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Pink, shorts and gold teeth: a conversation with Tyler The Creator

The rapper talked about his brand, his cars and why he can't stand backpacks

Pink, shorts and gold teeth: a conversation with Tyler The Creator The rapper talked about his brand, his cars and why he can't stand backpacks
Glauco Canalis
«I really like bags, I think backpacks are strange past a certain age. After 23 they start to be weird, if you're a college student or going hiking take off that backpack, grab a nice bag and go. If you have a beard and you have a backpack, maybe you have a problem».

Tyler The Creator should be a stand-up comedian. Or at least it could, judging by the reaction of the audience that participated in Converse's Conversation with Tyler The Creator for the Creative All Star Series in London.  

Every time Tyler says something, and the very way he says it, his calculated spontaneity and his facial mimicry resemble those of a performer who in addition to be a rapper, producer, director and designer would be another one of the many other things that he’s good at. Interviewed by Vogue's Fashion News Director, Chioma Nnadi, and an indefinite number of British fans, the Tyler the Creator who turned out in London was both the Grammy-winning rapper, and the designer who in recent years is trying to rewrite the concept fashion and shoe design, starting from the inspiration that his Los Angeles could have on him: «It was something that I didn’t understand until I became an adult and I think a lot of people do not understand, or maybe they understand it and I am stupid. The place where you grow up and where you live influences everything you do. I started thinking about it in 2014, when with Golf we put some costumes in our winter release. I remember comments from people saying, "Why are you releasing costumes in December, stupid"? and I, looking at my window, thought, "Why is it fucking hot!"  Even the fact that the sun is always so high, and it's always so bright and saturated the colors so vivid is perhaps why I like saturated colors, light colors, pink and I like mountains and bikes. Maybe it's obvious to everyone, but I didn't understand it until, like, last week».

It's possible to consider Tyler The Creator an outsider in the fashion world and what he has done with Golf up to the collaborations with Converse and Lacoste is proof of that. Responding to a question about his possible involvement in a Fashion Week, Tyler said: «I really believe that the concept is outdated, and that's why I started to show the collections on video. Brands spend all that money, because believe me that stuff costs so much, for 7 minutes of show, for people who don't give a shit and just want to make videos for Instagram. Do all this, get people from all over the world, and where does the video of the show end? On Youtube! So I thought, I'm going straight to Youtube». 

Tyler the Creator's taste has always been very unique: since the days of Odd Future, to the modern evolution in IGOR, going through his skater period ("I haven't skated in a long time, now I prefer the bike, I think it has something to do with my age") and his Supreme phase (Tyler and Odd Future have often claimed the authorship of Supreme's modern hype explosion) the things Tyler liked didn't necessarily appeal to anyone before I liked Tyler: "Now I like pink, pants, afros, golden teeth, and Shorts. I love shorts, now it's too cold to wear but I really want too much to wear shorts right now", and the cars of course, of which Tyler is almost a nerd so much that he can answer the question about his favorite cars at the moment, he said: "Ferrari LaFerrari, Lancia Delta, I wanted this FIAT 151 but I can't find it, Rolls Royce Cullinan and Bmw E30 M3." On the other, Tyler said what he loathes: «I don't like sellout, sellout, because I think a lot of brands get like 10 things out, so they can say they've done sellouts; the resell, once maybe it could work but now it's really getting lousy "Dude, those are used boxers because they're for sale?" ... What else I don't like... pretty much everything to be honest, but I try not to say it too often. Ah, I hate track pants, especially those with rubber bands on the ankles." ». 

Tyler, wearing a new pair of Converses, also talked about how he and the brand got in touch (and it seems that also Pharrell was involved): «I was working on a shoe - and working on a shoe is really hard when you don't know what you're doing and you don't know I wasted my time figuring out what you should do - and a photo of a sample was posted online, which is something I hate because people then write "Oh my god, I love it" when it's disgusting. A great friend of mine then asked me "How's going with the shoes" and I "You know, so-so". And he tells me that he's going to put me in touch with a friend of his who works in the sneaker industry, and that he can give me all the directions I need. At that point Clancy (Tyler's manager) knew a person who worked in the same company, so we ended up in a meeting with Converse. We sit down, we talk, and they say, "Hell, the prototype is really weird." And then I say, "I know, I need your help." They sent me a One Star and I liked them, I had never seen them in my life and it was just why they needed me too. So we got engaged and the rest is history». 

The idea we have of Tyler is probably very different from the real Tyler, or at least from how Tyler professes to be. His typical day is all you wouldn't expect from a Los Angeles superstar: «I wake up at 7am, sit in my sauna for about 15 minutes because I like to sweat, shower, bike to a meeting or office, work like that. They pick me up, I put the bike in the pick up, we go to eat, afternoon in the studio, I come home for 8.30 and bed by 10 o'clock».

Tyler also talked about his being straight edgeI didn't even know there was this straight edge thing. I just never wanted to drink, I smoked a few times and thought it wouldn't be fun and I wouldn't do it again». 

Of course, there was also talk about everything about Tyler rapper and producer, the incredible success of IGOR and how, from Flower Boy onwards, the music made by Tyler also pleased his motherIt took me time to figure out how to get to this point and understand everything what I had to do. We'll be thinking about the next 10 years, because I don't know what I'm going to do, but it's definitely going to be something incredible, but finally getting to this point and seeing what I've done in the last 10 years is something that's really made me feel good. I was glad I won the Grammys, sure, but doing the performance I did, in that environment, was all that mattered. The fact that they made me do it, that I came in with a fucking bus on stage, and doing the performance that I did and everyone talked about it, was a victory for me».

2019 was definitely Tyler's year, although he's come very close to perfection for the last decade. The only regrets? "Only two: the first is something I don't remember, and the second is not having seen Pharrell at Coachella."