Matt Hartley unfairly criticised Tyler Okonma in letters last week. It should be known the lyrics Hartley refers to were written by a 19-year-old Tyler and fit into his artistic portrayal of lust, mental illness and heartbreak, as well as the teenage ambition to push boundaries.
The lyrics include a disclaimer, ‘What the f***? I’m speechless, that was…’ In the ten years since his first album Tyler has matured as an artist, designing clothes and directing short films alongside his compositions that have seen the young rapper win a Grammy award.
Personally I lost love for Tyler on an artistic level over the last decade, but that has nothing to do with how he is portrayed in Hartley’s letter. The words show an outstanding lack of nous and contemplation. It is worthwhile listening to Tyler, The Creator’s recent albums to gain an appreciation of why he is being booked by big festivals like Splendour. Always encouraging his fans to think for themselves and value their own unique gifts, the artist had a significant impact on the life of many young people today who looked up to Tyler as a beacon of positivity and artistic flair.
If anyone has followed the rapper’s career they would understand how pivotal a role he has played in bringing homosexuality into the open in Hip Hop culture, which has always had major problems with accepting anything other than heteronormative values.
By no means do I think Tyler, The Creator is the conscious rap king of extra-terrestrial ancient wisdom, but with more young Indigenous rappers on the up and coming this country is in safe hands and I have no doubt Splendour can fill headline spots with some of this land’s talent soon enough.