Tyler has dropped Cherry Bomb.
He’s pumped too, hyping it up on twitter ever since it dropped last night. Anyways, this is kind of a surprise album cause Tyler only announced it a few days back, but it’s definitely been heavily anticipated in those few days. The fact that Tyler released 2 dope tracks to go along with the preorder was a good luck too. Anyways, let’s see what Tyler, The Creator has got for us in the Cherry Bomb review.
On Cherry Bomb, Tyler clearly puts his production over his rap, sometimes completely drowning himself out. The result is an album that jumps from one genre to a completely genre back to the first one again from track-to-track, and sometimes even within tracks. A lot of the choices make you think, but it seems like Tyler could have pulled together a stronger concept album. The highlights are damn good, but sometimes it’s just average, and I like how he does the smoother production over how he does the darker production.
For its variety and ability to make you think without quite hitting its full potential, I give Cherry Bomb a:
The album starts with DEATHCAMP, which was one of the 2 tracks Tyler dropped early. It’s got a dark metal edge to it, sounding a bit like Tyler doing Yeezus. He comes into the album spitting in case folks were worried he was only doing instrumentals or something (hey, there was 1 on Wolf.) Tyler confirms he still ain’t following the rules, and proves it by switching the beat the fuck up a bit. The intro ends with Tyler saying welcome to deathcamp and welcome to hell over some screams before he sings a little bit.
BUFFALO starts with the same sample from Numbers On The Board (shouts to Pusha T) and Tyler spitting over an equally jarring beat. He’s still spitting hard, but he’s also still shouting out Rugrats. The main difference is now he can talk about mansions. BUFFALO starts out like a track, but also has a skit feel at times and includes a Kanye shoutout. It’s all over the place, but it just doesn’t seem that focused.
First class but feeling like coach
PILOT continues the drum intros before going into a dark, distorted beat with some piercing synth. On all the tracks so far it’s been kind of hard to hear Tyler, almost as if he’s trying to make you turn it up or listen close or something. Anyways, he gets drowned out by the production a few times, and that was probably his intent. He even tweeted right after the release that he hoped people would reach out to him to produce for them, so maybe this is his production demo. It’s still got that Odd Future feel at its heart though, like a nostalgic carnival that’s still pretty creepy, and Tyler talking about how he’s in first class but he feels like coach. It’s a more successful Tyler, but still basically the same dude.
RUN is only a minute long, and is prefaced with Tyler saying “I don’t wanna…” This has the feel of one of the old OF mixtape tracks, going for a sped up club track with a real electric feel. His friends call him preachy, and Tyler said it was a PSA to friends that started gangbanging. Tyler’s staying personal, moody and introspective on this shit, but that’s where he’s at his best.
Wings and jazz
Then we got FIND YOUR WINGS, which is bringing it back to where PILOT left off, though not musically. It starts with a smooth jazzy feel like you haven’t heard on a hip hop album since To Pimp A Butterfly. This is a real dope instrumental, and Tyler’s definitely trying to flex his production a little bit. Even when he switches it up halfway through, it stays smooth and brings in a little singing. It’s in the background though, so it’s almost like he’s sampling himself. Folks who know Tyler are familiar with his tracks like this (Treehome95, for one), and some of them think this is his best shit. He definitely knows what he’s doing though when he’s not rocking the mic.
CHERRY BOMB is the 6th track, and starts real heavy with some hard guitar and pounding. This is some late night underground club banger shit, and it’s so fucking distorted that it’s like being 2 blocks away from the back of a Tyler show, and you can hear about as much of the lyrics as if you were. It goes pretty hard though, and even though it’s not exactly my shit it still bumps. It also shows off Tyler’s versatility compared to FIND YOUR WINGS, and how he pretty just makes whatever type of music he’s feeling like making at the time. This is the shit you play when you’re trynna start a riot, for example. At least until the end when it smooths out into some slightly-less distorted R&B. I’m starting to feel what Tyler’s doing with this album, and it’s an interesting concept, even when it melts down into nothing but the radio.
BLOW MY LOAD brings it back to what you’d expect from Tyler, with a slow rap aimed at this girl who he’s admitting he’s gonna come quick too. Then that slows down and drops out into a quick blowjob before some 80s cop show sounding music comes back in. Tyler’s definitely messing around with shit a lot, and he’s trying to keep this shit eclectic, even including a GOLF radio shoutout at the end.
Taking it to the next level
2SEATER starts smooth with some Elton John-sounding piano and Tyler talking bout his 2 seater and how he used to piss in pots but pisses on walls now. This beat is the best yet on the album, and kind of reminds me of Rusty (from Wolf) before it busts out a little more jazz. Then we get some strings, and Tyler slips into a singing role about how he gets a rush when this girl’s in his car, and sometimes it’s too much. Then he starts spitting but the jazz is right along with him, and all of a sudden Tyler’s tearing it the fuck up. 2SEATER is easily the best track on the album so far, and I feel confident saying that halfway through the track.
Then Tyler spits some more nostalgic shit about when Left Brain had a high top fade. Then his girl turns it down (Tyler doesn’t like it) and she asks him to roll the window up, before he says “but I love it when your hair…” and then we get some singing saying “blows… when it blows… I love it when your hair blows.” This shit is smooth but keeps you listening to the rap/singing and not zoning out. It’s still just a bit unfocused at times, but Tyler’s being mad ambitious and it mostly pays off, especially on this track. The music drops out for the last minute and we get a little skit and a little shit talking.
THE BROWN STAINS OF DARKEESE LATIFAH PART 6-12 (REMIX) keeps it pretty minimalistic, but it’s got this weird scuttling sound going on it, before it drops into a slow banger. This is better than most of the times he’s gone dark and a little distorted on CHERRY BOMB, and the production’s simple but has all it needs. Schoolboy Q takes this track to the next level with his verse, and it’s good to hear another voice on the album, just to keep the vocals as varied as the beats are.
FUCKING YOUNG/PERFECT is the 10th track, and the 2nd one we’ve already heard. It’s also one of the best tracks on the album so far, bringing it back to smooth R&B with a slightly Tyler edge and featuring Charlie Wilson and Kali Uchis. It’s some real shit about the police knocking at his door and not being sure what to do about it and this girl being perfect but way too fucking young. Like Tyler’s best shit, it’s got that innocent sound to it until you dig a little deeper. Then the switch-up halfway through takes it back to FIND YOUR WINGS territory. People will probably always remember Tyler as edgy and dark, but damn can he lay down some smooth shit.
Tyler, Yeezy and Weezy
Then we got SMUCKERS featuring Kanye West and Lil Wayne. It starts out smooth again with some piano and Tyler mumbling over it before starting by claiming money ain’t the motive. He talks about how they say he’s nutty and like peanut butter, in case you were wondering about the name. This is another minimalistic beat with a jagged feel, even when it brings in some nice melody. Kanye comes in singing a bit before kicking a verse about how he’s crazy but that’s the best thing going for him and how he wants to turn tanks to playgrounds. It’s a verse about blackness too, with Kanye even saying he’s the “free nigga archetype.” Kanye’s verse is dope, but more importantly brings some vocal energy to the album.
The beat goes back to piano and Tyler mumbling before breaking through the clouds again with a little shine. Weezy comes in for a little bit before Tyler takes over and they go back and forth a little bit, which is real dope for Tyler. Wayne kicks a solid verse, but the overall sound with him and Tyler going back and forth and the classic-sounding beat is definitely dope. It very slowly fades out, but stays interesting to the end with the horns. SMUCKERS is one of the best tracks on the album, and Yeezy and Weezy are definitely part of that.
KEEP DA O’S keeps the features going with Pharrell jumping in this time. The beat’s real interesting with a sped-up original hip hop sample, so Tyler’s just innovating all over the place. Tyler’s talking about how he’s got the whips, got the hoes, got the ice, got the clothes and he’s gonna keep the o’s. Then we get a little choir backing and shit’s real smooth all of a sudden, sounding like it’s the soundtrack to the nicest lounge in the world. It goes back to mechanical and jarring before it ends, though, and ends with “what the fuck has gotten into me, man?”
OKAGA, CA finishes off the album with another 6 and a half minute track (like 2SEATER and FUCKING YOUNG/PERFECT) and it starts real smooth too. This has a spacier, more atmospheric vibe though, and starts with singing about wanting to go back to California. It stays pretty even the whole time, with Tyler adding in and taking away a little bit here and there. If he’s trying to show off his production, he’s definitely getting the job done on the smoother, R&B-sounding shit. I don’t feel the darker, more guitar-including parts of the album as much, but I feel the rest. Tyler goes back to the wings on his back, indicating a loose theme in the album about taking flight.
This whole album seems to be a bit all over the place, but it seems like it’s mostly got 2 sides: the smooth shit and the less-smooth shit. Tyler definitely does a better job with the smooth shit, and in my opinion should have organized the album better, maybe splitting up the darker shit and the more R&B shit. He also jumps around maybe a little too much on some tracks, but it definitely pays off and works sometimes, so I can’t blame him. Anyways, this album definitely feels like it has a concept and like Tyler’s trying to say something (maybe about fame or how his life is changing or how hip hop is changing), but it’s kind of hard to tell exactly what.
Dope, but could have been doper.
Luckily Tyler’s still young, so he’s got a lot of room to explore and see what works. Most of the time, Cherry Bomb works, but it doesn’t quite reach you except for on a few tracks where you really feel it. Tyler’s definitely got a lot bouncin around in his head, and it seems like he listens to pretty much all music out there. His discography is already incredibly varied, but Cherry Bomb is mostly a sign of his potential, even though sometimes it straight bumps.