Cherry Bomb follows hot on the heels of I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, a well-received drop from Tyler’s Odd Future companion, Earl Sweatshirt. But, what we’re looking at here are two musical polarities; far from Earl’s reserved and quietly thoughtful beats, Cherry Bomb is fast, loud, and different.
That last descriptive is what I’ll be basing the majority of this review upon- while trickles of Odd Future still drip from the edges of this 13-track, 54-minute album, it is a fundamental change. we’ve still got Tyler’s characteristic bassy drawl slicing its way through sparse and minimalistic tracks, Odd Future’s inherent darkness seems to have become darker still- the heavy, thumping drumlines and aggressive distortion of the album’s title track serve to remind us that Tyler isn’t afraid to dig a little deeper.
For the most part, the album is great. Tyler’s flow is still syrupy-smooth, rumbling through the album with masterful rhythm and rhyme. Old-school inspiration coupled with new-school technology has resulted in a well-produced yet classically authentic album. At nearly an hour, Tyler’s creative scope has been widened, and as a result, the album feels much wider and more carefully produced than his previous work. As mentioned, he isn’t afraid to overstep the mark and put his feelers into unknown territory- his willingness to experiment with a variety of samples and mixing arrangements has given us an album that is consistently refreshing.
The album, while home to several excellent tracks, began to feel a little too jumpy and, in some places, overly conceptual. While I admire Tyler’s attitude and flair for coming up with new arrangements, his production becomes too much on some tracks, such as THE BROWN STAINS OF DARKEESE LATIFAH PART 6-12, where rain-sticks and kazoos combine to create some of the weirdest, and heaviest production sounds that I’ve heard on recent releases. It’s not terrible, but on some tracks, Tyler’s experimental mixing nearly succeeds in drowning out the rap itself. There are honestly some songs that I can’t finish, purely because the various clicks and beeps are too annoying.
This is my only real gripe with Cherry Bomb. While Tyler has once again proven that he can not only rap, but that he is prepared to continue the Odd Future tradition of pushing musical boundaries and bringing something new to the hip-hop game. In this case, though, he may have pushed the boat out a little too far- I’m a big fan of Tyler, and Odd Future, but some of the production of this album is questionable at best. However, this is not to say that this is the case with all of the tracks- in fact, most of the tracks are the classic Molasses-voiced Tyler walking us through a forest of brass instruments and reverb-laden beats. Finally, to top it all off, there’s a Kanye feature towards the end. Overall, a very solid album that might get a little annoying over time.