Did the Tyler, The Creator Album Leak Reveal More Than Music?
When Tyler, the Creator's new album Scum F-ck Flower Boy leaked late Sunday night, fans got perhaps more than they bargained for. Within hours of the album appearing online, his track "I Ain't Got Time!" stirred speculation over its highly-contested allusion to Tyler's sexuality.
"Next line will have ’em like ‘whoa’ / I been kissing white boys since 2004" seemed like a literal enough piece of evidence, and a few tracks later on "Garden Shed," he drops the line "That was real love I was in, Ain’t no reason to pretend,” and later, “All my friends was lost / They couldn’t read the signs / I didn’t want to talk / I tell ’em my location and they ain’t want to walk."
Rap and hip-hop are genres known for being less friendly to homosexuality than most, with rappers frequently still using the F-slur in lyrics to this day. (Though, in all fairness, there's no one genre that could be said to be free of homophobic constituent artists.) Rap fans, accordingly, have had mixed reactions to the possible news of Tyler's coming out. Some have aired their distaste for the news, while others insist that it's not news at all. Going back several years, Tyler's social media posts do appear to support their theory.
Still, the rampant guesswork and frantic connecting of dots have an uncomfortable feeling to them, and it's not guilt over listening to a leaked album. The desperation with which fans and reporters are now analyzing every move the rapper has ever made is frenetic and endless, but it could also be called invasive.
His every act is now under scrutiny, and while homophobia is certainly not the motive for all of the searching, it is still akin to schoolyard rumors where the boy who chose theater studies over woodworking was whispered about (because of course, only girls are in theater). In a time where the President of the United States refuses to acknowledge Pride Month and the Supreme Court is hearing a case about a baker who refuses to prepare a cake for a same-sex couple, it's a potentially dangerous rumor to spread.
Some are even going so far as to speculate that Frank Ocean's lyrics back on his 2012 Channel Orange track "Bad Religion" are about Tyler, and that the two had an affair years before this news was even news-worthy. (The whole song features laments over an unnamed "him" throughout, but lines like "I can never make him love me" have become a particular point of fixation.)
There's rampant confirmation bias all over the place, even if the rumors are true. It's like your best friend saying "I totally knew you were gay" when you come out to them even though you'd never told anyone before. Tyler himself has not spoken to the controversy in the days since it surfaced. Since he's the only one who can definitively prove his sexuality — if he chooses to do so — the question still remains at large.
Scum F-ck Flower Boy officially comes out July 21 on Columbia.
Celebrities Who Have Publicly Come Out: