Apple Music 100 Best Albums

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Flower Boy

Tyler, The Creator


Embracing the art of emotional bloodletting—and setting rap in a bold new direction.

Even when he was the enfant terrible of underground hip-hop, Tyler, The Creator’s most provocative and irony-soaked albums still provided windows into his anxiety and self-loathing. But his fourth solo album, 2017’s Flower Boy, was the moment Tyler fully embraced his role as bloodletting diarist, stripping away the appeals for shock and fully embracing expressions of lovesickness and loneliness. He emerges as a pan-genre auteur, as likely to spit rhymes as croon in a Pharrell-ian falsetto, landing somewhere at the intersection of hip-hop, neo-soul, and chilled jazz.

In many ways, Flower Boy was prescient about where music was going as a whole, thanks to early appearances from future hitmakers like Steve Lacy and Kali Uchis. Though Tyler surrounds himself with a packed guest list of friends (Frank Ocean), heroes (Pharrell Williams), and rap superstars (A$AP Rocky, Lil Wayne, ScHoolboy Q), Flower Boy is still a deeply personal statement from a one-of-a-kind artist. It just happened to have set hip-hop in a bold new direction.