AnthonyCinder wrote:It's not that he didn't get it--this isn't deep, multi-layered music with different levels of meaning. In fact, I think it's the exact kind of music where it's pretty clear whether or not you think it's good or not. Definitely not one of the ones where repeated listens open up new interpretations, even though I admittedly have it multiple chances simply because so many people were going apeshit. But yeah . . . no.
Well, yes and no. The thing about Tyler's music is that it has a very strong in-group/out-group dynamic that poses an immediate barrier to engagement, because he's constantly rejecting anything that isn't inside that. It's not simply a matter of the lyrics - that contributes, sure, but anyone who knows anything about rap should not be shocked, given that NWA's "One Less Bitch" dwarfs any shock value lyric Tyler has even vaguely thought of. It's something embedded in his basic posture, and the mercurial way he lashes out.
Lil B does something similar, really, but much friendlier: he's playing a game, and you can play with him or not. If you don't, of course, "Ellen Degeneres" is completely incomprehensible.
So, everybody pretty much knows whether they will like Tyler's music as soon as they hear it, depending on whether or not they're able/willing to get around the initial hazing and into the little gang of his musical world (it probably helps to be an alienated teenager). This is certainly the sort of range of reactions I've seen in the people I've played it for, and in the responses of critics.
The preceding leaves out the rest of OF because, really, they don't do that. Earl Sweatshirt is a lot easier to get - he's just blacking out on some mind-bending technical shit, and Earl/Tyler tracks aren't as anti-listener (because... they're playing a game! cf. Lil B). Domo's Rolling Papers
is a different animal altogether. It's just a really good, interesting-sounding rap album about (mostly) weed.