January 10, 2023

Sense and Sensibility: The Tyler, The Creator Playbook

Mayuyuka Kaunda

In a previous article we assessed how Nigerian record label Mavin Records positioned the announcement of their latest signee Bayanni to court fans. With their #SoulFoodByBayanni and #ListenToBayanni campaigns, they attached the artist’s music to his audience's sensory experiences. In today's newsletter, we look at how an entire career can be sustained through this approach with Odd Future and Tyler, The Creator being the posterchildren for this mini-thesis.

Comprised of Mike G, brandUn DeShay, Syd, Travis "Taco" Bennett, Tyler, the Creator, Domo Genesis, Casey Veggies, Hodgy, Left Brain, Matt Martians, Jasper Dolphin, Na-Kel Smith, Frank Ocean, Pyramid Vritra and Earl Sweatshirt; Odd Future was a collective of rappers, designers, directors and producers who took the world by storm. Largely a counter-cultural force defined by provocative antics, risque content and an edgy aesthetic; this was a movement fuelled by youthful rebellion. Out of this LA-formed motley crew of talented creatives emerged the Grammy-winning Tyler, The Creator - a rapper/producer who embodied the collective’s defiant ethos. Today, we take a look at how he and Odd Future leveraged the senses of their fan’s to build successful careers. Their growth can largely be attributed to how they created content we’re able to hear, see and feel. 

Wallpaper Abyss


Having first released their debut project, The Odd Future Tape, in 2008, Odd Future would follow with a further mixtape and compilation before dropping their collaborative debut album in 2012. Capitalizing on a growing fan base that has since gained cult status, Tyler released his debut album Goblin in 2011. The collective would be a great platform for its members who continued to release music both individually and as part of sub-groups. Being part of a community buoyed by cross-collaboration, Tyler could tap into his co-conspirators’ creativity and support bases. More importantly this helped Tyler craft a sound that has shocked and dazzled in equal measure, throughout its evolution. Who doesn’t love music that elicits a response?  

Scott Kowalchyk / CBS


While anchored by music; Odd Future and its members branched into several fields and explored various creative outlets. Their sketch show, Loiter Squad provided an added medium to reach an audience and put faces to their voices. Running from 2012 to 2014, Loiter Squad’s irreverent comedy would birth several viral clips on social media. Helping garner traction into the zeitgeist. While Tyler made television appearances on The Mindy Project and Jackass Forever, his journey from alternative figurehead to mainstream artist was punctuated by stops at the Late Show With David Letterman, Jimmy Kimmel Live! and The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. From Odd Future’s innovative use of Tumblr to an appreciation of tv - tapping into relevant mediums is central to making Tyler, The Creator a fan favorite 


While what we hear and see can establish great connections; the memories we can create through things we’re able to feel are endless. For Tyler, The Creator and Odd Future, merch and fashion represented that opportunity. While the group had a brand of the same name, Tyler’s Golf Wang has grown in spades since its formation in 2011. Its streetwear aesthetic is contrasted by Golf Le Fleur - a luxury undertaking that signals the evolution of both Tyler’s taste and demographic. Within this new direction, offerings such as the French Waltz fragrance mean we can also smell a Tyler creation.  

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