Tyler, the Creator sat down with comedian Jerrod Carmichael for a nearly hour-long discussion about his 2017 Grammy-nominated album Flower Boy.
More personal than 2015’s Cherry Bomb, the 14-track album — featuring A$AP Rocky, Frank Ocean, Pharrell, Jaden Smith and Estelle — addresses Tyler’s every feeling, emotion and question, ranging from paranoia to loneliness. “I’m lonely, but I’m having the most fun of my goddamn life,” he told Carmichael. Influenced by pop, Tyler studied Max Martin, Pharrell and Justin Timberlake while recording the album, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 albums chart last year and is nominated for best rap album at Sunday’s Grammys.
In the interview, the artist breaks down the album in depth, sharing specifics on each song, what inspired the album and facing rejections from artist such as ScHoolboy Q and Justin Bieber. “My goal on this album was to shut the f— up and let the features be the leaders,” he said.
Check out the six things we learned about Tyler, the Creator during the interview:
1. He hates his own voice.
“I’ve always hated my voice, so my stuff from, like, 2008, I would pitch it up; in 2009-10, I would pitch it down. So this time around [on ‘Ain’t Got Time’], I was like, ‘Let me give myself a fake accent and let me start pronouncing shit.’ I wanted to do that because I hated my voice so I was like let me make it interesting. I wanted that intro to be like, ‘Aw shit.'”
2. He’s inspired by Stevie Wonder.
“Stevie Wonder is the godfather of my existence. I wrote the song [‘Boredom’] over the chords of ‘God Bless the Child’ by Stevie Wonder. I figured out how the chords looped and just had it playing for hours in my room. I wrote that 5 p.m. on a Saturday, laying on my back, looking so bored. It was nothing to do. No one was hitting me back. Jasper was in the other room, bored out of his mind, but I didn’t see him all day. My room was warm as hell because I like the heater on and it was nothing to eat but dry cereal. And I’m sitting there like, ‘What the f— am I gonna do?’ I literally wrote that verse in like 10 seconds because of these questions and these legit feelings of boredom that I was having.”
3. On working with Lil Wayne.
“I made ‘Dropping Seeds’ instantly. It was just a quick instrumental I made and I go, ‘I’m getting Wayne on this.’ I only wanted 16 bars, maybe 8, but Wayne has to go over this. I want to hear Wayne over these notes, in this pocket, and I want to see what he would do in his high-pitched voice over this lowered tone, in this weird Brian Bennett lounge library music. I told him to just rap about flowers, garden, trees or whatever. I was on tour for Cherry Bomb in Omaha, Nebraska, and I got a text from him like, ‘Check your email.’ I check it and me and Travis are sitting there like what the f—. not only did he bar out, but I’ve never heard Wayne over Price Is Right music. [It was] so on topic and so good.”
4. What was the best time of his life?
“November of 2016 was probably the greatest time of my life. We had rented a house out, every morning we would wake up and write for The Jellies. I was starting to get involved with Converse. We would spend time playing the game, me and Jasper. I went and bought the VR stupid PlayStation thing, we had the new Mario Switch. We would go to the park or go bike riding or go to shows, and then I would go to the studio and I would work on my album. That house we had on water, it was just an amazing time. I was literally wearing Hawaiian shirts in January and it was cold.”
5. “Glitter” was written for Justin Bieber.
“I love ’90s R&B because it was hard drums, pretty chords, and people trying to outrun themselves hitting those gospel runs, and it just always got to me. I wrote ‘Glitter‘ for Bieber. I wanted Justin to have that. I thought he would be so cool doing that, but he never returned the call. I was just like, ‘F— it, I’ll write it and just make it cool.'”
6. He hates taking photos.
“What annoys me is people will come up and film me or say, ‘Can I get a photo?’ and I’m like no, so they like, ‘F— you then’ and leave. I’m down to have a conversation, like f— it, let’s put the phone down, let’s talk. People be at shows like this [waving phone], and I’m like, ‘I’m f—ing 5 feet in front of you. I’m right here in real life.’ But they would rather enjoy that moment two weeks from now rather than enjoy it right now, today.”
Watch FLOWER BOY: a conversation below.