Love him or hate him, Tyler, The Creator enjoyed an undeniable breakout moment on Sunday night (Aug. 28), when he was named Best New Artist at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. Snagging the prize for the macabre clip of his single "Yonkers," Tyler took the stage with the rest of his Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All cohorts and delivered a breathless, foul-mouthed acceptance speech that he says was not planned at all.
"I didn't write a speech because I was nervous," the 20-year-old rapper, who was the first hip-hop performer to win Best New Artist since 50 Cent's win in 2003, tells Billboard.com. "I cursed a lot, and I was really excited because I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what I was doing. I was just up there. It was weird, like, I still don't know what happened."
Tyler's "Yonkers" video was up for two awards at the 2011 VMAs, including Video of the Year (it lost out to Katy Perry's "Firework" clip.) Leading up to the ceremony, Tyler admits that he didn't think his chances were great to beat Wiz Khalifa, Big Sean, Foster the People and Kreayshawn for Best New Artist.
"Big Sean has a song with Chris Brown ["My Last"], and it's pretty big, and Wiz Khalifa had a really, really big song ["Black and Yellow"]," says the rapper. "I felt like they would have beat me. But I don't know, I won, so I guess I owe it to all the fans who were voting for me nonstop. That's pretty sick."
Since Odd Future started gaining national attention late last year, Tyler, The Creator -- the group's de facto leader -- has received both positive attention (his second album, "Goblin," debuted at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 in May) and heated criticism (GLAAD and Tegan and Sara's Sara Quin have publicly decried his use of homophobic and misogynistic lyrics). On Sunday night, however, the rapper was fully enjoying his newfound success by meeting some of his favorite music stars and celebrities.
"I [saw] Selena Gomez in person," says Tyler. "Zoe Saldana freaking grabbed my cheeks and told me to watch my mouth… I met Drake too. He seems like a fun guy. Like, everyone there has on this, 'I gotta be the cool guy the whole time,' so they don't let themselves go and enjoy themselves, but Drake was the one person who came up and was joking around, kinda goofy. He seems cool."
Another one of Tyler's favorites? Justin Bieber, who took home Best Male Video for "U Smile."
"I'm not too big on collaborations, [but] it'd be pretty cool if Justin Bieber asked," says Tyler. "I want to do some beats for his next album though. He seems fun to kick it with… I just imagine him being on the 'She' song. I just seeing him say what Frank [Ocean] said, when he was singing. I could see that with Justin Bieber's voice for sure. I don't know, it might happen, it probably won't. It's on my bucket list."
Until then, Odd Future is taking a quick break from touring before kicking off the Golf Wang tour on Sept. 28 in San Diego. Tyler says that he's hoping to spend some time shooting a follow-up music video to "Yonkers" and his most recent "Goblin" single, "She."
"I just like shooting videos," he says. "If I could do one for every fucking song I would, but I'll have to figure it out."