Hip-Hop

Tyler, the Creator Insists He's a Rapper First: 'Don't Let the Wig Get It Twisted'

Tyler, the Creator
Paras Griffin/Getty Images for BET

Tyler, the Creator attends the BET Awards 2021 at Microsoft Theater on June 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, California.

Coming off of a critically acclaimed release June 25 for his DJ Drama-assisted album Call Me If You Get Lost, Tyler, the Creator was all smiles trekking down the 2021 BET Awards red carpet in his pink ushanka hat, two suitcases in tow, on Sunday (June 27). By coincidence, he and Drama graced the carpet at the same time, the two embracing and gushing over their mixtape-style album.

"Tyler reached out to me last summer ... he always said it was a dream of his to do a Gangsta Grillz [tape]," DJ Drama tells Billboard. He went on to emphasize "how much of a hundred percenter [Tyler] is when it comes to production, writing, composing [and] videos."

Drama recalled flying to L.A. every few months during the pandemic to work on the album alongside Tyler. The mixtape mainstay also spoke on trusting Tyler with the placement of his vocals over the album's tracks. "Normally I let someone give me the music and I do my one-two over it," he explains. "[But Tyler] has it all in his head. I love people like that."

A step away from IGOR, Tyler's 2019 popified project Call Me If You Get Lost leans into the Californian MC's rap roots, further amplified by Drama's classic ad libs and narration. "I just love rap so godd--n much ... listening to [The] Dedication with [Lil] Wayne, and ‘We Got It For Cheap’ with Clipse, they really shaped me into who I am," says Tyler. "I think a lot of people forget that I'm a rapper because I’m so multifaceted. I just had to remind everyone, 'Don't let the wig get it twisted, y’all n---as can’t f--- with me.'"

The album boasts a handful of noteworthy features, including YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Ty Dolla $ign, Lil Wayne, Domo Genesis, Brent Faiyaz, Lil Uzi Vert, and Pharrell Williams. Tyler spoke on another feature, 42 Dugg, and his affinity toward Detroit rap. “Detroit guys are different breeds," says Tyler. "The way [guys like] 42 Dugg and Babyface Ray articulate stuff, you can hear they grew up around OG pimps. It’s interesting, I love it.”

Tyler later took the stage during the show for a turbulent performance of his single "Lumberjack." In line with the track's opening lyric ("Rolls-Royce pull up, Black boy hop out"), Tyler appeared in the backseat of a powder-blue classic Rolls-Royce model before struggling against a high-speed windstorm while delivering an impassioned rendition of the two-minute song. Watch the performance below.