IGOR: Three Years Later | Kyle Kim
Despite its initial release nearly four years ago, Tyler, the Creator's 2019 album, IGOR, still serves as an incredibly solid and seemingly timeless body of work. However, given the fact that the album hit its initial heights of popularity when the senior class was in middle school and our freshmen weren’t even teens yet, I still encounter many fellow students that have yet to listen to or even hear of this project. And so, while today isn’t any special anniversary, birthday, or anything of that nature, I feel compelled to discuss this incredible project and encourage a listen.
Simply put, IGOR is a bold and experimental departure from Tyler’s previous work. The rapper, producer, and designer has long been known for his controversial lyrics and unorthodox approach to hip-hop, but Igor takes this to a whole new level.
Let’s start with that title: it’s a reference to the fictional character Igor, who is often depicted as a hunchbacked assistant to a mad scientist. This imagery is fitting, however, as the album feels like its own laboratory experiment in sound and style. The beats are eclectic and unconventional, blending elements of hip-hop, R&B, and synth pop. The instrumentation is often layered and complex, with distorted samples, glitchy synths, and unexpected sound effects.
Lyrically, Tyler is at his most introspective and personal on IGOR. The album is a concept piece, with the songs telling the story of a tumultuous relationship between Tyler and an unnamed partner. The lyrics are full of heartache, longing, and regret, as Tyler explores the ups and downs of his outlined relationship, as well as relationships generally. He also touches on themes of mental health and self-discovery, as he struggles to come to terms with his own feelings and identity.
In terms of production, Tyler the Creator has outdone himself on this album. The beats are meticulously crafted, and the instrumentation is layered and complex. The result is a soundscape that is both chaotic and cohesive, and that keeps the listener engaged throughout the album.
The album's standout tracks include "IGOR’S THEME," "EARFQUAKE," and "GONE, GONE / THANK YOU." "IGOR’S THEME" sets the tone for the album with its eerie, atmospheric beat and Tyler's introspective lyrics. "EARFQUAKE" is a catchy, upbeat track that features a famously indecipherable and incomprehensible guest verse from Playboi Carti. The song is a perfect blend of Tyler's experimental production and more traditional hip-hop elements. Finally, "GONE GONE / THANK YOU" is a powerful ballad that showcases Tyler's vocal range and emotional depth.
One of the most striking things about IGOR is the way it defies genre conventions — Tyler blends elements of different styles and subgenres to create something truly unique. The album is not easily categorized, and that's exactly what makes it so exciting. The rapper has always pushed boundaries and challenged expectations, and IGOR is no exception.
All in all, IGOR is a thought-provoking and challenging listen that rewards multiple spins. It's an album that pushes the boundaries of what we expect from hip-hop and challenges listeners to think differently about an already ever-evolving genre. More importantly, it's a bold and ambitious project that showcases Tyler's growth as an artist. So give it a shot — after all, truly timeless things are timeless for a reason.