“Bastard” (Tyler, The Creator)

Following Tyler, The Creator and his critics feels a bit like watching high-schoolers and parents fighting, with both parties alternating roles. (See, for instance, the fairly ham-handed critique in “Bitch Suck Dick” with the patented shock of both mainstream and aspiring lefties.) Premised as a confessional but continuing the offense, narrator impresses/confounds his counselor, Mr. TC. As listeners, though, we hear below this—where “demons” dwell. Form isn’t a strong preoccupation here (see minor nods to horrorcore minimalism), but conservatism is. The psychological subject emerges, abandoned (yet maternally protected); self-mutilating (and outwardly violent); and apathetic in general. The latter is the most confounding, since apathy is an “inherit[ance]” without end—an embodiment literalized and formed through paternal worship. Speaking out, but not acting up.


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