Drawing conclusions on the music of Tyler the Creator based on his shocking way with language is like trying to explain the plot of a comic book by noting how much red ink is used. It's not only unfair, but inaccurately draws the Los Angeles-based rapper and founder of the Odd Future crew as one-dimensional, which he most certainly is not.
On "Wolf," Tyler's third solo album, the producer, rapper, comedic actor and storyteller revels in his many dimensions, and has released his best album to date — even if it's too long and too sonically flat to confirm his place as a top-rate producer. Still, when it's on, "Wolf" is a daring, smart and precisely imagined record, and sounds like little else in hip-hop right now.
At 70 minutes and 18 tracks, "Wolf" carries Tyler's fans on a new journey into the minds of his characters. Deep listening reveals nuances — many of them were introduced on his previous records "Bastard" and "Goblin" — and bits and pieces of plot pepper the album's duration, making it feel like a comic book come to life.
This swirling chaos of voices comes from every angle. Samuel, for example, hates you. He's Tyler's most menacing creation, who near the end of "Rusty" (spoiler alert) murders Earl Sweatshirt mid-rap. "I rolled here on a mean unicorn," he raps on "Cowboy," one of the album's twisted highlights.