From the opening rant against Hip-Hop blogs to the final perfect album summary of Inglorious, Bastard is not your typical Hip-Hop album. The basis of the album is a conversation between Tyler and his therapist after he's been sent there for misbehaving at school. What comes from this set-up is not only some incredibly personal verses but also some masterful characterisation to the point where you aren't exactly sure who Tyler, The Creator is.
The most obvious thing to comment on about Bastard is Tyler's voice. Rapping in a raspy low voice well beyond his years, Tyler spits pure fury from beginning to end. This anger is not only seen in his voice but his lyrics are spilling over the sides with it. He raps with a fairly simple, almost Gucci Mane like, swag but what he doesn't have in flow he more than makes up for with his lyrics. Bastard is full to the brim with really impressive verses, especially for an eighteen year old. However, as is well chronicled about Bastard, graphic violence is never far from Tyler's rhymes. Whether it is drug use or casual references to rape, Bastard is rarely an easy listen and is always shocking. However, this graphic violence helps set the darkness of this album and helps set the deep, dark thoughts in this character speaking to his therapist. The source of this anger becomes clear on album opener, Bastard, where Tyler raps "I just want my father's e-mail so I can tell him how much I fucking hate him in detail." Having never known his father, it becomes clear that the Bastard of the title is in fact Tyler. He gets more and more honest about his father until the final track, Inglorious, where he discusses how difficult it was having a mother fill both parent rolls and summarises that his father just "didn't fucking like him much". This transaction from anger to sadness over his father even makes this album a surprisingly emotional journey at times.
This album is not all dark however, with its humour shining through regularly such as his calling out of "40 year old rappers rapping about Gucci" on opener Bastard. Many of Tyler's Odd Future buddies make an appearance on this album including his younger brother Earl Sweatshirt who brings some fantastic verses to the album. However, as great and as many Odd Future guest slots as there are on this album, no one steals the show from Tyler throughout. Something that I haven't really stumbled upon so far is just how great Tyler's beats are. Entirely produced by Tyler himself, the beats range from tracks with nothing but an incredibly moving piano piece (Bastard) to pumping dirty beats (French). The lo-fi rawness of all the beats throughout is something I can only really compare to Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) which is probably the best compliment an album can get. What you end up with is a Hip-Hop album which sounds experimental while never really leaving it's roots as a Hip-Hop album.
While this album is lyrically shocking and it is sometimes difficult to see through this, Tyler's raw talent shines through regularly. Tyler, The Creator really is the shining hope of his, much-hyped, Hip-Hop collective OFWGKTA (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All). While, Tyler, The Creator and the rest of the collective seem to solely survive on the blogosphere at the moment, with this much raw talent at such a young age, there seems to only be so long until they burst out of this scene and make a name for themselves. Here's hoping that Tyler's graphic and shocking lyrics don't hold him back in this department because this album is really just a sad tale about a boy upset and angry about never having known his father. This really is one of the best Hip-Hop albums of the year.