Reminiscing about the old days, let's say 2015, when Tyler, The Creator announced some sort of gathering, there would be a line around the street, screaming fans (per usual) and a very rare sighting of security. Today in the year 2019, Tyler announces a gathering after a four year ban from the UK and there is a compound full of screaming fans, people scaling the gates and it eventually gets shut down by the police.
To the loyal fan that has been queuing up at his concerts and pop up shops since 2012, this was extremely out of the ordinary. Never had a Tyler event even involved the police. He even rented out the Prince Charles Cinema in Leicester Square in 2015, and that went as smooth as smooth sailing could be.
It makes us loyal fans reach a two-part conclusion: Firstly, Tyler gatherings will never be the same again because secondly, he doesn’t realise how blatantly more popular he’s become.
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Up until his ban, a yearly show and meet and greet/pop up shop was almost tradition for Tyler with his visits to the UK. During his unintended hiatus to the UK, his popularity has increased to a point where he wasn’t even aware.
With the lyric “rape a pregnant bitch, and tell my friends I had a threesome”, still permanently etched in people’s brains, particularly Theresa May, Tyler was once considered a menace to society. That and the raging mosh pits that took place at his shows, you would get the frequent civilian who thinks he was the most irresponsible and reckless individual alive. Once again, particularly Theresa May.
Fair enough, that lyric would make anyone come to a screeching stop whilst listening to it, but that was the point. He intended to shake the table hosting politically correct music critics and artists alike. But further listening and following Tyler on social media, you come to a realisation that this man is incredibly smart, passionate and aggressively motivating.
A character who is so greatly feared and “fosters hatred with views that seek to provoke others to terrorist acts” - Theresa May’s words, not ours - surely shouldn’t be capable of these things, right?
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Inspiring and encouraging his fans to not be concerned about what others think of them as well as following their own passions, he became a leader and his devoted fans lingered on his every word. With lyrics and visuals launching him into the spotlight, he was able to do unimaginable things such as create two syndicated TV shows (Loiter Squad, The Jellies), along with producing a documentary series on Viceland (Nuts + Bolts). There’s also the collaborations with Vans and Converse and let’s not forget the annual sold out Camp Flog Gnaw festival taking place in Los Angeles.
But where has this sudden surge of enormous success emerged from? After the release of his third studio album ‘Cherry Bomb’, he launched the Golf Media subscription app with exclusive shows, interviews, articles and the chances of a Q&A with the man himself.
There’s also the case of artists he’s worked with. He has collaborations with Solange, A$AP Rocky, Rex Orange County, Kali Uchis, ScHoolboy Q, and the late Mac Miller. With that repertoire of artists, it was almost inevitable that he wouldn’t gain more fans.
Let’s also add that he was featured on the soundtrack for The Grinch. Now he’s in with the children and almost appealing to parents. With these ventures taking place over the course of his ban, a much larger audience was awaiting his return than he expected.
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Tyler’s return to the UK was a huge shock to everyone, including Clash. An innovator who began the pop-up shop fad and amplified the merchandise industry, his return caused Instagram and Twitter to go into frenzy mode asking when and how his ban was lifted.
With the release of his latest album ‘IGOR’, projected to debut at number one on the Billboard 200, there’s no doubt he would want to give the fans what they’ve been waiting for and to expect the unexpected - which, as it turns out, was a roadblock event in Peckham.
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Tyler, The Creator will play Brixton Academy, London on September 16th and 17th.
Words: Debbie Ijaduola
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