Tyler Gregory Okonma, better known as Tyler, the Creator, is an American rapper, record producer, and one of the original members of the music group Odd Future. He has achieved considerable acclaim in the music industry, winning two Grammy Awards, three BET Hip Hop Awards, a BRIT Award, and an MTV Video Music Award.
Tyler’s initial foray into music was with his 2009 self-released debut mixtape, “Bastard,” which drew attention for its horrorcore sound and explicit lyrics. His first studio album, “Goblin,” released in 2011, catapulted him into the mainstream, bolstered by the success of the single “Yonkers” and its music video. This period also saw the rise of Odd Future and controversies surrounding Tyler’s lyrics. With his subsequent album, “Wolf,” released in 2013, Tyler began transitioning from horrorcore to a more alternative hip hop style. His 2015 album “Cherry Bomb” marked a shift towards melodic and jazz-infused sounds, a trend that continued in his later albums “Flower Boy” (2017), “Igor” (2019), and “Call Me If You Get Lost” (2021). The latter two albums received widespread critical acclaim and debuted at number one on the Billboard 200, each winning a Grammy for Best Rap Album.
In addition to music, Tyler is also a visual artist, creating cover art for Odd Future releases, merchandise, and his streetwear brand, Golf Wang, founded in 2011. He also started the annual music festival Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival in 2012 and ran the streaming service Golf Media from 2015 to 2018.
Tyler was born on March 6, 1991, in Hawthorne, California, to a Nigerian father with Igbo ancestry and an American mother of mixed African-American and white Canadian descent. Growing up, he never met his father and lived in Hawthorne, later moving to Ladera Heights. From a young age, Tyler showed a creative streak, designing imaginary album covers and teaching himself to play the piano at 14. He experienced a transient school life, attending 12 different schools in the Los Angeles and Sacramento areas. Despite being too energetic for the drama class and not being allowed in the band class for not reading music, Tyler found his calling in music. He worked briefly at FedEx and Starbucks before fully committing to his musical career, taking his stage name from a Myspace page where he showcased his creative work.
Tyler’s music spans a range of styles, including alternative hip hop, jazz rap, and neo soul, with his early music rooted in horrorcore. His production style evolved from the dark tones of “Goblin” to jazz influences in “Cherry Bomb.” Albums like “Flower Boy” and “Igor” signified a departure from his previous themes, focusing on more personal and conceptual narratives. Tyler cites a range of influences, including Pharrell Williams, Eminem, and other hip-hop and alternative artists, reflecting his eclectic taste and diverse approach to music.
Aside from music, Tyler has made significant strides in fashion. He runs Golf Wang, known for its vibrant streetwear, and Golf Le Fleur, a luxury line that reflects the sophisticated themes of “Call Me If You Get Lost.” Tyler’s multifaceted career showcases his versatility as an artist and his significant impact on both music and fashion industries.