Tyler The Creator: What It Takes To Win Best Rap Album at The Grammy’s

With the second grammy of his career, Tyler The Creator further solidifies his place among the important artists of the modern era. Awarded as the Best Rap Album, Call Me If You Get Lost finds itself at the crossing of personal aspiration and music industry rethoric.

Understand Tyler’s Growth

Ever since he first hit the scene as the leader of Odd Future, Tyler The Creator has constantly symbolized a childlike desire for tools to perfect a craft and bring his myriad of artistic ideas to life. Often categorized as shockjock in the early years of his career, it seems like Tyler really came into his own in 2017 with the release of Flower Boy. A year later, he further trandcended mainstream success and snatched his first grammy with IGOR.  

Sir Beaudelaire: This is for Hip-Hop

Three years after the success of IGOR, Tyler is awarded for Call Me If You Get Lost, a project marked by a precise turn towards rap. This spin has been thoroughly teased through great features with MC’S like Freddie Gibbs or Westside Gunn. In that same spirit, Tyler’s album has been crafted and is presented like a mixtape hosted by DJ Drama, who became a major hip-hop figure in the 2000’s with the Gangsta Grillz mixtape series (who welcolmed some of the fiercest performances of Lil Wayne or a young Gucci Mane). A self-proclaimed fan of that era, Tyler tackled his Gangsta Grillz-like album under the new moniker of « Sir Beaudelaire ».

Making his lyrical presence felt all accross the project, he also adresses the torments of his time on « Manifesto » and gets personal on « Massa » or « Sweet/ I thought you wanted to dance ». Not one song seems to stay in one place. From the defiant « Corso » to the unconventional « Juggernaut » or the retro « Safari », the leader of Odd Future offers a colorful soundscape tainted by a wave of bravado, vulnerability and intimacy. A full display of resourceful inspiration, Call Me If You Get Lost is most importantly a testament to Tyler’s progression as an MC.

All those things considered, it is fair to ask if artistry was the sole reason behind an award, won against Drake’s Certified Lover Boy, Kanye West’s garish DONDA, Nas’ resurgence with KD2 and J.Cole’s Off-Season.

Current music standards: Numbers over Quality?

“I know you’re seething and angry and (saying) no one listens to that album,
These arena tours that are selling out says different,
and if you put that much energy into something, maybe everyone will be proud of you too.”

During his acceptance speech, Tyler took time to adress critics. You could guess that some of his words were adressed specifically to DJ Khaled. Back in 2019, the two exchanged words in different interviews, after Tyler’s IGOR reached the number one spot in the billboard charts over DJ Khaled’s Father Of Asahd.

Two years later, Tyler’s words show how much numbers and statistics have become an integral part of the story you tell around a project, probably more than ever before. That factor is obviously taken into account when it comes to a grammy nomination and even more so for a win.

The grammy voting process involves a panel of artists and record labels. No matter the quality, it’ll be tough for a project to get a nod if it doesn’t reach the masses. If quality counts, profile and sales do too which, ultimately, makes for a certain form of elitism.

With both critical and commercial success, Tyler The Creator met many criterias to be the laureate, perhaps more than his co-nominees.

Alfred Dilou

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