Tyler does not believe that Igor is a rap album, the specialists in the genre do not think so, and many fans were confused and disappointed to discover that Igor had used a coveted position that could have been occupied by any number of outstanding albums from one of the most creative and laborious years of rap to date. Tyler The Creator masterful album, Igor 2019, should not have been nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Album, as it should have been nominated for Album of the Year. Giving a genre-specific wink sounds a lot like an award – an award that Tyler himself could claim he never really wanted if he was still in his bombing phase of “The Strange Wolf Bunch of the Future Kills Them All” ten years ago. Worse yet, if someone other than Tyler won the award – which I think should happen, since YBN Cordae made one of the most consistent and complete debuts in recent rap history – Tyler would be awarded a 0-2 in the Best Rap Album category after Flower Boy was sidelined for Cardi B’s equally deserved invasion of privacy in 2018. In fact, not only is he cheating Tyler, but a whole bunch of deserving rap artists, from the snubbed DaBaby and Megan Thee Stallion to Rapsody and Young Thug, no doubt well known to the committee, both shortlisted for Best Rap Album, are nodding their heads. The fact that Tyler resorts to soul standards and a more mature version of Wolf Haley’s alter-ego “sound” and covers it all with an enameled crown of swaying organs and lush drum rolls simply makes Igor a joy to fall back on again and again. In the midst of all these performances of intoxicating concentration and artistic virtuosity, Igor could have been perhaps the only one with the unique vision of his lead artist, who wrote, produced and arranged each piece and then arranged his alter ego, from the stage show to the videos, to give his alter ego a Warhol-like feeling. If we compare Igor’s perfection and complexity with the other nominated albums of the year, we see that he stands out from the rest. Tyler has put his heart and soul into the album – almost literally, if you look at the love sickness tracks. “Earfquake”, the album’s outstanding single, was originally intended for Justin Bieber and Rihanna, but was rejected by both and became the ultimate crushing anthem for the moans of Tyler’s vocal riffs. It certainly wasn’t easy to place the album in any category, but it should have been easy to nominate it for the album of the year, even if it didn’t win. Caitlin White called Norman F*cking Rockwell’s Lana Del Rey “an overflowing masterpiece,” a sentiment shared by many of our critics surveyed.
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