Let’s talk about Tyler the Creator’s sexuality, because everyone else is

Adrienne Oliva, Editor in Chief

Ever since Tyler the Creator’s newest album “Flower Boy” dropped, music journalists left and right have been writing articles trying to prove, disprove, invalidate, and explain the rapper’s sexuality. This album caused a stir in the rap and alternative music community when Tyler released his newest effort, which seems to include telling rhymes and themes surrounding his possible identity as a queer man. Lyrics on the song “I Ain’t Got Time!” even has him admitting that he has “been kissing white boys since 2004.”

Although everything said about Tyler’s sexuality is completely speculative, as the artist has yet to release an official statement, most believe that the answer to what Tyler’s sexuality is isn’t as “straight” as many once thought. This alone ruffles the feather of people both in and out of the queer community.

Some people welcome him in the queer community, some want him banished based on past homophobic comments he’s made, and some are in disbelief that a masculine character, such as Tyler could truly be queer in the first place. Amidst all this speculation, the quality of his new album is often left out of the conversation. This is a shame, because although Tyler’s sexuality seems to be unclear, I believe his newest album “Flower Boy” is clearly the best album Tyler has ever produced. It features his best raps, features, and production. It is disappointing that quality of his album is less evocative to talk about than his sexuality.

Though sexuality often plays an important role in music, by placing Tyler’s at the forefront, it seems that music journalists are denying his right of expression unless his sexuality is clear. By overly focusing on Tyler’s orientation, music journalists seem to unintentionally communicate that the sexuality of the artist matters more than the expression the subject matter.

When publications like The Guardian debate whether or not Tyler is “queer-baiting,” it insinuates artists must go through the process of “coming out” before they have a right to express themselves. This could mean queer artists can’t be artists without sharing their sexuality clearly to the world. This is dangerous thought, as it would mean indirectly outing artists in order to make the expression of their art legitimate.

All we need to know is what Tyler offers us as an artist, and what he offered is his best album to this date.