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REWIND: 10 facts about Tyler, The Creator’s ‘WOLF’

Purchase the WOLF vinyl repress here.

Emulating his performance on NIGO’s “Come On, Let’s Go,Tyler, The Creator seems to never not be on perfect timing.

Days after sharing CALL ME IF YOU GET LOST: The Estate Sale — and appearing in the premiere of RapCaviar’s new Hulu docu-seriesthe prolific Hawthorne, California rapper celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his sophomore album WOLF on April 2. Amid a jam-packed week, he also shared an instrumental version of the record the week, further gifting fans with a four-pack vinyl repress — which includes the WOLF original screenplay and all of its alternative covers.

Following his debut album GOBLIN in 2011, WOLF was released in 2013 and features a slew of collaborators, including Frank Ocean, his idol Pharrell Williams, Earl Sweatshirt and Erykah Badu among others.

Revered as one of Tyler’s most pivotal albums, his unique style and artistic development was ultimately coupled with a sense of sonic maturity and evolution altogether. His signature sound became more prevalent, as WOLF still stands as a fan-favorite in his discography a decade after its release.

Gone were the days of GOBLIN’s boisterous bravado — Tyler, the artist, started peek through the curtain.

Check out these 10 facts about ‘WOLF’ below!

Top 10 facts about WOLF

1) WOLF was released on April 2, 2013, and it debuted at No. 3 on the US Billboard 200 chart, selling 89,000 copies in its first week.

2) The album was accompanied by a 45-minute film titled “Wolf” directed by Tyler. The companion flick features Tyler as the lead character: A teenager named Wolf Haley who attends a boarding school called “Camp Flog Gnaw.” The film also features cameos from Odd Future members like Earl Sweatshirt, Domo Genesis and Mike G.

3) The album contains a track called “Rusty” that acts as an Odd Future posse cut of sorts. Verses from Tyler, The Creator, Domo Genesis and Earl Sweatshirt create an infectious energy, as Earl’s verse caused controversy among fans and critics — where he disses his own mother.

4) Tyler wrote and produced all but one of the tracks on the album, with “Lone” being produced by Frank Ocean. This is a testament to Tyler’s versatility as a musician and his ability to create cohesive, sonically rich albums on his own. Tyler’s production style on WOLF draws from a variety of genres, including jazz, soul and funk, also incorporating unconventional sounds and instruments, such as wolf howls and bird chirps. Ocean appears on “Slater” and “PartyIsntOver/Campfire/Bimmer.”

5) In a interview with MTV, Tyler revealed that the album is loosely based on his life and experiences growing up. He stated that he was inspired by the film “The Royal Tenenbaums” and that he created three characters to represent different aspects of himself: Wolf Haley, Sam, and Salem. Throughout the record, Wolf Haley and Tyler become one, as Tyler departs from his old, hurting past self, and morphs into Wolf Haley — a beaming, confident version of his character he wills himself to be.

6) The album’s title track, “Wolf,” interpolates a sample from the 1971 song “The Coldest Days of My Life” by The Chi-Lites. The sample was also used by Kanye West on his song “We Major” from his 2005 album Late Registration. Tyler has cited Kanye West as one of his biggest influences, and was supposedly in line to feature on the record. However, it never came to be.

7) “Wolf” set the tone for the album’s introspective and personal themes, introducing Tyler’s alter ego, Wolf Haley, and establishes the character’s troubled past and present struggles. Here, he showcases his growing musical maturity and sophistication. In an interview with SPIN in 2011, he explained how he planned to combine his taste in both “cheesy indie-jazzy rock” and “ignorant rap.”

8) “Awkward” is a prolific reference point for a slew of underground artists, but most notably for Eem Triplin, who blew up in 2022 off the back of his viral track “Awkward Freestyle.” Eem has openly praised Tyler for influencing his production style, citing Tyler as one of his biggest inspirations.

9) The album was part of a greater trilogy of releases that also included GOBLIN and Cherry Bomb. WOLF was ultimately a departure from Tyle’s more abrasive sound found on his debut, utilizing quirky production cues and more melody than ever before. Tyler raps from the point of view of this eras in the The Estate Sale highlight, “SORRY NOT SORRY.”

10) The album was preceded by two singles, “Domo23” and “Bimmer,” both released on Valentine’s Day in 2013. “Domo23” became an instant cult classic for the GOLFWANG founder, as Frank Ocean’s appearance on “Bimmer” was an inkling to his greater inclusion on the record.

Despite mixed reviews upon its release, WOLF has since been praised for its storytelling, production and artistic growth compared to Tyler’s earlier work. Many critics and fans have cited WOLF as a turning point in his career, where he began to move away from shock value and provocative lyrics towards more introspective and personal themes. The album’s storytelling is particularly noteworthy, as Tyler weaves together multiple narratives and characters throughout the album, creating a rich and immersive world for fans to explore.

Listen to Tyler, The Creator’s ‘WOLF’ below!

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