The hip-hop dominated corners of the internet have been able to talk of little else this week other than the idea that Tyler, The Creator may have come out of the closet on his new album Scum Fuck Flower Boy. It is officially out on July 21, but after a leak this past Sunday, fans have been obsessively poring over numerous lyrics that seem to imply the rapper is indeed expressing a coming out, or at least a coming to terms, with his sexuality.
This has thrown a lot of people into a tailspin. Tyler's entire career as a rapper has been built from his shocking lyrical content, a catalogue that includes nauseating rape and murder fantasies among other various vulgarities. But his language towards the LGBT community in his work has been particularly damning; from an actually insane amount of gay slurs to inappropriate come-ons to crude and callous mislabelling, there should be something to offend just about everybody in the queer community.
And yet in spite of it all, Tyler has simultaneously demonstrated an open---if not, curious---mind towards alternative sexual lifestyles. They are hidden amongst lyrics in wordplay and they are tossed out into various tweets and interviews, but it is undeniable that he has allusions to his sexuality hidden everywhere. Here is an attempt to get them all in one place.
The second track off his debut mixtape Bastard contains this choice lyrical nugget: "Lyrically I'm dope enough to ass-fuck the dude who made nicotine." Which would be unremarkable if it didn't come right after bars about Tyler traveling to Sierra Leone in drag with his grandmother's lipstick.
The track that catapulted Tyler to the mainstream contains a continuation of the notion that he spends his time getting in drag in his grandmother's house. "And danced around the house in all-over print panties," he spits in the second verse.
Where homoerotic references were subtly woven into his bars on his previous albums, this cut from his third full-length Wolf finds Tyler contemplating a relationship with one of his Odd Future mates first as a joke, only to take things a bit more seriously the more he ponders. Not even a 'no homo' tacked onto the end can dissuade from the message here: "So I grabbed Lucas and filmed us kissing / Feelings getting caught, it's off, I'm pissing / You think I give a fuck? I ain't even stick my dick in yet / No homo. Too soon."
This is followed shortly after by Tyler encouraging Peter Pan's Captain Hook to give him fellatio, but that's neither here nor there.
Even in the illustrious collection of Tyler's similes for 'going hard,' saying "I'm going harder than coming out the closet to conservative Christian fathers" is a... curious choice, to say the least.
While it's not officially out until next week, the leaked lyrics to "Garden Shed" are about as clear-cut as it gets. "Garden shed for the garçons / Them feelings I was guardin'" is followed swiftly with a reference to his friend Frank Ocean's similar struggle: "Truth is, since a youth kid, thought it was a phase / Thought it'd be like the Frank; poof, gone / But, it's still goin' on."
"I Ain't Got Time!"
Another track waiting on proper release, this song contains Tyler's most frank admission yet: "Next line, I'll have em' like woah / I've been kissing white boys since 2004."
on Larry King
Tyler ponders Larry's question about the possibility of a gay rapper with an interesting answer.
These quotes from his 'Rolling Stone' profile
"For the past two days I've wondered, is Tyler actually gay? I cannot emphasize how much gay humor plays a role in the atmosphere around him. It's like a continuous loop of the "You know how I know you're gay?" scene in The 40-Year-Old Virgin. Never more than a few minutes pass without him saying he's going to suck someone's dick or him accusing someone of wanting to suck dick. At one point on the bus, he recalls sending nude photos to a group chat with his friends and no one responded. "My friends are so used to me being gay," Tyler says, "they don't even care."
I finally ask, Why all the gay humor? "Because I'm gay as fuck," he says, without a flinch. Seriously, are you gay? Are these repressed feelings? "No, but I am in love with '96 Leonardo DiCaprio," he says. "I one hundred percent would go gay for '96 Leo. Oh, and Cole Sprouse."
All of these tweets
Stay tuned to see if Tyler makes an official comment. Scum Fuck Flower Boy is out on Friday, July 21.
Read our opinion piece on what Tyler's possible coming out would mean for queer culture right here.