Tyler, The Creator is never a slouch on the mic when it comes to collaborations that align him with his superstar rapper friends. With tracks like his 2015 Cherrybomb album-cut “Smuckers,” featuring Lil Wayne and Kanye West or his “Potato Salad,” collab with A$AP Rocky, he’s amassed ample evidence to back up his chops.
And though Felicia The Goat’s voice sparingly dolled out his immaculate wordplay in 2020, in this case, a little goes a long way.
As a result, HipHopDX has captured a few instances contributing to the cumulative lyrical moment the Odd Future boss had in 2020, starting with his efforts on DX’s Best Hip Hop Album of 2020 award-winning project Alfredo.
Freddie Gibbs f. Tyler, The Creator — “Something To Rap About”
Impressive Bars:“Ayo/ Nail is in the coffin/ Freddie sent me this shit /This sound like the boat I haven’t bought yet /This sound like the moment I jump off it/ Sun shinin’, cold water fillin’ in my pockets/ This lake water better than the faucet I grew up with/ We hold our breath like grudges ’til we nauseous/ We hop out, let the sun dry us like raisins/ We get dressed in some Gucci or Lacoste, shit, it’s amazing/ We look like Polo ads but skin is darkened.”
With sun-kissed metaphorical yacht-master imagery and bravado aimed at reaching into the cavernous depths of his hater’s hearts, his bars impeccably imbue themselves alongside Gangsta Gibbs dope game double entendres and makes a strong case for the prowess Tyler’s verses exuded this year. When Gangsta Gibbs delivered Alfredo back in May, his crack raps effectively met with Tyler’s creative prose, and it led to a powerful exchange. Freddie Gibbs opening lines, “God made me sell crack so I have something to rap about,” are married to T’s Gucci and Lacoste fabrics referencing bars, and Hip Hop once again effortlessly morphs as the fluid container that dominates popular culture. And thus, Grammy nominations rolled around in November, and they put some respect on the Baby Face Killa’s name with the Best Rap Album nod.
This isn’t to say that Gangsta Gibbs’ Record Academy fate was contingent on the assist from Tyler, but it is a firm vote of confidence that “Something To Rap About,” represents the type of elevation of street strife into high-brow artistry that has previously produced Grammy Award-winning rap albums.
Westside Gunn f. Joey Bada$$, Tyler The Creator, Billie Essco — “327”
Impressive Bars:“Niggas always got something to say, well fuck ’em/Same guys was mighty ’til they got to duckin’/We got the pucks and we chuckin’/They playin’ chicken, we cluckin’/I’m Colonel Sanders to you motherfuckers/Niggas trash and we dumpin’/(Uh), I been rappin’ and fuckin’ (Yup)/He 6’5″, I’m a munchkin, and we speed to the disco (Dance)/This car came with a driver, I’m in the back playin’ ‘Frontin'”
In a perfect world, these three rap monsters would join forces more often, because the electric synergy they gift to each other on “327.” Much like the Federal Magnum Revolver gun the track bears its name after, each of the rappers fires-off verbal shots — and T’s bars overwhelmingly prove the level of natural chemistry his wordplay is overflowing with. Everything on this record is in perfect unison, from the sublime lo-fi boom-bap production courtesy of Camoflauge Monk and 7ies to Westside Gunn’s drilling pitched delivery and Joey Bada$$’ melding hook work — not to mention Buffalo rapper Billie Essco’s efforts.
But rather than fit in as the odd-man-out with West Coast ties, he shows out and up-kicks a thick incendiary cloud of hearty lyrics like a fire-breathing dragon. Even as he mimics the Griselda rapper’s cadence, Tyler finds a way to imbue his own off-kilter flair, fueled by his lines ranging from 90’s Nickelodeon sitcom references to his explicit innuendos — that Gunn defended as “art,” in a recent interview with Revolt TV. It’s truly impressive the way he is able to deliver a formidably gritty verse while also openly challenging, more-so mocking, the type of toxic masculinity embedded in backpack raps.
Lil Yachty f. Tierra Whack, A$AP Rocky, Tyler, The Creator — “T.D”
Impressive Bars:“You got a stage, then it’s one-point-one for one hour/Niggas came second to me, they so sour/Had a slow climb, that’s why they all doubt ’em/And still came out on top, now that’s power (Uh)/Fuck they respect, I won’t miss a step, I won’t intercept/The tip of my tongue, I still got my soul and still got the check like/Bling, bling, bitch, I feel like Juvie/Raw as fuck, bitch, I feel like sushi.”
Lil Yachty has become somewhat of a guest feature Swiss Army Knife, but Tyler may have assumed that role with this show-stopping verse. “T.D,” is the perfect example of the versatility T naturally emits when he’s in straight go-mode. Instead of punchlines, he’s delivering knockout blows with his one-liners — increasingly pushing the envelope with his fellatio bars, “Boys going down like Titanic sailors.” For the most part, it’s a given that A$AP Rocky and Tyler are going to feed off each other and gift one another an edge, but the way that Tierra Whack flys off the handle immediately following the Igor rapper has us at DX so bedazzled she got a 2020 Verse Of The Year nomination.
Nevertheless, it’s truly impressive how Tyler establishes distance between himself and his peers on the track whilst also seemingly hoisting them up into the limelight.
Channel Tres f. Tyler, The Creator — “Fuego”
Impressive Bars:“Yo, fuck we on? (Woo)/Come to my house when the sun is gone/If it’s too late, you can bring your mom/That make three of us, triathlon (What’s up?)/Take that off, make the hamper warm/I make you wet like a sweatin’ palm (Uh)/You get me up like cholesterol.”
There are so many ways Channel Tres’ I Can’t Go Outside track “Fuego,” represents both past and future, respectively, within the present. For starters, Tyler’s deep-voice delivery marauding over the minimalistic and polyphonic one-two-step tempo production harkens back to his early classics like his 2010 cut “VCR.” This is the semi-demented pseudo-smooth-operator flow Tyler has enchanted fans with over the years on countless projects, including his 2019 love anthology Igor.
Also, the combination of these two L.A.-bred artists feels like a peripheral look into the diverse and viscerally unreserved future of West Coast Hip Hop that includes talent like DX’s Rookie Of The Year Award-winner Roddy Ricch.
And now that we’ve tackled some of Tyler, The Creator’s best verses of the year, dive into DX’s 2020 Hip Hop awards, featuring our in-house picks for multiple categories like Best Rapper and R&B Artist.