Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Best of 2010: #10 Tyler the Creator - Bastard

This is indefensibly offensive music. Let me just say that right away. That I or anyone else likes it suggests we’re little boys with a completely debased sense of humor and a completely immature view of the world.

In my youth I found Kurt Cobain, who’s pro-queer, extreme feminist ideals I took to heart. It lead me down the road of Riot-Grrrl, occasional nail polish, Sleater-Kinney, and a general distaste for all things macho and extreme. But something funny happened on the way to the end of the last century. Rap music. For years I did moral back flips to rationalize my love of the often homophobic and possibly even more often misogynistic perspective on the finest work of N.W.A, Wu Tang Clan, Biggie, Jay-Z and pretty much anyone else you could name.

With Tyler the Creator’s Bastard, these horrible attributes are abundant and inescapable. But so too is a sense that this is coming from a place of true nihilism, not seemingly from a philosophy of specific hate. This is obviously a white liberal argument (and a very thin one at that) for some pretty vile shit. And so I won’t try too hard to sell this. I will say the beats, mostly produced by Tyler himself, are gritty, simplistic and excellent. And the rhymes are completely immersive in often unpleasant but always captivating ways.

It is one of my ten favorite records of the year because it feels strangely new. (Though it could probably be branded a revival.) In an age of hip-hop for everyone this record insists that some people hate it. It dares forward looking intellectual types to like it in spite of themselves. It’s just wicked. Hopefully both me and Tyler grow out of this shit.


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