Tyler Gregory Okonma (born March 6, 1991), better known by his stage name Tyler, The Creator, is an American rapper and music video director. Born in Ladera Heights, California, he rose to prominence as the leader and co-founder of the alternative hip hop collective Odd Future and has rapped on and produced songs for nearly every Odd Future release. Okonma also creates all the artwork for the group's releases and said in an interview with radio presenter DJ Semtex, that he designs all the group's clothing and other merchandise as well. After releasing his debut album Goblin under XL Recordings, in April 2011, he signed a joint venture deal for him and his label Odd Future Records, with RED Distribution and Sony Music Entertainment. Following that he released his second studio album Wolf, which was met with generally positive reviews and debuted at number three on the US Billboard 200 selling 90,000 copies in its first week. He also has his own clothing company, called Golf Wang, started in 2011.
Okonma was born in Ladera Heights, California, to a Nigerian father and a mother of African-American and white Canadian descent. He has said that he has never met his father, and spent his early life living in the communities of Ladera Heights and Hawthorne, California. At the age of seven, he would take the cover out of an album's case and create covers for his own imaginary albums – including a tracklist with song lengths – before he could even make music. At the age of 14, he taught himself to play the piano. In his 12 years of schooling, he attended 12 different schools in the Los Angeles and Sacramento areas. He worked at FedEx for just under two weeks, and Starbucks for over two years.
Bastard and Goblin (2009–11)
On December 25, 2009, Tyler self-released his first mixtape, Bastard. The mixtape was eventually ranked 32nd on Pitchfork Media's list of the Top Albums of 2010. On February 11, 2011, Tyler released the music video for "Yonkers," the first single from his second album, Goblin, which was released May 10, 2011. The video has received attention from several online media outlets. An extended version with a third verse can be purchased on iTunes.
After the release of "Yonkers," Tyler announced that he had signed a one-album deal with XL Recordings. Tyler and fellow OF member Hodgy Beats made their television debut on February 16, 2011 when they performed "Sandwitches" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. On March 16, Tyler and Hodgy performed "Yonkers" and "Sandwitches" on the 2011 mtvU Woodie Awards, being joined by other members of Odd Future during "Sandwitches". Goblin was released on May 10, 2011. During an interview with Tyler for Interview, Waka Flocka Flame expressed his interest in collaborating with the Odd Future frontman to direct a music video for him.
Wolf and Loiter Squad (2012–14)
Tyler first mentioned the album in early 2010 saying that he would have an album titled Wolf. In early 2011 he told fans through his Formspring account that his third album would be called Wolf and it is scheduled to be released in May 2012. The album will continue Tyler's sessions with his fictional therapist, Dr. TC, as hinted by the title track on his first album, Bastard, in which Dr. TC says "this is the first of three sessions..." Tyler's third album Wolf, released on April 2, 2013, contains the instrumentals that Tyler has been making since the age of 15. In August 2011, Tyler said that the album will be more focused on beats and have less rapping.
During the time fans have been in waiting for Wolf, Tyler performed several guest verses for other artists, notably "Trouble on My Mind" by GOOD Music artist Pusha T, "Martians vs. Goblins by Game (also featuring Lil Wayne), "I'ma Hata" by DJ Drama (also featuring Waka Flocka Flame and D-Bo), the title track from fellow Odd Future member Domo Genesis' collaboration album with The Alchemist, No Idols, and "Blossom & Burn" by Trash Talk (also featuring Hodgy Beats). Tyler also co-produced the song "666" from MellowHype's third album Numbers, which featured Mike G. Tyler won Best New Artist for "Yonkers" at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. In an interview with DJ Semtex, he confirmed that he will handle all the production on his upcoming album, except one song produced by Left Brain. This was how the production on Goblin was dealt with.
Tyler initially announced in early 2011, after Los Angeles hip hop collective Odd Future announced that they will get their own TV show called Loiter Squad. It wasn't until September 8, 2011 that the show was finally confirmed as a 15-minute live action show composed of various sketches, man on the street segments, pranks and music made by OF. Dickhouse Productions, the production partnership that created Jackass, is scheduled to produce the show. The show premiered on March 25, 2012. Tyler has also directed music videos, acted in two roles, and also done work as a graphic artist.
On February 14, 2013, OFWGKTA uploaded a video to their YouTube account, which includes L-Boy skydiving and stating that Wolf will be released on April 2, 2013. The same day Tyler would reveal the three album covers via his Instagram. Through March and April Tyler will tour North America and Europe on the Wolf Tour. The first single from the album was released on February 14, 2013, titled "Domo23" along with the music video which features cameos from Domo Genesis, Earl Sweatshirt, Jasper Dolphin and Taco Bennett. On February 26, 2013, Tyler performed the songs "Domo23" and "Treehome95" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.
Wolf was released on April 2, 2013 by Odd Future Records and RED Distribution under Sony Music Entertainment. It featured guest appearances by Frank Ocean, Mike G, Domo Genesis, Earl Sweatshirt, Left Brain, Hodgy Beats, Pharrell, Casey Veggies and Erykah Badu. The album was produced solely by Tyler, The Creator, except for the final track "Lone". Along with the lead single "Domo23", music videos were filmed for "Bimmer", "IFHY" and "Jamba". Upon release the album was met with generally positive reviews and debuted at number three on the Billboard 200 selling 90,000 copies in its first week.
Cherry Bomb (2015–present)
On April 9, 2015, Tyler released a new song entitled "Fucking Young" to the official OFWGKTA YouTube page along with a music video and short preview of another song entitled "Deathcamp". Tyler announced the same day that the songs will be featured on an upcoming album entitled Cherry Bomb due for release on April 13, 2015. Tyler announced via his twitter account that the album is to feature Charlie Wilson, Chaz Bundick and Cole Alexander from Black Lips. Two days later, Tyler performed the songs "Fucking Young" and "Deathcamp" for the first time at Coachella music festival. During the set, Tyler notably criticized VIP members in the audience, of which many were celebrities, and mocked television personality Kendall Jenner, telling her "fuck you", to which Jenner retaliated by "flipping the bird".
Tyler's fourth album Cherry Bomb was released digitally on April 13, 2015, through Tyler's own label Odd Future Records, with physical copies of the album, featuring five different album covers, set to be released on April 28, 2015. The album features performances from notable artists such as Kanye West, Lil Wayne and Schoolboy Q. The album will be supported with a world tour through North America, Europe and Asia, beginning at Coachella music festival on April 11, 2015 and ending in Tokyo, Japan in September 2015. Tyler cancelled the Australian leg of his Cherry Bomb World Tour following a campaign by the grassroots organization Collective Shout against the portrayal of women in his music.
On August 26, 2015, Tyler revealed that he had been banned from visiting the UK for "3-5 years," which forced him to cancel a string of tour dates supporting the Cherry Bomb album including the Reading and Leeds Festivals. The reason for the ban comes from lyrics dating back to 2009, as well as the content on his first two albums, Goblin and Bastard. His manager Christian Clancy said they were informed of the ban, via a letter from UK Home Secretary Theresa May. May cited lyrics from the album Bastard, as the reason for the ban though Tyler had toured multiple times in the UK since its release in 2009. Tyler later claimed that he felt he had been treated "like a terrorist" and implied that the ban was racially motivated, stating that "they did not like the fact that their children were idolising a black man".
Tyler has been criticized for his use of homophobic slurs, in particular, his frequent use of the epithet "faggot" in his lyrics and on Twitter. He has denied accusations of homophobia, stating, "I'm not homophobic. I just say faggot and use gay as an adjective to describe stupid shit," and, "I'm not homophobic. I just think faggot hits and hurts people." However, he later said in an interview with MTV about the slurs, "Well, I have gay fans and they don't really take it offensive, so I don't know. If it offends you, it offends you. If you call me a nigger, I really don't care, but that's just me, personally. Some people might take it the other way; I personally don't give a shit." Despite making several remarks that have been taken as homophobic, Tyler, The Creator was among the first to openly support fellow Odd Future member Frank Ocean after publicly revealing a past relationship with another young man.
Tyler has also been criticized for his graphic depictions of violence against women and his misogynistic lyrics. Brent DiCrescenzo of Time Out Chicago writes that rape is a "predominant theme" of Goblin and Hermione Hoby of The Guardian writes that Tyler's "rape and murder fantasies (are) graphic enough to send the vomit rising along with the bile." The Fader tallied 68 uses of the term "bitch" over Goblin's 73 minutes. Responding to Canadian indie pop duo Tegan and Sara's criticism of his lyrics, Tyler tweeted: "If Tegan and Sara need some hard dick, hit me up!"
A series of three commercials for Mountain Dew directed by Tyler created controversy in May 2013, accused of using "racial stereotypes" and "making light of violence against women." In the spots an energy drink-loving goat character called "Felicia the Goat" is consecutively being "scapegoated" in a diner, in prison and on the road. During the 60-second ad in prison, a battered white woman on crutches examines a police line-up consisting of several African American men and one goat, while the goat antagonizes the woman. Syracuse professor and social critic Dr. Boyce Watkins stated that the ad was "arguably the most racist commercial in history". PepsiCo pulled the ad and apologized. Tyler released a statement claiming that the ad was not meant to "spark a controversy about race" and that "it was simply an, again, admittedly absurd story that was never meant to be taken seriously."
- The Odd Future Tape (2008) (with Odd Future)
- Radical (2010) (with Odd Future)
- The OF Tape Vol. 2 (2012) (with Odd Future)
|2011–2013||Late Night with Jimmy Fallon||Himself||2011: Performed "Sandwitches" with Hodgy Beats|
2013: Performed "Treehome95" with Coco O and "Domo23"
|2011||When I Was 17|
|Workaholics||Extra||Episode: "Heist School"|
|Regular Show||Blitz Comet|
|Voice roles (Episode: "Rap It Up")|
|2012||Punk'd||Himself||2 episodes; Season 9, Episodes 2 and 4|
|Ridiculousness||Season 2, Episode 10: Tyler, The Creator & Taco Bennett|
|The Mindy Project||Rapper||Season 1, Episode 10: Mindy's Brother|
|2013||Late Show with David Letterman||Performed "Rusty" with Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt|
|The Arsenio Hall Show|
|Axe Cop||Liborg||2 episodes|
|2015||Black Dynamite||Broto||Season 2, episode 10: "The Wizard of Watts"|
|The Eric André Show||Himself||Season 3, episode 8: "Jimmy Kimmel; Tyler, the Creator"|
|2010||"Bastard"||Tyler, The Creator||Credited as Wolf Haley|
Co-directed by Taco Bennett
|"French!" (featuring Hodgy Beats)|
|2011||"Yonkers"||Credited as Wolf Haley|
|"She" (featuring Frank Ocean)|
|"Bitch Suck Dick" (featuring Jasper Dolphin & Taco)|
|2012||"Rella"||Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis & Tyler, The Creator|
|"NY (Ned Flander)"||Hodgy Beats & Tyler, The Creator|
|"Sam (Is Dead)"||Domo Genesis & Tyler, The Creator|
|2013||"Domo 23/Bimmer"||Tyler, The Creator|
|"Whoa" (featuring Tyler, The Creator)||Earl Sweatshirt|
|"IFHY/Jamba" (featuring Pharrell and Hodgy Beats)||Tyler, The Creator|
|2015||"Fucking Young"||Tyler, the Creator|
Awards and nominations
|2011||O Music Awards||Most Outrageous Tweet||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best New Artist||Won|
|Video of the Year (Yonkers)||Nominated|
|MTV2 Sucker Free Awards||Rookie of the Year||Won|
|Must Follow Artist||Won|
|2013||Grammy Awards||Album of the Year (as featured artist)||Nominated|
|2014||mtvU Woodie Awards||Performing Woodie||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Art Direction (Tamale)||Nominated|
|2015||MTV Video Music Awards||Best Visual Effects (Fucking Young/Death Camp)||Nominated|