A Look at Tyler the Creator’s “IGOR”

A Look at Tyler the Creator’s “IGOR”

Ryan Brown, Editorial Team

Tyler the Creator’s fifth studio album, IGOR, is a genre blend of pop, hip hop, funk, and everything in between that was released on May 17, 2019. It follows a narrative of a love triangle where Tyler is dating a man in secret, despite the man having a girlfriend. The album is a story of love, life, and death, told entirely through song.

The introduction song, “IGOR’S THEME”, is mainly just that: an introduction. The track features additional guest vocals from Lil Uzi Vert and Solange. The lines “runnin’ ‘round town they gon’ feel this one” and “got my eyes open” are repeated throughout the song, indicating that this is Tyler looking back on the situation. It tells the audience that they will feel about the vibe of the album and what’s to come, and that finally, after it’s all over, Tyler sees it clearly. His eyes are open.

If you’ve heard a song off IGOR, it was most likely “EARFQUAKE”, the album’s second track. It was played on radio stations nationwide shortly after its release, peaking at #13 on the Billboard Top 100. This is likely due to its pop elements and its love-song-esque chorus, which features Charlie Wilson. The first verse, by Playboi Carti, is your average rap verse, but the second verse, by Tyler, explains how he feels the man gives more attention to his girlfriend than he does Tyler despite how strongly he feels about him. “I don’t want no confrontation, no / And you don’t want my conversation / I just need some confirmation on how you feel.”

“I THINK” follows Tyler as his feelings intensify. He’s falling in love. Truly. The track features Solange for the second time on this album for the chorus and post-chorus. In the second verse, Tyler sings, “I’m your puppet, you are my Jim Henson” which is alluding to the later track “PUPPET.”

“EXACTLY WHAT YOU RUN FROM YOU END UP CHASING” is a brief interlude which features a snippet of comedian Jerrod Carmichael. On IGOR, his voice serves to foreshadow themes in other songs on the album. “Exactly what you run from, you end up chasing,” Carmichael says. “Like, you can’t avoid, but just chasing it and just like trying. Giving it everything that you can. There’s always an obstacle.”

In the intro to the fifth track, “RUNNING OUT OF TIME,” Tyler sings, “Running out of time to make you love me.” Tyler loves this man, but the feelings aren’t reciprocated. With this, Tyler gets upset at the man for not coming out of the closet. He’s losing his temper, which leads to–

“NEW MAGIC WAND” starts with another Carmichael quote, before a heavy synth in the background. The song is loud and brutal, matching Tyler, who’s lost it completely. He’s desperate, begging for the man not to leave him, while still being preoccupied thinking about his (now ex-)girlfriend. The refrain’s repeated lyric “like magic, gone” hints at what’s to come: “She’s gonna be dead, I just got a magic wand.” He wants the man to be his and in his eyes, there’s only one way to achieve that.

“A BOY IS A GUN*” is much softer than the song before. Tyler’s conflicted. He believes the man’s ex is gone from his life until she shows up at breakfast with them. He’s brushing the man off, and in the end, says “Stay … away from me.”

“PUPPET” features Kanye West. It details how controlling love can be and the obsessive and protective nature of it. In the chorus, between Tyler repeating, “I’m your puppet / You control me,” Kanye sings, “Did I wait too long?” which is a callback to “RUNNING OUT OF TIME.” He was running out of time to make the man love him, but did he wait too long? Would the man have loved him had Tyler made him sooner? The song ends with Carmichael: “But at some point, you come to your senses.”

Tyler isn’t Tyler. He’s Igor, based upon the Gothic “Igor” archetype as a villain’s assistant and represents a darker, apathetic side of Tyler that comes out. This is clear in “WHAT’S GOOD” as he sings “If the cop says my name … I’m Igor.” This song is reminiscent of “NEW MAGIC WAND” and is your basic rap song, violent bars over a heavy beat, but with much darker intentions. Carmichael finishes again. “I don’t know what’s harder, letting go or just being okay with it.”

Carmichael’s ending of “WHAT’S GOOD” leads right to “GONE GONE / THANK YOU” in which Tyler comes to terms with the fact that he cannot control the outcome of his relationship. The song features Ceelo Green, who sings, “Whether it’s rain or shine, I know I’m fine for now / My love’s gone.”

Tyler’s over the relationship. At least, he tells himself he is. “I DON’T LOVE YOU ANYMORE” follows Tyler lying to himself, saying that he doesn’t love the man. That’s not true, of course, because in the next song, “ARE WE STILL FRIENDS?,” Tyler’s still figuring out a way to keep the man in his life, even after heartbreak. The song features Pharrell Williams and finishes up the album.

IGOR is a heartbreaking story of love and the turmoil that comes with it. It is one of the best albums of all time, and it deserves a listen.