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Tyler, the Creator — the self-proclaimed “star” of rap collective Odd Future — has gotten ungodly amounts of popularity over the last few months (partially thanks to Rap Genius). Since the early days of Odd Future, Tyler Okonma (a Nigerian nomenclature) has had several personas — but in the course of his rise to fame over the last few months, even more have emerged.
Also known as…
- Wolf Haley
- Tyler, the Creator
- Ace, the Creator
- Tyler, the Masturbator
- Thurnis Haley
- Dr. TC
- Tron Cat
- The Devil
Thurnis / Masturbator:
Thurnis Haley was a recently established meme on Odd Future’s tumblr. Thurnis Haley is a golf loving “about 53 year(s) old” man, who indirectly promotes Tyler’s upcoming release of Goblin. Based on the therapeutic beef discussed below, I’m guessing this is Tyler grasping for a father-figure.. Thurnis has appeared in four videos thus far, all of which can be found on the OFWGKTA youtube page.
Unicorn / Table:
Tyler explains these nicknames — used in the song “Golden” — in an MTV interview:
When people say you can do whatever you want, I really thought that shit was corny, until this moment right now. Like, that’s when I say, ‘I’m a fucking unicorn,’ people are fucking confused. I’m a fucking unicorn, and you’re not going to tell me I’m fucking not. I’m a fucking table. I’m a fucking table, and you can literally be whatever you fucking want, as long as you believe that’s what you are
I can be what I want!
Tyler calls himself the Devil and occasionally “Satan’s Son,” which would make him the anti-Christ. While Tyler is not actually the devil (at least I hope not) his self-proclamation is due to the conflict between Tyler, the Creator and Wolf Haley.
Tyler’s consciously-modeled counterpart to Eminem’s “Slim Shady” — this is his Freudian Id — his anti-social persona run amock.. Wolf is a rebel who just doesn’t give a fuck. Unlike Tyler who doesn’t smoke weed, Wolf says “Fuck rolling papers, I’m a rebel, bitch, I’m ashing blunts”. Haley’s evil ways stem from accepting the devil as a father-figure to replace Tyler’s lack of an actual father.
Ace, the Creator
Ace is Tyler’s persona under which he produces and makes beats. This is his alpha-male quant persona — the Superego to the Wolf Haleyan “Id” if you will.
Tyler — errm, “Ace” — has produced every Odd Future release to date, and (other than for Radical) Tyler has “created” just about every beat from scratch — no sampling required.
Tyler, the Creator
Tyler, the Creator is Tyler’s stage name, as well as the name under which he raps. Thus far, Tyler has two releases under the name — his 2009 release Bastard — a minor commercial success met with much critical acclaim — and his first official album release, Goblin.
Tyler’s next album is scheduled to be called Wolf (guess who is gonna take center stage?)
Tyler, hi, i’m Dr. TC and I’m guessing your teacher sent you here to talk because you were miss behaving. It’s going to be three sessions: today, tomorrow, and Wednesday. So tell me something about yourself…Well look, if you don’t talk, these sessions are going to go kind of slow…
The three sessions are Tyler’s three albums: Bastard, Goblin, and the not-yet-released Wolf. Bastard takes us into Tyler’s past and discusses the root of his problems, his lack of a father figure. Goblin then takes us deeper into Tyler’s mind to talk about the man who is “morphing into a Grammy-winning, schizophrenic orphan.” And only Tyler knows what Wolf will bring, but one can only assume that Wolf Haley will be the focus (possibly fully taking over Tyler’s mind?).
On Bastard, Tyler’s therapy session focuses on the critical theme of the album: Tyler’s absentee father.
Dr. TC returns in Goblin to help Tyler understand himself. He asks Tyler to tell him “what’s been going on” because it has been a long time between sessions (even though Dr. TC said it was going to be three sessions in three days). Tyler talks about his new-found fame, that came with the help of Kanye’s tweets, the critics calling his music horrorcore without actually listening to the words, and how he is finally over his father (or lack there of).
Tyler’s birth name is Tyler Okonma, Okonma being his birth father’s name. Tyler is in effect, a “Bastard,” making the title of the album perfectly fitting. Tyler makes constant references to his father’s absence throughout his music:
Here’s a list of some examples from Bastard:
In the song “Goblin,” (another album starting with a title-track), Dr. TC mentions that “It’s been a long time since their last session.” Throughout the track, Tyler discusses that he’s not a role model, and that since becoming famous his life is pretty much still the same. People have guessed that Tyler’s lyrics might clean up, simply to be accepted in a more mainstream aspect (you can’t win a grammy with songs about rape) — but I don’t see Tyler conforming any time soon..
The final Goblin track, “Golden”, is the climax of an escalating argument continuing throughout the album. Tyler and Dr. TC further discuss Tyler’s problems, and mention one of the most sensitive subjects of Tyler’s psyche: his missing best friend, Earl.
Thebe Kgositsile, aka Earl Sweatshirt, is Tyler’s best friend, and Tyler often calls him his brother. Tyler never intended for Earl to be found (by far the most famous Odd Future meme as that of Earl Sweatshirt’s absence), but it was bound to happen sometime:
Earl is a very tense subject for Tyler, so it’s only fitting for the subject to escalate Tyler’s final argument with Dr. TC.
Tron Cat is the latest voice to spring up in Tyler’s head. Tyler insinuates on the Goblin track “Nightmare” that “Tron Cat” was another name for the voice in Tyler’s head that tells him to burn and destroy.
He even brings up Tron Cat in a conversation with Dr. TC:
Tyler: “Fuck off me man, fuck!"
Dr. TC: "What’s gotten into you?"
Tyler: "I don’t know. It’s like I’m a different person at times. Sometimes I’m fuckin' mad, sometimes I’m not. It’s like I’ve got a fucking voice in my head telling my to do all of this fucked up shit, man."
Dr. TC: "Yeah what's–"
Tyler: "I don’t fucking know man."
Dr. TC: "What’s this person named then Tyler, huh?"
Tyler: "He tells me to do this shit that I don’t want to fucking do!"
Dr TC: "What’s his name?"
Tyler: "Tron Cat.”
On “Golden”, Tyler’s intense argument with Dr. TC ends in the doctor calling security; Tyler is sent to a mental hospital. While in the hospital, Dr. TC talks to Tyler in a scene reminiscent of Fight Club’s ending:
Dr TC: “Someone gave a fuck Tyler. The person that gave a fuck was me. See, you’re not going crazy. It’s me, I’m your best friend Tyler. I know everything. I know everything about you. You’ve been helping yourself this whole time. Your best friend is your imagination. Dr. TC. Tyler, I’m your conscience, I’m Tron Cat, I’m Ace, I’m Wolf Haley, I’m…
Deep stuff. Sometimes, all you need is one man and you’ve already amassed a Wolf Gang…
And as you continue to listen to Odd Future, remember the words of Tyler:
Tyler (and the lil homies inside his head) on Goblin: