Apr 02, 2012 12:00AM

Oyster #98: Tyler, The Creator

"I'm a really, really, smart, multi-talented almost-genius, who's very annoying."

Tyler, The Creator is the 21-year-old behind LA hip hop collective OFWGKTA. The subheadings on his Wikipedia page read like this: Early life; Music career (2009–present); Criticism (Homophobia, Misogyny); Legal issues; Feuds; Discography; Filmography; Awards and nominations. In other words, he’s a brilliant producer/rapper/artist/businessman, with a knack for pissing people off.

Alexi Wasser: [Into tape recorder] OK. I’m interviewing Tyler, The Creator. He’s texting—
Tyler: It’s Tyler.

Tyler, OK. Tyler’s still texting, and not only is he ignoring me, but he also almost picked a scab in front of me… [To Tyler] It’s OK if I assume this is a date, right?
[Finally stops texting] Sure.

So, you’re 21 years old.
Maybe. Well, legally. I don’t feel 21, though.

How old do you feel?
I don’t know. I stopped growing up at 17, probably. That’s when my mom moved away and I stopped being raised, so that makes perfect sense.

Are your parents separated?
No. I never had a dad, and my mom moved back out here this year.

Whaddya mean you never had a dad? She just got pregnant?
He died.

He died? How’d he die?
I don’t know.

You don’t know? You really don’t know? Why do I feel like I’m about to be lied to every step of the way during this interview? I heard you don’t like people to ask you about your song ‘Yonkers’. How come?
Because that song is annoying as fuck!

Why? Because it’s successful?
Yes.

Really?
[Nods]

I also heard you get very annoyed when people compare you to Wu-Tang or Kanye. How come?
Because I’m not Wu-Tang; I’m not Kanye — even though he’s a cool guy. I talked to him the other day.

So, you like Kanye West?
Kanye West is cool. I’m a fan. He’s an artist. He understands it. He’s cool. He’ll be wearin’ leather pants — it’s weird — but other than that we talk about videos and art and other cool shit. I don’t know, he’s cool. I was emailing him the other day and … I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m having a conversation with fucking Kanye!” I told him I was just filming my friend skating and putting montages together and he was like, “I can’t wait to see it. You really inspire me. Keep pushing.” To hear that from him was crazy, ’cause I grew up listening to him and I always wanted to do videos, and he’s one of the only artists who actually comes through with cool videos. So, to know that I inspire him — that’s awesome. He’s cool as fuck! Him and Lil Wayne — Lil Wayne’s a really big fan. We hung out in Miami and it was awesome, we skated and shit. It was really weird and awkward, though, because when he came to my show, I looked back at him and he was singing all the lyrics to just, like, album cuts. So, he’s a big fan. He supports us a lot.

Do you do tons of drugs?
No, I’ve never had a drink in my life. I mean, I troll people and tell people I do drugs, but truthfully I don’t. I’ve never had a drink in my life. I don’t smoke or anything.

Why?
I don’t know. It’s just not for me. I just don’t have to. Plus, growing up at the skate park, there were a lot of kids that had so much potential to be pro — like, they were my age and they could have been pro by the time they were, like, 20, and they just got caught up in the party and drinking life and now they’re failures. I vowed never, ever to become one of them. It’s just not me.

This has nothing to do with that, but… do you have a big private?
Um, I’ve had a girl say it was, once. I’ve never heard any complaints, so…

Do you have a girlfriend?
No.

Why not?
I’m 20, I’m a rapper, and that would be stupid.

That would be stupid.
I. Love. White. Women.

Why?
I love all women.

I also heard you don’t like being asked about your use of profanities — saying ‘faggot’ all the time, the N-word, being thought of as a misogynist, and talking about raping and murdering…
Yeah, it’s weird. It doesn’t matter. I don’t know why that matters.

I also heard you get very annoyed when people compare you to Wu-Tang or Kanye. How come?
Because I’m not Wu-Tang; I’m not Kanye — even though he’s a cool guy. I talked to him the other day.

So, you like Kanye West?
Kanye West is cool. I’m a fan. He’s an artist. He understands it. He’s cool. He’ll be wearin’ leather pants — it’s weird — but other than that we talk about videos and art and other cool shit. I don’t know, he’s cool. I was emailing him the other day and … I was like, “Oh my gosh, I’m having a conversation with fucking Kanye!” I told him I was just filming my friend skating and putting montages together and he was like, “I can’t wait to see it. You really inspire me. Keep pushing.” To hear that from him was crazy, ’cause I grew up listening to him and I always wanted to do videos, and he’s one of the only artists who actually comes through with cool videos. So, to know that I inspire him — that’s awesome. He’s cool as fuck! Him and Lil Wayne — Lil Wayne’s a really big fan. We hung out in Miami and it was awesome, we skated and shit. It was really weird and awkward, though, because when he came to my show, I looked back at him and he was singing all the lyrics to just, like, album cuts. So, he’s a big fan. He supports us a lot.

Do you do tons of drugs?
No, I’ve never had a drink in my life. I mean, I troll people and tell people I do drugs, but truthfully I don’t. I’ve never had a drink in my life. I don’t smoke or anything.

Why?
I don’t know. It’s just not for me. I just don’t have to. Plus, growing up at the skate park, there were a lot of kids that had so much potential to be pro — like, they were my age and they could have been pro by the time they were, like, 20, and they just got caught up in the party and drinking life and now they’re failures. I vowed never, ever to become one of them. It’s just not me.

This has nothing to do with that, but… do you have a big private?
Um, I’ve had a girl say it was, once. I’ve never heard any complaints, so…

Do you have a girlfriend?
No.

Why not?
I’m 20, I’m a rapper, and that would be stupid.

That would be stupid.
I. Love. White. Women.

Why?
I love all women.

I also heard you don’t like being asked about your use of profanities — saying ‘faggot’ all the time, the N-word, being thought of as a misogynist, and talking about raping and murdering…
Yeah, it’s weird. It doesn’t matter. I don’t know why that matters.

OK. So, you use all those words and say all this crazy shit because?
It entertains me.

And the words hold no power?
Yeah, it just entertains me personally.

When people freak out about it, is it funny to you?
Yeah, I think it's funny when people trip on it.

I just have to be clear here: you use the words faggot and rape and the N-word; you say all these buzz words. Do you not like gay people?
Dude, I have gay friends. I don't fucking give a fuck about that shit. It's just a fucking word. Being homophobic is being homophobic.

You're not homophobic?
No. I don't fucking give a fuck about that shit.

So, you're just taking the power away from the words? To you it's not that big of a deal?
Yeah, I don't even think when I say this shit. I just say it 'cause it entertains me at the moment, and then people squirm and it's like, "Oh my gosh. Like, stop fuckin' crying."

Do you have tons of shit to prove? Is that why you do what you do?
I don't have anything to prove. I just like doing stuff.

Who do you hate?
I hate everyone except for a few select people.

Jason Dill?
Jason Dill is awesome.

Me?
You're cool? I like your eyes, and that polkadot shirt's awesome.

What’s your astrological sign?
I’m a Pisces.

Why do girls care about that shit, but guys don’t care about that shit?
I don’t know. Girls care a lot about shit. Like, they don’t… Like, my mom doesn’t know how to get to the point. You got to the point with this interview, though. I think that’s pretty cool.

Do you meet girls on Twitter and Facebook?
No, I don’t read my mentions on Twitter. I have Facebook, but it’s private, so only my friends can see anything I post. I hate Tumblr.

Why?
Being in Europe for two months with a broken foot, and being on a tour bus with people who just smoke weed and sit on Tumblr all day and don’t go outside and do anything. It just made me hate that shit. I don’t have one.

What do you think the public perception of you is? What do people who don’t know you think about you?
They… They think I’m really stupid, untalented, and I just rap crazy stuff, and I try too hard… I would also add ‘annoying’ to the list. Very annoying.

So, who are you really?
I don’t know. I’m a really, really smart, multi-talented almost-genius, who’s very annoying.

What have you noticed now that people recognise you?
Being famous isn’t that cool. I have to stop and take pictures; it’s not as fun as you think. But there are plus sides to it: I get a lot of free shit, I check off my goal list, and I can put money in all my friends’ pockets, which I always try to do.

Do you think a lot of your friends are mooching off you?
There’s no possible way my friends can mooch off me. I decide when I put money in their pockets, and I always try to give them opportunities. Always.

Do you think you’ll ever want kids?
Yeah. If I have a son I wanna name him Wolf, and if I have a daughter I wanna name her Salem.

Do you like the band Salem?
Yeah, they’re cool.

Have you ever made out with a dude?
Hell no.

Hell no? I thought you said you weren’t homophobic?
I’m not! But I’m not gonna make out with a dude.

What are you insecure about?
I think I could rap better, but I can do stuff other people can’t. And the shit that I can do makes up for what I lack. I can make a cool beat, put some shitty raps on it, make a cool video, and repeat that. Not everyone can do that. I wish I was 6'3" — I’m 6'2", but I wish I had that extra inch. Other than that, I’m good.

Give some advice to kids that look up to you and wanna be you.
Just be yourself. That’s my main thing. I don’t like people who aren’t themselves and [I don’t like people who] take the time out to please others. I don’t associate with people who do that. So, just be yourself and fuck other people’s opinions; no one’s opinion matters but yours. That’s how I live my life.

Interview: Alexi Wasser
Photography: Nabil Elderkin

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