A founding member of the collective Odd Future, Tyler, the Creator is a rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Never a stranger to controversy, his earliest work was some of the most aggressive content to come out in recent years, verging on the offensive for many. He would transition away from that, not entirely, for much of his career after 2015, expanding his audience by tackling mental health issues and finding widespread critical acclaim for his songwriting abilities.
Tyler’s career has earned him two Grammy Awards and a slew of other accolades, making him one of the biggest names in the industry in the process. In this article, we’ll take a look at 31 of the best songs Tyler, the Creator has ever produced.
While Yonkers generated some controversy for having violent lyrics and plenty of the disses we love to hear in the hip hop world, it was met with widespread critical acclaim. So much so that Yonkers is generally thought to be Tyler, the Creator’s breakout single, earning him the MTV Video Music Award for Best New Artist in 2011.
It was super catchy, making it onto the Bubbling Under Hot 100 at numbers two and nine on the US Heatseekers Songs chart. The music video was also a bit insane, seeing Tyler eat a cockroach at the end of the first verse, an act with enough shock value to catapult the video and song to viral fame.
2. See You Again
Tyler, the Creator originally wrote See You Again for Zayn Malik but kept it after the artist essentially turned it down. It wound up serving as the fourth single for Tyler’s fourth studio album Flower Boy in 2017, turning into a triple platinum song for him. It was one spot from breaking onto the R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart, peaking at number one of the Bubbling Under version of that one.
See You Again was totally in line with the other dreamy tracks from Flower Boy, showcasing the artist’s ability to be true to himself while also containing infectious sections for fans to scream along with. Plus, it was absolutely contagious, and if you’ve heard it before, you won’t be able to resist screaming along when Tyler’s vocals kick up on the track with “OKOKOKOKOKOKOK.”
3. New Magic Wand
New Magic Wand saw Tyler trying to convince someone he cares for not to leave him, going as far as threatening them to get what he wants. According to Tyler the Creator, it’s the best song he’s ever put out and one of his favorite songs of all time. That likely stems from mirroring the emotional state he was in when he recorded it, with a mind that just wouldn’t stop.
The song shows Tyler on the edge of self-destruction with its intense instrumentals and cutting vocal sprees. He’s simultaneously overwhelmed and unable to think straight, a dangerous combination when you’re on the verge of losing someone you love.
4. Are We Still Friends?
A common thing in breakups is to try to tell someone you’ll still be friends in an attempt to soften the blow. But can you ever really go back to being friends with a former lover? That’s the question Tyler the Creator wrestles with in this song as he tries to convince himself he’s over the person and just looking for a way to keep them in his life. It’s an awful situation to be stuck in. The song has a somewhat funky beat and features Jack White on the guitar solo found in the song.
Are We Still Friends? was also a turning point for Tyler. He had always wanted to sing on a record, but this was the first time he did so with maturity and was able to make something that felt good rather than sounding pedestrian. It was a game-changer for the artist and one of the best examples of his true singing talent.
5. Tron Cat
Tron Cat was a controversial inclusion on Tyler the Creator’s debut album Goblin, with the controversy stemming from lines like “R*pe a pregnant b*tch and tell my friends I had a threesome” that saw protestors show up at concerts and the artist being banned from the UK for five years.
It also got leaked by a person close to Tyler before the album could be released, which sucked pretty hard. In the end, it’s still one of his best songs, but if you don’t like certain parts of it, I don’t blame you.
Smuckers was a major collaboration for Tyler the Creator that saw him work alongside Lil Wayne and Kanye West. Coming from the artist’s 2015 album Cherry Bomb, Smuckers would eventually make it to number eight on the US Billboard Bubbling Under R&B/Hip Hop Singles chart despite not being released as a single. That made it the only non-release from the album to chart, proving the song probably should have been one of the final releases.
If you don’t know, now you know. IFHY stands for “I Fucking Hate You,” a sentiment many people could get behind at some point in their lives. It covered the anger and rage that can stem from unrequited love, serving as one of the most emotional songs on Tyler’s 2013 album Wolf. It’s also a showcase of Tyler’s creative skills, utilizing heavy instrumentation that was more techno-heavy than you may expect in the beginning before turning into something that’s almost sweet as he starts thinking they may be able to work things out.
8. I Think
The third track on Igor, I THINK, shows the conflicting feelings that were going through Tyler’s brain when he came up with the song. It wonders whether it’s best to remain vulnerable or push the other person away, eventually deciding their bond is too strong, and he should believe in love. Much of the album tackles the same feelings and themes, but I THINK had both the best production and the most emotion behind the lyrics.
9. A Boy Is A Gun
A Boy Is A Gun might be one of Tyler the Creator’s most emotionally heavy songs to date and one of the best examples of his songwriting skills. It’s a soft track that manages plenty of gunshots and explosive noises in the chorus, telling the complicated story of Tyler’s relationship with a male partner.
Sadly, the partner chooses an ex over Tyler, with the song diving into the feelings that trauma caused. It’s a dual song in that you can both rock out to it or listen to it as you cry into a pillow at night, but that’s life listening to Tyler the Creator.
10. Best Interest
Sometimes an artist’s best work remains unfinished in its entirety, leaving one to wonder what could have been if it had been worked on to fruition. Best interest is one of those songs for Tyler the Creator, originally worked on during recording sessions for Igor. Like another song or two on this list, it would be released as a standalone single around six months after the Igor album came out, with the song and music video being announced on Tyler’s Instagram. It largely plays along with the themes of Igor, seeing Tyler expressing frustration with a relationship that sees his partner not consider him their main lover.
11. CHERRY BOMB
Cherry Bomb is undoubtedly one of Tyler the Creator’s most energetic songs. The title track of his 2015 album is one of his shallowest songs, meant for live shows and rocking out without any hidden meaning behind the lyrics, as confirmed by the artist himself on Twitter. I will say, if you’re depressed, don’t listen to it. While high energy, a chorus, and a hook discussing hanging yourself isn’t something you need to hear.
Tyler’s Call Me If You Get Lost album added some comedy elements to his work, with WUSYANAME being one of the best examples of it. It’s got 2000s pop vibes, but it is essentially Tyler trying to pick up a woman he knows is taken, comically doing it in the worst way possible.
Heck, he even says the girl looks malnourished, which according to him, was the point as he didn’t want to use a good pickup line. If she does end up with him, she won’t have to worry about formulating a good skincare routine, though, he’s got her covered. It wound up being a solid hit song and featured YoungBoy Never Broke Again, Ty Dolla $ign, and a beat from DJ Drama.
There have been a lot of songs with the title “she” in the past, but none like this one. She essentially tells the story of a man who stalks and threatens a lonely woman after becoming infatuated with her, a dark love song that was somehow one of the most romantic offerings to come from Tyler’s Goblin album.
It’s meant to be unnerving, with Frank Ocean joining Tyler on the track and contributing quite a lot to its overall vibe. The themes in it were partially responsible for early controversies in Tyler’s career, which makes sense as the narrator basically threatened to kill the woman if she turned him down, but has always been a favorite of his original fans.
14. What’s Good
While Igor was largely an emotional album and one you could shed some tears listening to, not every song on the album was going to be so heartfelt. What’s Good was a chance for Tyler’s fans to throw down in a mosh pit, a banging good time that drops you on your head right when you think it will end and keeps going even harder than before.
15. Who Dat Boy
Who Dat Boy may be the most intense and hard track on Flower Boy, seeing Tyler reach back into his roots with violent lyrics and flexing energy. It was one of the first songs to leak from the album and helped it bring in strong initial sales among the fans who loved it.
16. 9/11 / Mr. Lonely
911/Mr. Lonely was one of Tyler’s best double songs and served as the 10th track on his Flower Boy album. In the song, Tyler plays the role of a 911 operator, metaphorically representing him being available to listen to other people’s problems but nobody being there to listen to his.
It was a big collaboration, seeing him team up with Frank Ocean, A$AP Rocky, Steve Lacy, ScHoolboy Q, and Anna of the North. It’s a trademark depressing song from Tyler, growing more and more depressing the farther along into it you get. It was also a surprise track on the album because of how depressing it was, as he had recently gone away from his dark roots into more songs about flexing.
17. What The Fuck Right Now
What The Fuck Right Now is a bit weird regarding collaborations, seeing as A$AP Rocky doesn’t have a verse and only provides ad-libs on the song. Regardless, it was an awesome thing to see him and Tyler, the Creator, on the same track, and was an absolute heater of a music video.
Tyler used November to air out a lot of fears and anxieties he had to deal with in his life. From being scared of his employees stealing money to having to pull his car over when he was afraid he would crash. It tries really hard to remember a good memory, coming up with the summer of 2006 for Tyler while asking fans when their good times were.
19. Garden Shed
Garden Shed was the song that Tyler the Creator used to officially come out as bisexual, and though he does directly address it in the second verse it remains somewhat unclear if that was the song’s point in the first place. It used a garden shed as a metaphor for keeping your orientation hidden, swapping out the more common phrase of “in the closet.” It was the first time Tyler confronted these topics head-on and in a serious way, making it a defining song for the artist and one very dear to his fans.
Recommended: Playlist of songs about Gardens
Boredom continued the themes of loneliness, isolation, and sadness that permeated Flower Boy when it was released as the album’s third single in 2017. It saw Ana of the North, Corinne Bailey Rae, and Rex Orange County all provide vocals on a song that came from the depths of Tyler’s emotional state back in the day.
Tyler the Creator initially wrote Earfquake for Justin Bieber and Rihanna, but both artists turned it down. It became a classic for Tyler, with one of his most iconic music videos. In it, he performs the song in a blonde wig on a fictional television talk show. The title of it was inspired by an actual earthquake that Tyler experienced while he was writing the song, with a little bit of his signature spin on the spelling and pronunciation.
22. Potato Salad
Potato Salad didn’t break any molds by seeing Tyler, the Creator and A$AP Rocky trading lines about money, clothing, and success, but it was still fire. It teased a more substantial collaboration between the two artists, seeing them rap under the Eiffel Tower in the music video, but that album collab is yet to be confirmed.
Yes, Tyler the Creator loves to inject humor into his songs and music videos, but this one had a jarring lack of it. Totally serious in nature, 48 was basically a condemnation of drug use and a reminder to help people who are struggling with addiction. The song focuses on a character from the album named Sam, seeing him ponder over all the lives he has ruined as a crack dealer and struggling with stress. It kind of mirrored Tyler’s stress in a way, serving as a metaphorical canvas for him to get some things out of his head and into the open air.
Tyler’s second album, Wolf, was much more aggressive and loud than his first album Golbin. Jamba was one of the songs that helped set that tone, placed right after the title song of the album, right at the beginning. It’s probably one of Tyler’s best hype songs, sure, to have you setting new personal bests in the gym next time you go, but it also continued a few themes from Goblin and set up the end for some of the stories it was telling.
Tamale is straight up a funny song. Long beloved by fans, it verges on the ridiculous as it laughs in the face of Tyler’s critics and bounces around on the range of obscene. As an example of ridiculous, you’d expect being critical of people who are critical of you, but who’s out there ready to suplex some guy’s sister off a tall building? Overall, Tamale served as a nice break from the emotionally heavy songs on Tyler’s Wolf album and came with a hilarious music video.
Call Me If You Get Lost saw Tyler move away from his dark and depressing lyrics and into an era of flexing. LEMONHEAD was a prime example of that on the album, seeing DJ Drama, Tyler, and 42 Dugg flaunting their accumulated wealth and making fun of the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Glitter may conceptually be just a voicemail on Tyler’s phone. It does away with all the fear and anxiety of its preceding track and is primarily a love note for the person receiving the call. Sadly, it’s a note that won’t ever be delivered, as the machine malfunctions and doesn’t save the voicemail.
28. Ain’t Got Time
If you’re like me and sometimes your mind just races with no way to turn it off, you’ll appreciate I Ain’t Got Time. It’s basically Tyler putting his restless mind to paper, full of ad-libs, an off-kilter beat, and always shifting topics. It’s just vague enough to hook you in and leave you wondering while dropping lines that seem to run tangents in every possible direction.
While most of Tyler The Creator’s songs are rapped over some of the sickest beats we’ve ever heard, Corso broke that mold. Rather than use the drums in the song, he spits on top of a solo piano in a way that can only be described as graceful. It sees Tyler protecting himself from rejection and negative things by showering himself with the finest things he can find, with the title inspired by the breed of guard dog called the cane corso.
30. Where This Flower Blooms
Where This Flower Blooms was one of the songs that helped set the calmer tone of Flower Boy and saw Tyler teaming up with Frank Ocean yet again. It wound up being a pretty big hit single and was one of the reasons that Flower Boy brought Tyler and his new sound a whole new crop of fans.
OKRA is a standout track for Tyler, not because of his incredible lyrical abilities, but just because the bass beat is that damn good. It was one of his catchiest songs that were released as a standalone single on YouTube, never making it to an album.
As a contributing writer for Music Grotto, Dakotah writes and produces professional music/media content. He works closely with editorial staff to meet editorial standards and create
quality content for the Music Grotto website. Dakotah is passionate about music in a wide variety of genres, from hip-hop to country and lo-fi to metal, and he enjoys creating music pieces for Music Grotto.