Tyler the Creator is someone who has mastered the process of creating a persona throughout his album cycles.
To name a few, these representations have been shown through the soft-spoken heartfelt ballads of Flower Boy, to aggressive erratic behavior on Wolf, and even his complications with love & self image on Igor.
The visuals for Tyler’s track, ‘SORRY NOT SORRY,’ explicitly show each album cycle and its associated character counterpart.
With this constant evolution since 2009 - Tyler has hit his creative stride with his last three releases Flower Boy, Igor, and most recently Call Me If You Get Lost. Each project displays such a complex understanding of music, art direction, fashion, and themes - I could talk about it for hours. Critically and commercially these have been some of Tyler’s strongest releases and been a main reason for his continually growing fanbase.
This brings us to Camp Flog Gnaw 2023 - after a four year hiatus, the festival is finally back in swing. If you told me that I could see Kendrick Lamar and Tyler the Creator within two hours at the same festival in 2023, I would have said you were insane, but here we are.
Tyler’s stage set modeled that of a junkyard with stacked cars and a crane dangling over his automobile perch. The LED background was filled with different scenes depicting a constant evolution of set and setting, starting on a sunny day and transitioning to a catastrophic event. The tracks he played of course followed this changing environment.
Towards the end of the set, this transition culminated with what he describes as his, ‘favorite song he’s ever made,’ NEW MAGIC WAND. This track really is special and will undoubtedly be one of the best tracks Tyler will ever make. NEW MAGIC WAND follows a fallout of a relationship and the drastic actions Igor’s hurt ego is willing to take.
On stage the environment reflects this dark nature in which the stage bursts into flames.
After building tension for the first minute or so of the track, Tyler came out dual wielding a flamethrower - which we captured below. To capture this moment of vulnerability where Tyler’s expression reflects that of, “oh s*** I am really doing this,” is such a departure from his public self-assured persona.
Throughout the set, Tyler thanked his fans for supporting Camp Flog Gnaw and inspired them to follow their own creative pursuits. This performance really solidified for me how much of a generational talent Tyler the Creator is and I could not have been more impressed with the stage design.
This was really a special performance.