From Hip-Hop By The Numbers:
Tyler, The Creator created history today with IGOR
He's the first solo rapper in history to have a No. 1 album he produced and arranged by himself, no co-production or co-producer credits at all
69 rappers have gone No. 1 on the Billboard 200. No-one has done this before
— Hip Hop By The Numbers (@HipHopNumbers) May 27, 2019
It’s an impressive feat, but those who have followed the 28-year-old rapper have seen this coming. He’s a true polymath who maintained his counter-culture allure while continuing to grow as a person. Tyler’s rise is a playbook for modern culture. His Odd Future collective has a distinct yet polarizing brand in hip-hop.
From DJ Booth:
A modern example of artist turned uber-brand turned movement leader is Tyler, The Creator, whose rise to fame was as much undeniable talent as smart marketing. Tyler, The Brand is quirky, outlandish, prodigal, odd, offensive and relatable to a certain strain of young outcasts.
Tyler, The Movement Leader didn’t have to work hard to tap into that angst. By organizing fans around OFWGKTA [Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All], with an annual meeting at Camp Flog Gnaw and the smorgasbord of media offerings, Tyler gave all of his outcast devotees something they felt they could be a part of. For a long time, wearing an Odd Future shirt didn’t just mean you rode hard for Tyler’s music, it meant you considered yourself a member of the Odd Future movement. Part of the family.
It truly is a movement. Tyler launched a music festival before every rapper wanted to do one (Camp Flog Gnaw is now in its eighth year). His Golf Wang apparel brand was pushing a lifestyle before ‘lifestyle branding’ blew up. And his outcast appeal outlasted groups like The Cool Kids, who I had thought were gonna pop and be in the position that Tyler currently is. But Tyler has done a better job with branding than The Cool Kids did.
By design, successful movements need counter-cultural awareness and a disregard for mainstream society. Tyler’s been burned in the past for his partnerships with Mountain Dew and Vans. But his deals with Adult Swim and Converse worked out well.
Both Adult Swim and Converse are niche brands inside of larger companies (Cartoon Network and Nike, respectively). Niche partnerships for in-house brands are ideal for someone like Tyler. These brands have the financial backing of their parent companies with the freedom to be more subversive.
“You just gotta know where you sit, and that’s where people fuck up,” Tyler said last year in an interview with Fast Company. “I know I can’t do an iHeart Radio fuckin’ festival. People don’t know that they don’t matter at certain places.”
If there was ever a thesis statement on Tyler, The Creator’s business mentality, that might be it.
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