Them’s The Vagaries is still powering onwards, with occasional A-list guests and lots of talk about music and pop culture from two people who are dripping swagu. One is still me, and the other is still Seán McTiernan, presumed to be the only person in Kilkenny’s storied history who has heard of Stresmatic. We make jokes and care deeply about music, usually simultaneously.
Catch up, or if you haven’t listened, pick an episode you like the look of.
Episode 12: Be Careful What You Wish For… – with Darragh McCausland of Asleep On The Compost Heap (and Come Dine With Me). Internal machinations of Come Dine With Me, sex talk, pork cheeks, Grizzly Man, anime soundtracks and some 2011 music talk. There is also a 20 minute section where we review eight types of sour sweet available in Dublin City Centre. Interval entertainment is “Dear 16 Year Old Me” by the Silly Beggar dudes.
– Episode 11: The Haunted Mask – The music of 2011 so far, taking in: [non-raps] Fucked Up, Drainland, Tim Hecker, Iceage, Celtic Frost, Squarehead, Grinderman, Hauschka, Hunx and His Punx, Vivian Girls, Smith Westerns, Nicolas Jaar, John Maus and Toby Kaar
plus [raps] Tyler, the Creator, Kanye, Jay-Z, Jay Electronica, Envy, Kreayshawn, Elzhi, DJ Quik, Young L, Rick Ross, Meek Mill, E-40, Das Racist, El-P, Clams Casino, Araabmuzik, oOoOo, G-Side, Main Attrakionz, Spaceghostpurrp, NoEmotion, Cadence Weapon, Shabazz Palaces, Action Bronson, Rittz and, apropos of nothing, a lot of me talking shit about A Tribe Called Quest.
– Episode 10: The Ghost Next Door – with Orla Ryan, who has a secret job and was a recurring favourite on Seán’s old podcast Ah Here (which you can make him send you if you want – sean mc tiernan at gmail dot com). We talk about Battles and Aphex Twin’s riders at Forbidden Fruit, Sufjan Stevens’ spaceship live show and Jim Corr being a fucking nutcase, plus more.
– Episode 9: Welcome To Camp Nightmare – with Megan Nolan, stand-up comedienne, former DJ of a hip hop duo and general woman about town. We talk about her life as the slapsifier of a rap group, music we had forgotten about and terrible racist jokes on the underground comedy circuit.
– Episode 8: The Girl Who Cried Monster – in the only episode apart from the first one to take place indoors, we occupy the Arts Block of Trinity on a day on which it was only open so tourists could use the toilet. We talk Irish-themed punk, pro wrestling (specifically Botchamania), DJ Quik and Suga Free being god-tier, the Pitchfork movie, Anal Cunt, David Norris, Gerry Ryan and Beepy Fallon.
– Episode 7: The Night of the Living Dummy – Forbidden Fruit festival analysis, an anecdote about Sean’s dad and gigs and getting pissed on, Neutral Milk Hotel, Big and Rich, Kanye’s Monster video, Ian Svenonius, Ian Mackaye and Henry Rollins.
– Episode 6: Let’s Get Invisible – We talk about old music on the occasion of Bob Dylan’s birthday. Bruce Springsteen and Stephen Fry denounced as mark ass bitches by me and Sean respectively.
– Episode 3: Monster Blood – Odd Future (the week Goblin came out and thus the last time all conversation centred around Tyler), the Prince Disagreement, The Beatles, Westwood, drops on rap mixtapes, etc.
I suppose we’d better do something to mark the occasion, right? Let’s read some Tyler casually.
So Goblin starts with an almost seven-minute-long, partly spoken word track that takes the form of a dialogue between Tyler, the Creator and his therapist, who we’ve already encountered on Bastard. The last track on Bastard, Inglorious, ends with the line “D-lo where’s the trigger, I’ll let this bullet play hero”. It’s ambiguous, but, presuming we can play God and pick which parts of Tyler’s lyrics are ‘play’ and which are canon narrative, we can take it that the Last Time On Odd Future 30 second round-up before Goblin starts features Tyler shooting someone, or himself. Enter therapist.
You wouldn’t do that Tyler, kill yourself, or anyone. You don’t even have the balls to begin with. What you need is… me. I just want to talk to you. It’s been a while since your last session. So…tell me what’s been going
So it didn’t happen. But also, what’s this? The therapist that was once the platonic ideal of a school-prescribed therapist for Tyler to bounce off has become awfully familiar. He still wants some confessions though. Tyler obviously obliges, as it’s his album and he needs to start rapping sometime. Square brackets for the therapist.
I’m not a fucking role model
[I know this]
I’m a 19 year old fucking emotional coaster with pipe dreams
Tyler noticed what you noticed from those 10,000 thinkpieces. People give a shit what he says, and it’s weird.
So Kanye tweeted telling people he’s bumping all of my shit
These motherfuckers think I’m supposed to live up to something?
Shit, I’m still jacking off and proceeding my life careless
And getting more pussy cos I tell bitches I’m Wood Harris (as you should)
LA to Paris, I’m getting these weird stares, from skate parks and airports It’s all in the air, it’s weird
Oh great, a rap album about being famous. Wait, hold on, that’s what every rap album is about (excluding ones about how weird it is that there’s a pyramid with an eye on the dollar bill). Wood Harris played Avon Barksdale in edgy, underground cop procedural The Wire. They do look similar. There is no sexual violence in it, so you can probably watch it without having to commit to writing an essay-length thinkpiece about whether or not David Simon is a threat to mankind.
Yonkers dropped and left their craniums mind-fucked.
It did. Nearly 8.5 million views on YouTube, plus OF went from something for skater kids and nerdy rap bloggers to something for the front cover of the Irish Times and 40% of all Tumblr bandwidth indefinitely. Intergalactic punk rock hip hop. Also, Goblin is the first song on the album, Yonkers is next. So you’ve just been meta-mindfucked.
Now competition missing like that nigga my mom fucked.
He still hasn’t called me yet
[It’s not your fault]
That’s a whole fucking different argument
Shit, I got over it
Inglorious, that last track on Bastard, is entirely, confessionally and almost hammily about succeeding without a father. These lines are part of the framework for Goblin – he’s not Bastard Tyler any more.
And a couple bucks in my pocket
So now I could go buy a couple Hot Pockets
So grandma can stop cooking those nasty ass collard greens
Tyler is making enough money to buy microwaveable meat-and-cheese pasties instead of eating the vegetables his granny cooks, which is a pretty “children who’s fucked up in they mental” way to frame the by now near-formal ‘I give my ma money’ stuff.
Pressures on me like this top hat
Bastard intro, how the fuck I’m gonna top that?
Bastard, from Bastard, is also an eponymous intro and a dialogue between Tyler and his therapist. It’s piano – actual piano played by Tyler, not samples – and him talking. It introduces not only Bastard as a concept album (“Fuck a deal, I just want my father’s email/So I can tell him how much I fucking hate him in detail”) but also, as the first song on the first actual Tyler album, introduces Tyler, the Creator as a persona, with the pretty deadly and (calling it) NOW LEGENDARY opening line “This is what the devil plays before he goes to sleep.” Oh, by the way, the therapist introduces himself as Dr. TC. Which is important.
Okay you guys caught me
I’m not a fucking rapist, or a serial killer, I lied
[You know, you just wanted attention]
I tried too hard huh?
Made a couple thou and I just don’t know what to buy yet
Supreme shit is free and I don’t drink so fuck a wine set
Nigga fuck a mindset, my brain is an obscenity
I’m fucked in the head, I lost my mind with my virginity
Tyler’s mental, he mightn’t have made that clear yet.
Oh, that’s a triple 3-6, isn’t he a devil worshipper?
Cos I’m too fucking ignorant to do some research
The “do some research” line is something Tyler tends to resort to when people in interviews trying to find roundabout ways to ask him if he is pro-rape and anti-gay. If the Drone interview isn’t enough for you in that regard, I wish I could find a non-condescending way of suggesting that there are loads of other rap groups or even non-rap musical outfits that you might enjoy spending your time with. It is fully your right to be uncomfortable with the lyrical content if you want to be, but you’re unlikely to convert me at this point.
I’m the star of the a group, so no one else gets the respect they deserve cos of you
No-one even told Mike G where Earl was before the Complex story even though they knew. Proportional to effort (sup Taco) he is the most slept-on member. But yeah it must be weird to get way more famous than your friends and have your own Adult Swim serial killer/rapist fantasies projected onto their weed raps. I wonder if Domo Genesis has ever had an interviewer ask him if he’s horrorcore?
[Bastard was good though]
What you think I recorded for?
To have a bunch of critics call my shit a bunch of horrorcore?
Like I didn’t make Parade or Inglorious cos I’m too fuckin’ scared to tell my friends the way I really fucking feel?
Bastard was good. On Red Flame, Lil B says that if you don’t have Blue Flame, “get that to understand this”. He’s full of shit because there is absolutely no reason why you would need to have Blue Flame to understand Red Flame other than getting that the joke songs are jokes, but if you’re trying to unpack Goblin at any intellectual level at all you’re going to want to have listened to some previous album tracks so you realise there’s more to Tyler than Wolf Haley saying disgusting shit.
Of course they only listen to lyrics about me pissing off
In the tombs of Lara Croft
I’m getting pissed off
“Go ahead admit it faggot, this shit is tighter than butt rape/That involve ballpark franks and silver duct tape.” Understandable, maybe, that people talk about the weirder shit more than the more normal stuff, even if both are good.
Messageboards are on my dick, I need a pissing waiver
Lemme bust one in they mouth, i know they feel the flavor
Get off his dick, he needs to piss, dude.
Can’t they just be happy for me, like, a kid with nothing living out his dreams
Why they gotta fucking hate?
“Lebron ain’t make it to the NBA from hating/He made it from dedication, ambition and motivation.” Meek Mill. Take fucking note, hatin’ ass cowards. Although fuck the concept of ‘haters’ as a shield against criticism. Sorry Ty.
I don’t even skate anymore, I’m too fucking busy
I can barely kick flip now
When Tyler refers to people ‘from Odd Future’ who are very clearly never anywhere near the studio, he’s talking about the skaters. Here’s some of them plus Tyler at the Berrics doing tricks. Takes him most of the video to do anything, but he does eventually do a not particularly steezy switch 50-50 right at the end, so keep watching.
[Why’s that? No free time?]
The fuck you mean I’m not talented?
You see the shit I’ve been doing?
[I have. You’re a great person.]
I mean I’m not that good of a rapper but, on the whole I’m pretty… cool, right?
This is spoken word. Shakespeare tells the truth when he rhymes, Tyler tells the truth when he doesn’t. Or maybe. Well, no. But it sounds more self-doubty when he does it like this.
People excited think this shit is so tight
Getting co-signs from rappers i dont even like
POSSIBLE P DIDDY DISS???????
What the fuck you want me to do?
Start to gobble his Mike
Start Jackson em off, till his cap blasting off
Sleek Michael Jackson reference.
These niggas aint fuckin with me
Cos I dont listen to the Immortal Tech of the nique
And all this underground bullshit that’s never gone peak
On the Billboard Top 20 and Jam of the Week
Immortal Technique is a dusty loop New York conscious rapper that of the type that tends to take themselves and social issues very seriously and do third person rappers about unnamed male protagonists who get tired of life on the streets, and call themselves things like Immortal Technique. Real Hip Hop, is what Dead Prez would call it, I think. And it won’t stop until we get the po-po off the block.
I’d rather listen to Badu and Pusha the T
and Waka Flocka Flame instead of that real hip hop that’s full of the shit
Tyler lists three dissimilar artists he enjoys more than Real Hip Hop. Pusha T, who rapped over Neptunes beats with the Clipse and now carries Kanye’s pussy and religion, is an obvious influence and part of his much-tweeted ‘top five’. Erykah Badu is the sexiest shit ever, and Waka Flocka Flame is the least sexy shit and possibly the least conscious rap ever to exist.
But they wanna critique
Everything that we, Wolf Gang, has ever released
But they don’t get it
[They don’t. It’s not made for them.]
Cos it’s not made for them
The nigga that’s in the mirror rapping, it’s made for him
But they do not have the mindset that is same as him
I’m not weird, you’re just a faggot, shame on him
It’s nice to get a picture of what the artist considers the Ideal Reader. A lame dude rapping in the mirror, not critics or anyone who likes Immortal Technique. Obviously releasing music, especially if its stated ambition is to reach the Billboard Top 20, entails people other than the person in your mind listening to it, but knowing who you’re supposed to be when you put in headphones is another part of the text, and kind of fun.
[It is, but Tyler, you’re going to have to cut down on that faggot word, that’s very… that’s a bad…]
[Right, well, since the last time, you’ve…]
What the fuck is a good performance?
I get on stage and have as much fun as I can
[You seem like you do. Your Twitter posts are just… I mean it’s really random. And it’s AD…]
Who doesn’t have ADD?
So Odd Future still do most (if not all, I haven’t been to any and youtubing every single one would be too much effort) of their shows with the vocals still on the backing track and they sacrifice quality in terms of eyes-closed-in-a-vacuum live show for stage-diving and gang chants. Tyler watched Kanye at Coachella and got momentarily introspective about how he’s not doing a proper concert, but resolved not to care. And he’s got ADD! If we can’t agree on anything else, I think we, and everyone who has ever written an article of note on Odd Future, can agree that Tyler has ADD.
Well… I don’t.
Some day in the future when Odd Future’s on the Leaving Cert course people are going to give due respect to the depth of the persona Tyler has created. People I’ve talked to about it are divided on whether or not stuff outside the albums count as ‘text’ when it comes to figuring out what the fuck is going on with Tyler, but I think it does. The Twitter, the skit videos, certain interviews, everything. It’s not just that he’s playing a character in specific songs, which has been one of the defenses for the rape-references – and he does play characters in specific songs – but the whole thing is a meta-character too. The only Tyler interview from before Odd Future became a thing is the piece on the performance school for teenagers who don’t succeed in normal schools where the teachers say he is on another level and the next Andre 3000. I can’t find it right now, but it does exist. The character, as I see it, is fluid – he slips in and out, or is ‘in character’ varying amounts at various times – but very little of what OF does isn’t calculated by Tyler in at least a general vibe sort of way.
I wish Thebe was here.
So it’s pronounced Thuh-bay. Also FREE EARL THAT’S THE FUCKING SHIT AND IF YOU DISAGREE SUCK A COUPLE PIMPLE COVERED DICKS.
Therapy’s been saying that niggas getting offended
They don’t wanna fuck with me cos i do not fuck with religion
But see that’s my decision
You fuckers don’t have to listen and hear
Put this middle finger in your ear
[I’d rather not.]
You might like JUSTIN BIEBER.
Someone gets blamed
Cos some white kid [white?] had aimed his AK47 at 47 kids
And I don’t wanna see my name mentioned
[I don’t think anyone’s gonna mention… I don’t think anyone takes you serious enough to believe you.]
But they totally do, which is weird. Arguably not seriously enough to shoot up a school, but definitely seriously enough to get Marilyn Manson’d. Saying the Columbine shooters seemed like cool guys on Twitter on the anniversary of the Columbine shootings will presumably not help when they’re looking for someone to blame for the next one. Also having different songs on both of your albums with the chorus “Kill people, burn shit, fuck school” is going to lead to some awkward dock-time and might need Blind Boy Boat Club brought in to explain the difference between denotative and connotative language to an even broader audience.
College wasnt working
And I wasn’t working
So I sat at home jerking off until my dick was hurting
But I was determined to be great
So this classes can wait
Cos those 4 days i went, I wasn’t learnin shit
Now I’m living dreams I’ve wanted since 8th
And I can afford to get my mother something on her birthday
[You’ve explained to me that you were in school but… I mean… I…]
The college thing’s vexed. He used to claim he was in film school, followed by claiming he used to be in film school, followed by claiming he was never in film school and just said that so he seemed more impressive. The early articles used to say things like “film school dropout Tyler”, but obviously that’s given way to just “Tyler” as that became enough. Also, in more uninteresting biography, Tyler apparently used to work for Fed-Ex but lost his job for some reason. Dedicated his life to masturbation and becoming a great artist, in what must be inspirational to bold dole soldiers the country over.
They claim the shit I say is just wrong
Like nobody has those really dark thoughts when alone
I’m just a teenager, who admits he’s suicide prone
My life is doing pretty good
So that date postponed for now
This is the flip of the aggressive Tyler-as-a-character angle I’ve been pushing as regards interpreting his stuff. Angsty teenager shit for angsty teenagers is definitely an aspect of it, but maybe I overlook that a little because it’s not what appeals to me about the music. There’s definitely some cheerleading for the disaffected youth on Goblin the album (especially Radicals which basically outright says ‘you JUST MIGHT be one of us too!’). But beware believing anything.
But wow, life’s a cute bitch full of oestrogen
And when she gives you lemons, nigga, throw em at pedestrians
[So what are you saying? Take advantage? You’ve been doing pretty good.]
That’s just some cool shit.
I still live in my grandma’s house
Sell out a fucking show in London just to end up on couches
I hate my fucking life, but when I make that announcement
My hero calls my phone, just to put that in doubt then
The perennial difficulty inherent in hating your life when you have a fucking amazing life. The hero on the phone, at a guess? Pharrell.
And then I am confused if I want in or just out
My friends really think I’m playing when I say I need counselling
I sit in grandmother’s living room and just pout and shout loud inside
Sometimes i just wanna die
[No you don’t]
Alea iacta est.
Odd Future came from the bottom and It’s gonna take a couple armed armies tryna stop em
All you fucking lames don’t have to like me
The devil doesn’t wear Prada, I’m clearly in a fucking white tee.
And there we have it. Anti-hero/anti-christ.
There was no real overarching point to this other than to maybe show absolute beginners that there’s more to Tyler than rape jokes and to do something long-form to commemorate the release of the album I’ve been most looking forward to since Radiohead released Hail To The Thief and I brought my discman up to HMV Blanchardstown so I could listen to it straight away. Goblin is great. There’s awkward moments, but it’s a step up from Bastard and it’s a step up to the plate.
6.48 of the intro track, you’re thinking “that kind of clarifies a lot”. And then Yonkers.
I’m starting a series. Two actually, this one and one on Fridays called Lo-Fi Fridays. I would imagine that, in particular, nobody was sitting at home going “man, I wish there was a regular weekly feature on rap music on Those Geese Were Stupefied” but I’m listening to a lot of it, I want to try to write about it, and I need a good excuse to write regularly. So here it is.
Odd Future – Sandwitches
Odd Future had their first show outside America on Friday, in London. It went well. Per Tyler The Creator, founder, leader, producer and best rapper amongst them:
@fucktyler It Just Hit Me. I’m In Fucking London. What The Fuck? Just Performed A Sold Out Show, With Mosh Pits And White Kids That Know Lyrics. WTF.
@fucktyler Just Took My First Shit In Another Country.
Tyler The Creator is obviously an excellent rapper, and he’s also got Eminem levels of charisma. And he does his own beats. There is no reason why he (and Odd Future) won’t be doing stupid shit at MTV Awards ceremonies within two years. It sounds hard and “real”, if “realness” is important to you in your rap music these days (do you believe Drake? he still loves that girl?) but it’s also just mental enough to endear itself to people who can’t square themselves with mainstream hip hop without irony. Like Eminem. Maybe a little rougher though.
I’m goin’ harder than a midget jumpin’ over me.
Chronic youth, I’m shovin’ blunt wraps in bitches’ ovaries.
Punches to the stomach where that bastard kid’s supposed to be.
Fuck a mask, I want that ho to know it’s me.
Not for kids.
There’s a distinct vibe off Tyler that he’s waiting in a green room to be the biggest rapper in the world. It’s not just because he’s great, and his buzz is building. He actually spends quite a lot of time talking about it, with Wu-Tang pride and no little sense of entitlement.
Nigga had the fuckin’ nerve to call me immature.
The fuck you think I made Odd Future for?
To wear suits and make good decisions?
Fuck that nigga.
Odd Future’s also called Wolf Gang (and Golf Wang). Tyler’s also called Wolf Haley. It’s a whole world to buy into. He also raps about rape quite a lot. Back to that another time.
Kanye West, Pusha T, Big Sean, Cyhi The Prince & J. Cole – Looking For Trouble
Kanye’s doing this Good Fridays thing where he puts loads of boring rappers on songs and puts them up on Fridays. They’re mostly crap. This new one is also kinda crap. The first two verse are okay, but it’s well-noted by Noz that Big Sean’s verse is way louder than the rest of them, and also Big Sean, do not rap about other people asking you to sit “at the throne”. C’mon, man. Dignity. And then minutes later J. Cole, much touted, says “never say I’m better than Hov but I’m the closest one.” He’s not. But c’mon, at least avoid the subject.
Lil Wayne got released from jail. He said this.
@liltunechi aaaaaaahhhhhhmmmmm baaaaakkkkkkkkkk
And also this
@liltunechi Ha ha ha ha ha
Because Lil Wayne is legitimately insane. I spent about 8 hours all told listening to Lil Wayne’s 100 Greatest Songs (also Noz) on Complex Magazine‘s site, to celebrate the freeing of Weezy, who I never cared that much about before. Guess what? A Milli’s number one. Guess what else? It’s probably the only Lil Wayne song I’ll intentionally listen to, ever again. But, for one long string of freestyle-esque words over a beat that’s nothing but one note of sub bass, it’s pretty remarkable. This is not news.
Lil Wayne – A Milli
Hi, Hype Machine. Next week this will not be stuff you care about.
I'm Karl. I write this blog and write for Totally Dublin. In a past life I got way too personal with my criticism of Sean McTiernan's predilection for Kendrick Lamar and dulcimer music made by psychotic men in forests on the legendary Them's The Vagaries podcast. Available to sell out in almost any way for money.
m c d o n a k j @ t c d . i e is my e-mail address. I don't really attempt to break new music here or anything, but every few months when I'm bored I pick random shit out of my inbox and free associate with it, so send me your Bjork remix or whatever.