Rapper, singer, producer, director, designer and writer Tyler, the Creator has returned with his sixth studio album, “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST.” This album follows his most successful release to date, both artistically and commercially, “IGOR,” a love triangle/breakup album that explored touches of R&B, lo-fi and soul. Being that his prior release reached the top of the charts and such commercial success, it begs the question: What is Tyler going to do next? Ingeniously with this new record, Tyler’s not trying to force lightning to strike in the same place twice.
While this tape doesn’t have much of a narrative to it this time around, the album is still very artsy, left field, holistic and outside of the box, all of which are characteristics for a new Tyler, the Creator album. There’s a lot to like about this album from its rollout, and from the beginning of pressing play, moments such as DJ Drama screaming his lungs out are the very reason many individuals are falling in love with this album. The album is like an extravagant dinner party at a huge mansion that Tyler built, and DJ Drama is akin to a crazy centerpiece or wild piece of furniture.
Stylistically with this project, Tyler really brought it back to his Odd Future days, specifically his previous albums, “Wolf” and “Goblin,” but with more maturity from the writing, production and nuance. Being that this album plays like a grimy mixtape, it only makes sense as to why the features on this project from 42 Dugg, Lil Wayne and surprisingly NBA Youngboy who spits an amazing verse on “WUSYANAME” fit the bill. Former Odd Future member, Domo Genesis, also makes an appearance on the track “MANIFESTO,” which serves as a rebuttal to critics of his social media presence.
This album is complex and offers a more intimate look into the life of Tyler, the Creator. He’s a completely different person now than he was in 2011, making his commercial success his new narrative. The opening cut, “SIR BAUDELAIRE,” eases us into this project with layers of horns and plucky melodies as Tyler paints a picture of luxury and refinement. The whole track makes one feel like they are on a boat ride with the beautiful breeze kissing your face. Following this song, we are met with a surplus of heavy hitters. There’s “CORSO,” where Tyler leads with slick one-liners over a flourish of jazzy piano fragments, booming drums and group chants. In terms of concept and meaning, it might not be as deeply layered as anything off of “IGOR,” but in more ways than one, this cut takes listeners back to the foundational elements of hip-hop with clever wordplay, visceral energy and huge instrumentals, all uniquely packaged in a very Tyler way.
One of the major highlights off the album is the track “WUSYANAME,” which gives the feeling of a groovy ‘90s R&B throwback. It’s a seductive, feel-good summertime jam that is perfect to set a romantic mood. The beat has a very sweet but chaotic feel to it as Tyler casually sings and raps over what sounds like a radio snippet of Mint Condition’s “Breakin’ My Heart.” The guest vocals from Ty Dolla $ign were great, but what really stole the show was the surprising feature of NBA Youngboy, who comes off way more passionate and sensible over this kind of production than expected.
Another unique moment on the album comes from the song “HOT WIND BLOWS” as it is packed with dramatic piano and flute samples; it has a real Madlib and Alchemist feel to it. The vibe and the lyrics are so rich you would’ve thought Rick Ross was about to hop on the track, but I will absolutely take Lil Wayne in rare form. He even speeds up his flow at one point by dropping lyrical gems like “wind beneath my wings / desert eagle under my coat.”
Around midway through the album, the ritzy and dreamy feel shifts with the song “MASSA,” where the bass, drums and Tyler’s flow take us back to “Goblin” all over again. This makes sense because the track acts as a meta-moment where Tyler is lyrically explaining his progression, even going into the shifty sound of his third album, “Cherry Bomb,” and how his perspective personally and artistically changed to get him to this point. The track “RUNITUP” acts as the perfect victory lap, although this time around, Tyler is juxtaposing his past with his current success.
Verdict: Overall “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” is great; it’s a project that new and old fans can both appreciate. Hearing him rap again over refined beats as he uses all the new techniques he knows now makes for a great listen for those who wanted a bit more rap compared to his last project. This album is also an excellent listen for anyone that enjoys good production, instrumental nuance and seeing an artist’s growth throughout the entirety of the album.