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Rap’s crowning misanthrope explores a softer side

As its title suggests (albeit a little backhandedly), Flower Boy explores a softer side of Tyler, the Creator. Not that he wasn’t thoughtful before, or that he’s lost his edge now—if anything, the dark wit and internal conflict that made Goblin a lightning bolt in 2011 has only gotten richer and more resonant, offset by a sound that cherry-picks from early-'90s hip-hop and plush, Stevie-style soul (“Garden Shed,” the Frank Ocean-featuring “911 / Mr. Lonely”). “Tell these black kids they can be who they are,” he raps on “Where This Flower Blooms.” “Dye your hair blue, s**t, I’ll do it too.”

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