Confessional lyrics on his latest record clear the air on his race
Only a few days after it was officially announced, Tyler, the Creator’s upcoming album, Scum Fuck Flower Boy, has leaked ahead of its July 21 release date, prompting a flurry of discussion around the album and what appears to be a major personal revelation contained therein.
Most of the conversation has centered on the track “I Am Black (I’ve Been Black This Whole Time)” a song with lyrics about blackness and feeling misunderstood that have caused many to speculate whether Tyler is coming out as black or at least half black: “I am black / Why does it matter / Yes I am black / Please stop all the chatter,” he raps on the song’s second verse.
But the hints on Flower Boy go beyond that one line. The album’s opener, “Foreword (To The Album Where I Tell You I’m Black),” addresses the people that Tyler has been associated with in the past, with him rapping, “Shout-out to the reporters that I lead on / For occasional journalism about me potentially being white or maybe even Asian / and always keeping my bed warm / And trying they hardest to keep my head on black.” And on “I Ain’t Got Time,” Tyler’s bars seem to be even more transparent: “Next line, I'll have ’em like whoa / I am a black man, my favorite year of all time is 2004,” he raps.
That said, if there is an intentional coming-out-as-black narrative in Flower Boy, it’s complicated somewhat by Tyler’s history of casually using derogatory racial slurs as well as making opaque statements about his race. On Goblin, he used anti-race language more than 200 times, prompting both furor and assurances that he is “not racist,” and in 2015 he was criticized for releasing a shirt that reimagined a white supremacist logo in rainbow colors (he also happened to be holding hands with another black man in the press photo).
Recently, though, Tyler’s feelings toward race appear to be coming into focus — or at least to the extent that they apply to one celebrity in particular. He’s tweeted about finding young Danny Glover “beautiful,” and says, “I’m currently lookin’ for ’95 Danny Glover” on “Who Dat Boy.”
More importantly however, no one should care at all that Tyler, The Creator is black. His music should be appreciated for what it is, and people should occupy less of their time worrying about the identity of other people. Worry about yourself and be nice to people, please.