Tyler Okonma, better known to the world as Tyler, The Creator dropped his seventh studio album “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” June 25. The 16-track long album is just over 50 minutes long.
My expectations for Okonma are high since he delivered fantastic albums that pushed his artistic boundaries with his most previous albums “Flower Boy” and the Grammy winning “IGOR.” While his earlier projects saw Okonma delivering vulgar and raw lyrics with his iconic low voice, Okonma has shown extreme growth and a willingness to incorporate new sounds with his last two albums. The noticeable difference upon listening to “Flower Boy” exemplified Okonma’s willingness to open up more to audiences about his personal love life and his sexuality, while “IGOR” saw Okonma shift away from rapping to a production heavy project which features soul heavy hits like “A BOY IS A GUN” and “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?”
Two years since the release of “IGOR”, the music industry excitedly exploded over the June 17 announcement of “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST.” The rollout for this album was fantastic, especially in an era in the music industry where some artists announce projects that end up being postponed for months with no release date in sight. The fifth track from the album “LUMBERJACK” was released the day prior to the album announcement, and two skits were uploaded to Okonma’s YouTube that give an idea to what the storyline of “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST.”
Before listening to this album, I realized that if Okonma is able to recreate the same quality on this album as his last two previous, “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” would finalize this three-album run as one of the best in contemporary hip-hop.
After a first listen through, this album is at surface level a braggadocious victory lap by Okonma, and in his usual fashion has adopted yet another alter-ego for this album, Tyler Baudelaire. At many points throughout the album, Okonma references his lavish lifestyle that is available to him because of the many successful ventures he is involved in, which he explicitly details on the spoken word track “BLESSED.”
Sonically, this album’s production is phenomenal and showcases Okonma’s abilities as a producer. This natural knack of his really stands out on “WUSYANAME,” which sees a verse from Baton Rouge native NBA YoungBoy and backing vocals provided by Ty Dolla $ign. If you would have asked me a month ago if I thought Tyler, The Creator and NBA YoungBoy would make a song together, much less a good song, I would have said there is no chance for the two very different artists to collaborate successfully. After hearing the final product of their craftmanship, I can gladly say I was wrong.
This collaboration with YoungBoy also reveals an interesting anecdote about the album, and that is the prevalence of Louisiana raised artists on this project. Besides YoungBoy, New Orleans native Lil’ Wayne delivers the best guest verse of the album on “HOT WIND BLOWS,” which is one of my favorite tracks off the album. Another Louisiana-raised artist who makes an unofficial appearance on the album is Okonma’s long time collaborator Frank Ocean, who was raised in New Orleans after moving there from California when he was four. Ocean makes an appearance talking on the telephone at the end of “LEMONHEAD.”
Throughout the project Okonma alludes to a sadness stemming from a failed relationship, and this is fully laid out for the audience on “WILSHIRE,” an almost nine-minute-long voyage through Okonma’s memories of falling in love with a very special woman. Unfortunately for Okonma, this particular woman is involved in a relationship with a friend of his, and the drum-heavy track continues as Okonma stoically navigates the complexities of the love triangle. Okonma refers to this relationship, and how perfect this woman is for him, many times throughout the album, most notably on the final verse of “CORSE”.
For those who do not know, on all of Okonma’s previous albums the tenth track has always been two songs in one. This is continued on “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” with the nearly ten-minute melodic marathon “SWEET / I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE,” which features vocals from R&B artists Brent Faiyaz and Fana Hues. The piano backed transition works perfectly with connecting the two parts of this song, and the lyrical contents consists of Okonma’s appreciation and contemplation of his unnamed love interest.
When put all together, this album is phenomenal. Some of the top tracks for me personally must be “MANIFESTO,” which sees Okonma reconnect with Domo Genesis, who was my personal favorite member of Okonma’s collective Odd Future. Other amazing tracks were “JUGGERNAUT,” which feature one of Lil Uzi Vert’s best verses in recent times, but more importantly sees Pharrell Williams deliver a top-tier verse that, to be frank, nobody expected. The song that it seemed like Okonma felt most comfortable rapping on was “MASSA”, and the drums featured throughout are exceptionally complimentary alongside Okonma’s cadence on the track.
I very much enjoyed this album, and for me it lived up to the expectation that I had set for it. It was experimental enough production and sampling wise to create intrigue while still delivering the elements of his past that I have always enjoyed. Also, the continual enthusiastic adlibbing by DJ Drama made the album immediately better. It is of my personal belief that this is the best three-album run since Kanye’s “The College Dropout,” “Late Registration” and “Graduation.”
The full album “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” can be found now on all streaming platforms.