Tyler Okonma better known as Tyler, The Creator is a producer, creator and above all, a visionary who has played a pivotal role in establishing many of the trends that are celebrated amongst today’s youth. Okonma came onto the scene in 2007 as a member of the rap group OFWGKTA where he and his band mates created music with radical anti-censorship messaging. After the groups split in 2015, Okonma pursued a solo career as a musician but was very vocal about how he no longer wanted to rap and how he saw himself pursing other projects that were not music related. Asides from his mega-popular musical career, Okonma also can be accredited for being an executive producer on the show Loiter Squad and also is the owner of the clothing brand Golf Wang.
There is no doubt that Okonma is much more than just a musician. At one point, many fans questioned whether Okonma would ever return to making music after being so vocal about how he wanted to pursue other projects that were not music related. However, in 2015, Okonma released his first solo album Cherry Bomb, followed by his second solo album Flower Boy in 2017 and on May 17, 2019, Okonma came back onto the music scene to release his third solo studio album, Igor. Prior to its release, Okonma, took to Twitter to state,
“Don’t go into this expecting a rap album.” Okonma also wrote, “Don’t go into this expecting any album.”Tyler, The Creator @fucktyler on Twitter
After much anticipation and many promises of a new sound, Igor is finally here, and fans including myself are eager to evaluate, listen and appreciate a new era of music.
Track One – IGOR’S THEME
This track begins with an enchanting mix of different sound bites and a collision of different beats recorded with different instruments. These sounds, although different, come together to be seamlessly melted together by Okonma vocals. Although almost lyrically obsolete, the track still conveys a story to its listener. In my opinion, this track serves as the perfect opener to a Okonma album. It demonstrates Okonma’s love for sampling, his appreciation for non-electronic instruments including the piano which is heavily used within the track as well as police sirens which might be an homage to Okonma’s earlier pieces which reference his stance on the legal system and law breaking. Overall, I will give this song a 7/10 stars for Okonma’s ability to seamlessly blend a multitude of different sounds together to create one enjoyable track.
Track Two – EARFQUAKE
This track, unlike “IGOR’S THEME,” begins immediately with Okonma’s vocals. On this album more so than any other, Okonma is undoubtedly singing, whereas, on his previous album such as Cherry Bomb and Flower Boy, Okonma primarily rapped. This track has a very catchy beat and simplistic lyrics which make it easy for the listener to get hooked upon just the first listen. This catchy tune which does a great job of showcasing Okonma’s producing and singing ability also scores a 7/10.
Track Three – I THINK
Something I must mention is the seamless transition from “EARFQUAKE” to “I THINK” I had to double check to make sure the track had actually changed, yes it really is that good. This track begins with an electronic beat followed by Okonma’s mellow vocals that glide effortlessly over the backing track. The way that Okonma’s vocals blend with the background singers vocals shows that Okonma’s production ability is extremely advanced and shows much progress from his previous albums. This track does include singing which at some points could easily be confused for rapping but this could be due to Okonma’s laidback attempt at singing on this song. The bridge of this track includes some psychedelic electronic beats that differ from those that played at the beginning of the song but merge together at the end to regroup both sounds. The overall rating for this track is 8/10.
Track Four – EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING
This track is a 14 second sound bite and is currently from an unknown source. The sound bite includes a man saying “exactly what you run from you end up chasing like you can’t avoid but chasing it and just like trying, giving it everything you can, there’s always an obstacle.” There is a beat in the background followed by vocals, but is mostly revolved around the speaking. Some fans speculate that this track is about Okonma and coming to terms with his sexual orientation. The overall rating for this track is 3/10.
Track Five – RUNNING OUT OF TIME
This track immediately begins with a tempo nostalgic of Okonma’s previous works on his first solo studio album, Cherry Bomb. In particular, Okonoma uses this track to play with pitch in his vocals which works effectively to provide depth to the track. The track also transcends into a lullaby sounding beat which then transitions into an upbeat tempo followed in by Okonma’s moody vocals. The story-telling aspect of this track is what makes it particularly intriguing. The overall rating for this track is 9/10.
Track Six – NEW MAGIC WAND
This track begins with another soundbite, presumably from the same man who provided the sound bite for “EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING.” This track and its distorted samples and background tracking is especially remnant of Okonma’s earlier works in OFWGKTA. The lyrics in this track are more sinister than any of the lyrics on the previous tracks on IGOR. Like the previous tracks, this song is very dimensional and could easily be split up in parts due to the change in tempo and rhythm. As the song progresses, the sound becomes more distorted and the samplings in the background become more piecing. Overall, this track has a very moody tone to it which is complimented nicely by the shocking lyrics. The overall rating for this track is 4/10.
Track Seven – A BOY IS A GUN
This track immediately reminded me of some of the works of Kanye West, especially his works from The Life Of Pablo and Yeezus. Okonma masters the art of sampling in this track by being able to achieve the perfect fusion of samples along with his own vocals which are complimented by the beat. It also is in this track that Okonma uses the term “garcon” which is again, making fans speculate about Okonma’s sexuality and whether this album is in fact about a boy named Igor. The overall rating for this song is 9/10.
Track Eight – PUPPET
This track begins with Okonma rapping to a simple tempo. Like “A BOY IS A GUN” this track also has lots of Kanye West influence scattered amongst it (which makes sense since he did help compose it) and no, I am not referring to when West makes literal appearances throughout the song. The sampling in this song again, is practically perfect which just proves how amazing of a producer Okonma has become through his solo works. Like previous songs on Igor, this track does not fall short in the storytelling aspect. The overall rating for this song is 8.5/10.
Track Nine – WHAT’S GOOD
This track, again, begins with another seamless transition. Like “Running Out Of Time” this track notably has influences from Okonma’s previous album Cherry Bomb. This track also has rapping in it, which I’m definitely not complaining about. Okonma uses a distorter for his voice in this track which nicely compliments the distorted beats in the background. The second part of this track is by far my favourite, Okonma’s vocals take centre stage as he begins to sing about “dracula” and “seeing the light.” The overall rating for this song is 6/10.
Track Ten – GONE, GONE / THANK YOU
This track more than any had lots of buzz around it and many fans deemed to claim this as the favourite of the album. Hands down, the best part of the song is the use of the guitar and how it interacts with the vocals and the other beats. As the song progresses, it becomes more complex as more instruments, beats, and sound bites are introduced. The overall rating for this song is 5/10.
Track Eleven – I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE
This track begins with Okonma confessing his feelings to a mellow beat, again, using the distorted vocal technique. The track then progresses into a sound bite that repeats the songs title. It is an enchanting, dark and moody track that celebrates heartbreak in the best way possible. Hands down, the best parts of this song is when Okonma uses his own vocals which blend seamlessly with the background vocals. The overall rating of this track is 7/10.
Track Twelve – ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?
This track has a very nostalgic feel to it, bringing listeners back to the 50s. Okonoma’s vocals perfectly suit the beat and he especially plays with the pitch of his voice in this song. This track feels like an old song kept in a time capsule that was later modified and touched by modern producing technology. The overall rating for this track is 8/10.
Overall this was an extremely successful and progressive release for Okonma. There are many speculations in regards to the messaging of the album. Many fans have speculated that Igor is a friend of Okonma who he had fallen in love with and Igor, is reflective of Okonma’s journey with his sexuality and coming to a realisation of who he is through his falling in love with Igor.
This album definitely has lots of notable influences that are sonically present including Kanye West and also Okonma’s previous works in OFWGKTA as well as his solo works such as Cherry Bomb and Flower Boy. Igor is fascinating in the sense that it sounds very fresh and new yet has notable nostalgic notes and influences within each song. Many fans also are stating that Igor is Yeezus 2.0, but I personally think that although both albums are similar with their heavy reliance on electronic sound, they both are very different in their deliverance, despite the fact that West did help assist with some parts of the album. The overall rating for this album is 8/10.