The ever-changing Tyler, The Creator has released his deluxe album “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST: The Estate Sale” on March 31. The album contains an additional eight tracks to Tyler’s previously released album “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST” from 2021. The critically acclaimed album won him his second Grammy for best rap album of the year. The new songs feature A$AP Rocky, Vince Staples, YG and DJ Drama returning as the narrator. The album was released along with a series of music videos with the description, “a collection of songs that didn’t make the original album.”
The decision to release so few songs comes as a surprise considering Tyler has been consistent in releasing a new full album every other year since 2009 and has not missed a year since the beginning of his solo career. This unexpected inconsistency likely stems from the overwhelming success of the last two albums, “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST,” and “IGOR.” After winning two Grammys in a row, there is little left for the rapper to achieve. Therefore, the use of the title of his newest album, “The Estate Sale,” likely suggests Tyler has decided to take a shift in his creativity.
Each time Tyler releases a new album, he creates a new artistic persona. For “CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST,” the persona was named Tyler Baudelaire. He is named after a French poet with the style of Queen’s Gambit, as referenced in “STUNTMAN”: “I’m watchin’ Queen Gambit, lookin’ like an extra / Different color chess pieces hangin’ from my necklace.” The “estate sale,” which is commonly done after someone has died and is meant to clear out the individual’s home, represents the purging of this character. This deluxe album release likely symbolizes the death of some part of Tyler’s artistic persona.
In the music video for “SORRY NOT SORRY,” Tyler Baudelaire raps center stage, surrounded by other personas from his past albums. In the background, the personas from past albums “Wolf,” “Flower Boy” and “IGOR” slowly leave the frame. Two versions of Tyler in masks remain on screen. These outfits could represent Tyler’s earlier self from his much darker, more controversial solo albums, one of which has been banned in most music streaming apps due to offensive language. The return of these identities could represent a reflection on the past, or a mental breakdown.
At the end of the video, Tyler Baudelaire is beaten to death by a version of Tyler without any style of clothing, except for basic pants. This complex video represents Tyler without any artistic filter, as someone who could be destructive to his own creativity or tired of presenting himself to the public as a curated and heavily constructed artist. The full meaning is unclear and can be interpreted in many ways, but it is likely that this version of Tyler is what is not presented to the world. He is raw and unfiltered.
Other themes of travel and escape tie the album together. In “WHAT A DAY,” travel is needed for rest and relaxation after so many successful albums in a row. Tyler admits to being a “workaholic.” He writes, “I got a pain in my chest, that’s from suppressin’ the stress … I need to call me a jet.” Here, travel takes on a form of escapism for health reasons. He rewards himself lavishly in ways most people can only imagine.
In “WHARF TALK,” travel takes on a more casual, romantic purpose that also turns the meaning of “getting lost” into getting lost in the feelings of love and music. The song depicts a luxurious getaway. The sound mimics the meaning with smooth synths, chiming keyboards, and wood clicking noises, similar to the sound made by claves. The song is reminiscent of “Flower Boy” and “IGOR,” but still matches the theme of travel and escape prominent throughout the album.
Other songs, like “STUNTMAN,” adopt a more classic trap sound. The term stuntman suggests he’s pulling off a stunt by being successful. Accomplishing something impressive that not everyone can do but wants to watch happen. It refers to the narrative that many successful rappers reminisce about beginning with very little in life and ending with everything they could dream of.
“WHAT A DAY” slows the album down with R&B instrumentals. It explores the struggle of creating art alongside the added pressure of fame. The line, “I’m a dead poet,” is very interesting in broader terms of Tyler’s career, especially when taken into context with the “SORRY NOT SORRY” music video. The persona of the album is named after a literal dead poet. In literature, the older poets are often romanticized, even worshiped merely for their status rather than their art. This could suggest the reasoning for Tyler’s use of Baudelaire. Additionally, the new album seems to represent the death of the artistic persona as well. These Easter eggs could be interpreted as the rapper’s retirement, or they could be interpreted as the creation of a completely new artistic persona to come in the future.
The new songs do not live up to past albums by Tyler, The Creator, and they were never trying to. However, this mini-release does raise some interesting questions about what he will do in the future. Will we get another Grammy-worthy album come 2025, or will we get nothing?
Emma McCandless is an Entertainment Staff Writer. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.