Odd Future mastermind Tyler, the Creator unleashes havoc on the music industry with his much-buzzed-about commercial debut Goblin, landing in stores today. On the 73-minute set, the 20-year-old L.A. native stalks a girl as she showers (“She”), stabs Bruno Mars (“Yonkers”), and boldly conveys his sexual fantasies (“Bitch Suck Dick”). Did the critics award or abhor his outrageous behavior? Find out below.
The New York Times: Goblin is spiteful, internal, confident, vitriolic, vividly bruised stuff, a shocking—and shockingly good—album that bears little resemblance to contemporary hip-hop. It has more in common with the stark, thick-with-feelings independent rap of the mid-to-late-1990s and also the improbably rich-sounding minimalism of the Neptunes in the early 2000s.
The Washington Post: Goblin doubles as a Rorschach test, challenging listeners’ assumptions about acceptable levels of misogyny, homophobia, and violence. But Goblin needs to be better than it is shocking and, too often, it isn’t. It’s skate rat torture porn, riveting in its best moments, unlistenable in its worst, and ultimately closer to Saw II than to Scarface.
SPIN: Is the entire thing about 20 minutes too long? Probably. But the obvious lack of outside meddling proves that Tyler’s auteur status remains intact. He is, in the parlance of our times, still swaggin’. 8/10
Chicago Tribune: He tries to make the most of his opportunity. Goblin depicts Tyler as a tangle of contradictions: volatile, humorous, moody, needy, even vulnerable. 2.5/4
BBC Music: Goblin is old school for a new generation, a passion-fuelled breath of fresh air from the stale sea of radio friendly, over-produced and clichéd rap. It goes to prove you can’t box in Tyler, because you really don’t know where he’ll go next.
The A.V. Club: Even more than Tyler’s 2009 debut Bastard, Goblin has stretches of virtuosic inspiration amid patches of extreme self-indulgence. At 73 minutes, it’s overlong, occasionally repetitious, and sometimes detestably juvenile, yet those excesses do little to detract from the raw talent on display. B+
Rap-Up’s Favorite Tracks: “Yonkers,” “She,” “Her,” “Golden”