Single Review: Who Dat Boy and 911 / MR. LONELY by Tyler, The Creator

“F*** the rap, I’m tryna own a planet” is proudly declared by Tyler, The Creator or should I say Wolf Haley (just one of his alter egos) in the first single and visual dropped last night since 2015’s ‘Cherry Bomb’. With recent features on Frank Ocean’s ‘Biking’, his GOLF clothing line, new Viceland show and recording the theme tune for Bill Nye’s new show – it is fair to say his ownership cannot be contained in the rap game.

‘Who Dat Boy’ eerily begins with a string section straight from a horror movie, launching listeners back into the twisted fantasies of Wolf Haley’s mind that caused so much controversy in previous albums like ‘Goblin’. The unsettled tone continues throughout the song as Tyler laments “Who Dat Boy”, affirming his outlandish nature and not letting us forget that “Young T” is back. A$AP Rocky proclaims his status as the fashion killa as he name drops his collaborations with Guess and Raf Simons, his self-assertiveness perfectly on par with Tyler’s proving that “WANG$AP” are a powerful duo. Yet the song does not convey the same power or discomfort until you watch the video; a gory experiment as A$AP Rocky plays surgeon and sews a white man’s face onto Tyler before they run away from the police – an uncomfortably relevant ode to the police brutality in current America?

Yet Tyler, The Creator resolves the savageness of the first single with a buttery confessional of his own loneliness in ‘911 / MR. LONELY’. With vocals and features from Frank Ocean, Steve Lacy, Anna of the North and Schoolboy Q, the track has an old school vibe that could easily let you overlook the dark and almost suicidal lyrics which become more apparent in the second half. Both singles reveal contrasting sides to Tyler and show the conflict of the alter ego’s that the fans have favoured over the years against a more vulnerable side that we are yet to see. However, we are certain that Tyler, The Creator may have swayed from the rap scene but his forthcoming album will cement his return.

Alex Coogan