There’s a handful of eyebrow-raising verses across Tyler, The Creator’s CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST—particularly those from 42 Dugg, Lil Uzi Vert, YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Pharrell, and Lil Wayne—but none of the aforementioned are as surprising as the ones Tyler delivers himself. The Los Angeles-hailing MC, and onetime nucleus of the culture-shifting Odd Future collective, made a name for himself as a preternaturally talented MC whose impeccable taste in streetwear and calls to “kill people, burn shit, fuck school” perfectly encapsulated the angst of his generation. But across CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST, the man once known as Wolf Haley is just a guy who likes to rock ice and collect stamps on his passport, who might whisper into your significant other’s ear while you’re in the restroom. In other words, a prototypical rapper. But in this case, an exceptionally great one. Tyler superfans will remember that the MC was notoriously peeved at his categoric inclusion—and eventual victory—in the 2020 Grammys’ Best Rap Album category for his pop-oriented IGOR. The focus here is very clearly hip-hop from the outset. Tyler made an aesthetic choice to frame CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST with interjections of shit-talking from DJ Drama, founder of one of 2000s rap’s most storied institutions, the Gangsta Grillz mixtape franchise. The vibes across the album are a disparate combination of sounds Tyler enjoys (and can make)—boom-bap revival (“CORSO,” “LUMBERJACK”), ’90s R&B (“WUSYANAME”), gentle soul samples as a backdrop for vivid lyricism in the Griselda mold (“SIR BAUDELAIRE,” “HOT WIND BLOWS”), and lovers rock (“I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE”). And then there’s “RUNITUP,” which features a crunk-style background chant, and “LEMONHEAD,” which has the energy of Trap or Die-era Jeezy. “WILSHIRE” is potentially best described as an epic poem. Giving the Grammy the benefit of the doubt, maybe they wanted to reward all the great rapping he’d done until that point. CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST, though, is a chance to see if they can recognize rap greatness once it has kicked their door in.

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