Tyler, the Creator Plays by the Rules

Notorious Odd Future MC packs Stubb’s without incident

This February, charges of inciting a riot at the Scoot Inn during SXSW 2014 were dropped against Tyler, the Creator, who was instead fined $100 for disorderly conduct in a plea agreement with local authorities. Contingency to the case’s dismissal: Stay out of trouble for three months. His Sunday sell-out proved no hard feelings at least inside Stubb’s.

The Odd Future MC enlisted his L.A. rap collective’s Taco Bennett to warm up with a DJ set, the glorified Spotify playlist including Future, Drake, 2 Chainz, and Kanye West. Twenty minutes in, the eerie chords of “What the Fuck Right Now” shook the venue, along with A$AP Rocky’s introduction:

“They ain’t ready for Tyler with the green hat!”

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Photo by David Brendan Hall

Every hand immediately shot into the air as the rapper leapt onstage, flailing his arms and rolling his head back as he bellowed the lyrics alongside fellow Odd Future co-founder and hype man Jasper Dolphin. After a brief assessment of the weather – “It’s fucking late as fuck and it’s still hot!” – he barreled into “Deathcamp,” off 2015’s Cherry Bomb. Only after the vicious one-two punch did Tyler formally greet the crowd.

“’Sup, dicks?”

Tyler maintained a casual attitude all night.

“I’ve been doing the same set list for like two years,” he admitted. “I’m trash.”

What Tyler lacked in spontaneity, he made up for in sheer aggression. The 25-year-old Southern Californian pushed his voice to the limit with gruff howls and possessed screams, full of vitriol and abandon. His performance owed as much to Iggy Pop as it did Kanye West, his beats distorted, rumbling assaults provoking mosh pits in the nearly hysterical crowd.

Slam dance they did, particularly on “The Brown Stains of Darkeese Latifah Part 6-12 (Remix)” and “Domo23.” Tyler cut the latter short to praise the venue for its audience participation.

“That was fucking insane, Austin! What the fuck?” he shouted, before smiling and starting the song again. “Sorry, I was just having a moment,” he said sheepishly. “My life is awesome.”

Despite the literally breathtaking energy of his most raucous raps, Tyler was at his best when he practiced a little restraint and allowed the melodies to emerge. The throng stood still for “Yonkers,” the tune that catapulted the rapper to stardom, allowing it to unravel like the unsettling drug jam it is. The extended outro to “Bimmer” mesmerized, as did the end of “IFHY,” as the entire audience sang, “The sky is falling, girl let’s try to catch it.”

Sadly, the Sabbath‘s early sound curfew brought the evening to a premature end. This time, Tyler wasn’t about to fight it.

“I went to jail before and it was in Austin, so I’m following all these white people’s rules,” he said before ripping into his spirited closer, “Tamale.”

The song perfectly embodies the rapper’s ethos: shockingly vulgar, wickedly funny, deceptively intelligent, incredibly annoying, and completely unforgettable.

Some things are worth the wait.

Photo by David Brendan Hall

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for over 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

SXSW Tackles AI in 2024 Speaker List
SXSW Tackles AI in 2024 Speaker List
Rosario Dawson, ChatGPT head appearing next year

Richard Whittaker, Aug. 29, 2023

Yes, You Should Move to Austin
Yes, You Should Move to Austin
But only if …

Maggie Q. Thompson, March 17, 2023

More by Bryan Rolli
SXSW Music Keynote: Garth Brooks
SXSW Music Keynote: Garth Brooks
Country music standard talks up songwriters

March 18, 2017

SXSW Music Live: MetalSucks Showcase
SXSW Music Live: MetalSucks Showcase
Even death won’t get festivalers off Sixth Street

March 17, 2017


Tyler, the Creator, Odd Future, Taco Bennett, Jasper Dolphin, A$AP Rocky, Future, Drake, 2 Chainz, Kanye West, Iggy Pop, SXSW

One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Keep up with happenings around town

Kevin Curtin's bimonthly cannabis musings

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle