Los Angeles rapper Tyler, The Creator recently made an appearance at the NPR offices for a Tiny Desk Concert. It was the artist’s first appearance for the video performance series, as well as a first-time night concert for Tiny Desk. Tyler made the request so that his team could professionally light the “stage” themselves. Bathed in various colors depending on the song, he shared some tracks from his new album “Flower Boy” that came out earlier this year.
Colored in shades of pink and blue, Tyler and his band starts out with the song “Boredom.” First released as a single from “Flower Boy,” the song finds the rapper ruminating on such a common problem as boredom, the lyrical delivery restless like his lyrics:
“Boy’s getting’ desperate as hell
Cellular not amusing and I hope someone will
Message me with some plans that are amusing as well
Cause I haven’t seen the exit of these walls, but fall this morning
(Morning, morning, morning, morning)
Got some calls I can handle
But nowhere for performance
My stomach angry and yelling’
I need some food, I go order
But I hate eating solo
Need someone we can loiter in parking lots
And sunsets at the border, yeah”
“Boredom” has an insatiable beat and Tyler plays perfectly off of his vocalists, rapping and expressing himself in his own idiosyncratic style, one that has launched him into the spotlight over the past few years.
Two of Tyler’s songs from “Flower Boy” included Frank Ocean, known by many for his groundbreaking 2016 release “Blonde.” Ocean and Tyler have been friends for many years, so it’s no surprise to find Ocean’s voice on “Where This Flower Blooms” and “911/Mr. Lonely.” He doesn’t play those songs here, instead working with a full band and the angelic stylings of two backup singers.
For their second song Tyler and his band play “See You Again,” also from “Flower Boy.” For this one the group is bathed in red and a surreal white glow. With Tyler on keyboard, him and his vocalist begin a groovy song that oozes with dreams and desire.
“You live in my dream state
We’re lowkey my fantasy
I stay in reality
You live in my dream state
Any time I count sheep
That’s the only time we make up, make up
You exist behind my eyelids, my eyelids
Now I don’t wanna wake up”
The song gains steam when Tyler erupts into the rap part. His flow matches up with the beatwork with expert precision. The artist shows his neo soul and R&B influences while also giving us a dose of what makes his music so fascinating: His unique approach to the rap genre and a vibrant personality that so easily shines through his music.
After the show Tyler doesn’t let the festivities end. He announces that him and the band will be announcing their names and where they’re from as well as a “fun fact” about them. Tyler’s fun fact is that he’s part Siberian. No kidding. Throughout this the audience roars with laughter, Tyler revealing himself as a born entertainer even after the show is finished.
You can find Tyler, the Creator touring the United States until March. His album “Flower Boy” is out now.