Image: Flower Boy Cover Art (https://pbs.twimg.com/media/DEEg9ZmUIAAcdEb.jpg)
Recently rap heads and hip hop sites have been abuzz with rumours that Tyler The Creator will be coming out on his upcoming album. Although Tyler’s known to be the rap scene’s biggest troll, leaked lyrics from “Garden Shed” off his upcoming album “Flower Boy” suggest this may actually be true. On “Garden Shed” Tyler pens:
“Garden shed for the garcons / Them feelings I was guarding”.
As always, when in need of detailed lyrical analysis genius.com is your best friend, the rap heads over there worked out that the garden shed is a representation of a hiding place, drawing “parallels to the phrase “coming out of the closet,” and also the word “garcon” is French for boys. As the song continues, he continues to touch upon his sexuality, and his experience coming to terms with it, which is practically the main theme of the song. In one line he says:
“Thought it would be like the Frank poof, gone / But, it’s still going on,”
The “Frank poof, gone” refers to how “Frank “poofed,” or disappeared, after Channel Orange dropped, and didn’t release any new music until 2016’s Endless and Blonde”, also the word “poof” is a play on words on how Frank seemed to vanish without a word and also with the term “poof, a derogatory term for homosexual men.
Initially, when I heard about this I didn’t think much of it. I wouldn’t say I was surprised because I’m not exactly the biggest fan of Tyler musically, I’ve never really had a chance to have a good long look at his catalogue of music for me to have any type of reaction; probably a couple listens an album so I wasn’t sure if this type of content was normal for him. I mainly just downloaded his albums in support of him as a person, as I think he’s just a funny guy. When the news broke out, I pretty much thought to myself “Why is this news?” or rather “Why is this such a big deal?”. In 2017 someone coming out is pretty normal I thought. It wasn’t until I watched the episode of Everyday Struggle on Complex News where I realised why this is in fact such a big deal. DJ Academics had a point where he quite rightly stated that society and the Hip Hop community are two completely different groups. Society is decades ahead of the rap community in terms of acceptance of pretty much anything, which unfortunately the community proves right at every chance they get. For example, the communities response when news of Kamaiyah holding a spot on the XXL list came out or even when Lil Uzi Vert wore a top that didn’t adhere to the standard ideal of what a rapper should and shouldn’t wear. The Hip Hop community is always quick to respond, and the response isn’t always the best at times.
Homosexuality in the black community in general, let alone in the Hip Hop community, isn’t looked at in the most positive light and in the case of a rapper, who is viewed by many as in the upper echelon of the community, being homosexual is something that I imagine would be looked down on greatly. However, in Tyler’s case I don’t really know how people are going to respond, if these rumours are true. Although the community is still decades behind society in terms of just general acceptance of pretty much everything, they have still made some progress compared to say 10 years ago. In Fashion for example, if people dressed how they do now 10 or 15 years ago, the community wouldn’t have accepted it at all. All it took was for one individual to come in and change that. When Young Thug first started buzzing he was often laughed at for how he dressed, people would call him “feminine” or call him “gay”, but he didn’t care and carried on doing him, he rode the negatives and continued to make hit after hit. After a while, his music was so great the community just had to accept him and that acceptance made way for fashion to change, or rather evolve. I think this could be the same case for Tyler. Tyler is an extremely popular artist with a massive and incredible loyal fanbase. If someone as big as Tyler comes out as gay, I think it could potentially shake up the Hip Hop scene, and it all depends on how good this album is. Like Young Thug did, if Tyler silences the haters through sheer talent and black excellence he could make way for a whole new type of Hip Hop, or at least much more accepting community. At the end of the day no matter your stance on things like sexuality, if you’re a lover of Hip Hop, you’re a lover of good music, and that love won’t change just because someone isn’t exactly how you’d like them to be.
As I said before, I’m not the biggest fan of Tyler musically, but I’ll definitely show support and download and listen to this album. Not only in support of him, but because I don’t think I’ve ever heard a rap album that explores a rappers sexuality, which isn’t really a good thing on my part. As a straight black male, I’m excited to see the response to this album and to see what this does for Tyler’s Career and the future of Hip Hop. I think 2017 is the best time for this to happen to the culture, anything that helps the culture evolve is a positive in my opinion.