Review: Tyler, The Creator – CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST

Last we left Tyler, the Creator, he released the album IGOR and managed to earn a #1 spot on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart, (despite some competition making a hissy fit about it) winning a Grammy as well despite him stating that the Grammys use the term ‘urban’ as a politically correct way to say the ‘N’ word (IMO, he’s not wrong). Anyway, it’s been 2 years since then, and we figured he might drop something out this year. Lo and behold…

Tyler releases his 7th studio album, Call Me If You Get Lost, and like always this was pretty sudden: he announced the album and dropped a couple of singles a week or so before the release date.

On the first track, there’s definitely a motif here with one of the factors here being DJ Drama. He serves as the hypeman of the album, reminiscent of the certified hood classic GANGSTA GRILLZ mixtapes or even the Lil Wayne Dedication mixtape series hosted by him. In other words, if you don’t like someone shouting out to you, chances are that you’re going to get annoyed by this very quickly. Otherwise, the sound here is definitely what we’ve heard from Tyler on his last couple of albums (going into his R&B bag), but there are tracks that go into his more classic hard-edged style.

“Lumberjack”, the first single released, has that menacing and abrasive production with him boasting about his wealth and addressing his haters, specifically with the fact he both won a Grammy and did a sold out concert at Madison Square Garden. Going back to the start of the album, the track “Sir Baudelaire” threw me off a bit as I heard the instrumental before on another song, or at least the sample of it. It was originally from Billy Cobham’s “Siesta”, which that was sampled for Westside Gunn’s “Michael Irvin” off of Flygod is an Awesome God 2, with Conductor Williams as producer. The song itself delivers a sweet short verse from Tyler, starting the whole album off especially with these set of bars. (I rub it in these niggas’ facеs like thick lotion; That big B is in motion, uh (Gangsta Grillz))

“MASSA” gives us some insight into Tyler shifting direction in not only his music (which explains why Cherry Bomb was sonically shifting) but himself as well, as he’s not the same guy that debuted at 19 and ate a cockroach in the “Yonkers” video.

It come with two boats and cattle, I’m livin’ sweet ain’t you heard? (Ain’t you heard nigga?)
This perspective from the beak of a bird
You hope I peak, you take my peace
You gon’ see me run, like thieves in the night
I’m paranoid, I sleep with a gun
The heat on my dungaroos because they beefin’ for fun

“Manifesto” has Tyler rapping about his controversial past and refusing to conform to standards that people hold him against, and sharing the track with him is former Odd Future mate Domo Genesis who delivers some of his best bars on the album. They also address racial discrimination as well as some critics on Twitter (mostly white women) about how rappers like him, J. Cole and Kendrick Lamar aren’t saying anything about Black Lives Matter on Twitter, despite them actually intending rallies and protests.

I say with my chest out, you say with your chest in, nigga (Say it with your chest, nigga)
Black bodies hanging from trees, I cannot make sense of this (Uh)
Hit some protest up, retweeted positive messages (Uh)
Donated some funds then I went and copped me a necklace
I’m probably a coon, and your standard’s based on this evidence

Am I doin’ enough or not doin’ enough?

Now, we do still get the R&B, melodic side of Tyler here with joints like “WUSYANAME” where he portrays himself falling in love with someone only to find out they’re taken. This production screams early ’90s R&B and I’m here for it. This sounds great, and the vocals from Ty Dolla $ign are incredibly smooth, but the biggest head scratching surprise here is hearing Youngboy NBA (Or NBA Youngboy AFAIK) doing a verse on here. It’s a fine verse from him, and continuing from that part is the much anticipated 10th track that splits into multiple parts with “SWEET/I THOUGHT YOU WANTED TO DANCE,” with the first part being him infatuated with a girl, and the second part is said girl having mixed feelings on who she wants to choose: either her old partner or Tyler. This also has Brent Faiyaz and Fana Hues as featured guest vocals on their respective parts, and both artists provided excellent performances on their end.

Did I forget to mention that it’s the longest song on the album at 9 minutes? Oh, and the second longest song here (at 8 and a half minutes) is the penultimate track “WILSHIRE,” and surprisingly the only track to not feature DJ Drama (but truth be told, it would’ve been awkward to put him on there). The track is about a failed relationship from them meeting together and falling head over heels in love to the eventual fallout and fighting with the following depressing breakup, while wanting to continue with the relationship but ultimately ending it for both of their sakes.

There are some more highlights in the album: “HOT WIND BLOWS” has a decent Lil Wayne guest verse that’s appropriate too, given how DJ Drama always hosted his mixtapes. “JUGGERNAUT” has that bass-heavy distorted production reminiscent of CHERRY BOMB, and teaming up with the usual collaborators of Lil Uzi Vert and Pharrell Williams, they were great on it. You also get your diss to the haters track with “RISE!” with DAISY WORLD and co-produced by Jamie xx of the xx.

Let me show you punk motherfuckers what I know (Yeah)
See, I know, I’m the guy that took a chance like Chicago (Yeah)
So I win, I can do this shit with my eyes closed
Can’t tell the difference like Michael’s vitiligo, yeah
There he go again (Woo)
They tried to boycott him but he didn’t dim (Oh, yeah)
He started from the bottom and they went to fall off
Like he skipped autumn and spring-summer winds

Speaking of other producers, the only other one besides Jamie xx to co-contribute with Tyler is Jay Versace on the final track “Safari”, mostly referencing travel and vacation along with the passport he has (i.e. the album cover).

Stayin’ at home, I hate
Runaway love but I’m no Ludacris

See the world, open your eyes ’til your back hurt
Niggas get bread and won’t leave, shit is backwards
Start with your feet then a car then a airport

At this point, we know that musically and personally, Tyler has matured into a different person from the past, and that bears no repeating. The album continues to do what he has been doing as of late with exploring his vulnerable side, showing his POV on what goes on in his world, owning up to the shit he’s done in the past while still maintaining his aggressive manic style and his softer melodic R&B side.  It also pays tribute to those mixtape days where the DJ is doing ad-libs, shouting out every time he’s on air, and I can see people who never grew up on that getting very annoyed. Personally, it didn’t bother me that much as the album puts a pause on that where necessary. All-in-all, this was a pretty entertaining album, and while it might still be in familiar territory, it didn’t go stale.

FINAL VERDICT: Buy It. It seems I wasn’t lost on this. I found it to be damn good.

CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST is on Columbia Records and is available for digital download and on streaming services.

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