Rapper/producer Tyler, the Creator, who played Monday night to a sold-out crowd at the TLA, is a goofball. On solo efforts away from the Odd Future hip-hop collective (whose other star is singer Frank Ocean), such as the albums Bastard and Goblin and the mix-tape Wolf, Tyler indulges in everything from hilariously, hypersexualized vampire and automobile fantasies to scabrous riffs on homophobia, rape, and misogyny that he swears are just jokes. He named his clothing line after a spoonerism for the Odd Future alter-ego Wolf Gang. The result, Golf Wang, refers to both the boring and the rude, and Tyler pushes it in fans' faces whenever he gets the chance. When he appears on stage, he contorts his rubbery face into a constant series of mugs, tics, and scrunches.
Standing before an oversized Golf Wang logo with hype-man Jasper Dolphin and DJ Taco (both from Odd Future, each wearing Golf Wang T-shirts), after hacking through a tune with a title so salacious it shall not be printed here, Tyler declared: "Philly, you're crazier than me." That seemed to be richly illustrated seconds later, when some in the audience took off their clothes and threw them on stage, which left more than one topless and panties-less. "Why you wanna throw us your clothes when it's freezing outside?" asked Tyler. "We don't want 'em."
When not making faces and ducking clothes, Tyler growled through an often beautiful, broken set of melodies whose lines and chord changes were reminiscent of vintage Todd Rundgren. "Ten minutes can't go past without you brushing my thoughts," Tyler croak-crooned during the cloudy, soulful "IFHY" before its raging, romantic chorus and blood-curdling scream finale (also very Todd). Tyler's "Answer," with its ringing guitar sample, arching melody, and such lyrics as "I hope you pick up your phone," sounded like Rundgren's "Hello It's Me."
Beyond showing Rundgren-like vulnerability, Tyler and his crew made sex dumbly indecent in "VCR/Wheels" ("push my buttons, baby") and diabolically stalker-ish in "She" (rhyming "masturbate" and "got the courage to ask you on a date"). Tyler also showed a flair for rapping over the blue organ riffs of "48" and the anthemic bounce of "Cowboy."