Tyler, The Creator returns to Honolulu
There’s a relatively fine line between acting too cool for everyone else in the room and coming off as an arrogant, self-absorbed windbag.
With Tyler, The Creator’s set at The Republik on Saturday, it was pretty obvious he didn’t care what anyone thought of him or his crew, regardless if they paid to be there or not. But at the same time, there was no mistaking that behind the raspy voice, vulgar language and a level of bluntness many of us wish we could maintain in our everyday lives, there exists an artist extremely proud of what he’s accomplished since his debut album, “Bastard,” hit the Internet in 2009.
The 24-year-old deserves plenty of praise for his role in the growth of hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All — which may or may not have disbanded earlier this year, depending on who you ask — and there’s no questioning his skills extend far beyond the rap realm with his experience as a producer, songwriter, clothing and concert merchandise designer, graphic artist and music video producer. He’s at a stage in his career where the adventures are his to choose and he’s got the money to finance just about anything.
And that’s why seeing him on stage a few months after releasing his latest album, “Cherry Bomb,” one might wonder why Tyler even bothers with touring right now.
Sure, watching him perform cuts off 2013’s “Wolf,” 2012’s “The OF Tape Vol. 2” and 2011’s “Goblin” was a fun history lesson for anyone unfamiliar with his discography... which had to have been all of maybe a dozen people at The Republik on Saturday. There was no shortage of karaoke action at this show, and Tyler himself even mentioned taking a break and letting the crowd take over his verses at one point.
But it was the back-and-forth between Tyler, hype men Taco and Jasper Dolphin and the audience between songs that was more telling than the performance itself.
From brashly admonishing the crowd to “take your photos now” at the start of the night — and making a point of ridiculing fans he caught with their phones out later on — to openly admitting wanting to “get the f—k off this stage” before closing things out with “Tamale,” it was pretty obvious we were all getting the unfiltered Tyler, for better or worse. Reflecting on the show afterward, it was hard to decide which was more uncomfortable, the extended moments of complete silence between songs or hearing someone on stage actually ask over a microphone what time it was just 20 minutes into the set.
Among the more inspiring lines from Tyler on Saturday:
“I appreciate your soul.”
“Last time we was in Hawaii, there was a tsunami warning. That s—t was crazy. Okay, I have nothing else to say.”
“Whose weed is this? How did it get on stage?” (As he proceeded to light and smoke whatever it was that he found.)
“Are my hands soft?”
While not quite achieving the level of chaos associated with a full-fledged Odd Future performance, fans of the group’s founder surely didn’t leave disappointed after 60 minutes of putting their hands up, jumping around like crazy and getting bottle after bottle of water sprayed on them.
Did Tyler care? Probably not. After dancing a quick jig and peeling off his T-shirt to toss into the crowd, he was long gone, leaving fans hoping for an encore with the proverbial lump of coal in their stockings on this December evening in Honolulu.