’s Uncanny Ability to Turn Memories Into Settings

The most pleading moment of Tyler, the Creator’s 2017 album, Flower Boy, comes when the 28-year-old artist demands: “Take me back, take me back” on “November.” The glitching bridge hounds our ears. The milky textures of Flower Boy fade away in favor of arduous percussion.  Suddenly, “November” …