Tyler, the Creator didn’t thank his sold-out crowd at New York City’s Terminal 5 on Monday night (Nov. 13) for the sake of formality — he did it because they helped restore his faith in his own songwriting.
The 26-year-old rapper born Tyler Okonma revealed that he thought he only had “three good songs” prior to releasing his latest album, Flower Boy, in July. “I spent that whole summer re-teaching myself how to write songs,” he told his 3,000-strong audience. “So the fact that you guys like Flower Boy really means a lot.”
That should’ve been obvious already. Flower Boy garnered nearly unanimous critical acclaim upon its release and peaked at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart, his best showing to date. More importantly, though, it consummated Tyler’s shift from shock-rap provocateur to melodic mastermind, capable of unpacking topics like crippling loneliness, unrequited love and fluid sexuality on both mellow jazz excursions and booming trap bangers.
see you again is my favorite song i made i think
— Tyler, The Creator (@tylerthecreator) July 22, 2017
Tyler crammed more than half his 70-minute set with Flower Boy tracks, determined to show the breadth of his talents. Crewmembers tore a curtain off a platform in the middle of the Terminal 5 stage, revealing the MC, dressed in a green GOLF snapback, white collared shirt and puffy floral pants. He muttered the lyrics to set opener “Where This Flower Blooms,” his gangly silhouette barely visible amidst clouds of smoke, and lunged across the stage as the chorus hit, the audience flailing and shouting in unison: “I rock, I roll, I bloom, I grow.” “I don’t have nothin’ to say so I’mma just play onstage for an hour. Take your photos now,” the rapper said after the first song, posing for the adolescent fans hugging the barricade. “Alright, now put your phone away and enjoy the show in real time. No one cares about your Snapchat stories anyway.”