“Flower Boy” (also marketed as “Scum F— Flower Boy”), is Tyler, the Creator’s fourth studio album. Longtime fans get to witness Tyler’s growth as an artist, while first-time listeners are introduced to the more mature and sincere Tyler, both personally and musically. Tyler, the Creator, once known for his radical behavior through his outspoken lyrics and bold personality, finds himself reconciling his relationship with the public, while not abandoning his diehard fans, by creating his most honest and genuine album to date. On “Flower Boy,” Tyler no longer basks in the exclusion that was created through his Odd Future musical group. Instead he uses his album as a course correction, an outlet to create a beautiful, cohesive album, full of reflection and growth.
“Flower Boy’s” rollout was largely centered around Tyler’s sexuality and his coming out. On “I Ain’t Got Time!,” Tyler confesses, “Next line will have ‘em like “Woah”/I’ve been kissing white boys since 2004.” This standout track, solely for its bold and promiscuous lyrics, offers listeners rhymes that raise the question of Tyler’s sexuality. “Passenger a white boy, look like River Phoenix/ First… happy birthday!/(Vulgarity), yup I’m thirsty.” Throughout the album, there are many lyrics that allude to Tyler’s attraction to white men, which leaves many to believe that Tyler is referring to his lover. “I Ain’t Got Time!” is one of the more popular tracks off “Flower Boy;” but without the daring lyrics centered around Tyler’s sexuality, the track proves to be one of the weaker cuts from the album, likely to be left out, if not for its shocking lyrics.
Though “I Ain’t Got Time!” was musically overshadowed by its lyrics, Tyler, the Creator’s coming out led to some of his most beautiful tracks to date. “Garden Shed,” a standout on the album that serves as an extended metaphor for “being in the closet,” is one of Tyler’s most beautiful musical creations yet. “For the garden/That is where I was hidin’/That was real love I was in/Ain’t no reason to pretend,” Tyler chants, using a garden shed as a representation of his hiding place. Reminiscing about lost friends, Tyler raps about how he assumed his sexuality was all a phase. “All my friends lost/ They couldn’t read the signs” and “Truth is, since a young kid, I thought it was a phase/Thought it’d be like the phrase; ‘poof,’ gone/ But it’s still goin’ on.” Tyler’s raps, Estelle’s sweet vocals and the vibrant orchestrations come together to make “Garden Shed” not only Tyler’s most stunning song on “Flower Boy,” but the most honest song from his discography.
While past Tyler, the Creator albums are known for their bloated production and disorganization, Tyler’s love for unique production pays off on “Flower Boy.” He was able to create some of his most beautiful and cohesive tracks, while continuing to deliver his braggadocios, which are attributed to the acclaim of former projects such as “Bastard” and “Goblin.” With the assistance of A$AP Rocky, “Who Dat Boy” stands out not only for its stellar lyrics, but for its ability to mesh with the other tracks, despite its different lyrical content. “Teeth is glistenin’, Jesus, Christmas/ He just shi–in’ she exquisite, bitches be expensive/ And I don’t even need attention,” A$AP and Tyler rap, as they trade verses, showing each other up on the cars they own and how “fresh” they dress.
The closing tracks on “Flower Boy” make it clear that this is far from an apology album. It is evident that Tyler, the Creator is on a journey for understanding, and he is taking his listeners with him. For a little over the 45-minute mark, Tyler, the Creator touches on all the aspects that shaped the man that he is today- his insecurities, loneliness and failed friendships, all while telling his story and focusing on his growth as an individual and as a musician. “Flower Boy” is not about providing listeners with an explanation for his past decisions, but it is an album of self-discovery and pensiveness, making it Tyler’s most inclusive, graceful album yet.