Tyler, The Creator released IGOR just over a year ago, almost to the day. This album changed the public’s perception of the California artist to something that was much more noteworthy than ever before, and obviously he even won a Grammy for it. Since I have been a Tyler fan since his very early days with Odd Future, I enjoyed his gritty, violent offerings almost more so than his later, more thoughtful and introspective offerings. That is until I heard IGOR. Every single song on that album reminisced with me in one way or another, and the experimental sounds he has never shied away from became apparent and appreciated. Although his voice might not be as on-key as some of the other singers in the industry, it didn’t matter because you could just hear the passion and emotion within his words, so the fact that the notes were slightly off at times held no weight in the grand scheme of things, in my opinion.
As with many major album releases, the project was accompanied by a bevy of clothing, physical copies, and trinkets, allowing fans to reinforce their love for the project in more ways than one. On the physical copies, Tyler surprised fans with an exclusive bonus track called “BOYFRIEND” that only they would get to enjoy because he appreciated their continued support so much. This song actually somewhat took the place of the fourth track, but kept comedian Jerrod Carmichael’s interlude at the end, making it a part of the song rather than simply the spoken word break in the album that it once was. In order to celebrate the album’s anniversary, however, he decided to let fans of all kinds get in on the secret, releasing this exclusive song to the masses via YouTube.
I know that this bonus track might not be new to anyone who bought a physical copy of the album, but it’s new to me so I had to share it. The song begins with a Tyler-sounding piano rendition as Charlie Wilson sings soulful lyrics for his very brief role. After a few lines, Tyler comes in with the album’s telltale pitched up vocals as pluckier, almost electronic, uncharacteristic bass strums play throughout, adjusting the vibe of the song before it completely changes in the chorus. When this happens, a rawer, grittier, and more confident aesthetic is provided, as electric guitar riffs and stern drums come into the picture. On the hook, Tyler’s vocals are filtered and hazy, making him sound as if he’s being played on a vintage radio station that doesn’t have great signal.
His verse is only four lines long, and the rest of the song is built through hooks, intros and outros, and other segments that aren’t used in abundance within Rap music typically. With that being said, each portion shows a slightly different demeanor from Tyler, some being more confident while others are more passive. After the last chorus, a space-like noise transitions from this part of the song to an instrumental that is more reminiscent of the original fourth song on the album, as the outro leads into Jerrod Carmichael’s portion. During this outro, Santigold’s only contribution is within some of the ad-libs, as Charlie Wilson assists with this portion as well. This isn’t unheard of on the project, though, because a few other original songs featured artists who maybe only spoke one line, sang some background vocals, or helped out with ad-libs, as is the case with this track. Following along with a common theme throughout the album, Tyler sings about wanting to be with someone as well as the uncertainty that he has in his mind about trying to take things a step further, but the confidence he feels in what they could potentially have is abundantly evident.
I’m not sure if “BOYFRIEND” was intentionally left off of the original album in order to give fans a pleasant surprise when purchasing physical copies or if it was already recorded so he figured that he might as well throw it on there as a bonus. It definitely fits the overall aesthetic of the album and sounds as if it would fit in seamlessly, so I’m not sure why it didn’t make the official final cut. In my opinion, it doesn’t necessarily elevate the album anymore than it already was considering it was already pretty perfect in my mind, but it definitely doesn’t take away from it either. I’m extremely glad we have it to listen to now because it refreshes IGOR and makes me want to go back and revisit it in its entirety, so that’s a plus in and of itself. I’m not sure if this is going to make its way out of YouTube and onto other streaming services or not, but at least we have it in some way, shape, or form. If you’ve been looking for a good reason to go back and revisit one of the best albums of last year, “BOYFRIEND” is the perfect excuse so don’t forget to give it a listen if you haven’t already.