Tyler, the Creator, was born Tyler Gregory Okonma on March 6, 1991. His mother is an American coming from mixed African-American/ European-Canadian descent, while his father is a Nigerian with Igbo descent. Unfortunately, Tyler never got the chance to meet his father.
Most of Tyler’s childhood was spent between his hometown of Ladera Heights and the city of Hawthorne in California.
He had a turbulent early life, at least as far as his education was concerned. From first grade until high school graduation, he attended 12 different schools in LA and Sacramento.
He grew up with a keen interest in music and had always dreamed of making a name for himself as a rapper. He played around with the idea when he was only seven years old, developing his own imaginary album covers and inventing track lists — going as far as writing down song lengths.
The pure interest in music developed into dedication as he reached adolescence. By the time he turned 14, Tyler’s already taught himself how to play the piano, and his dream of becoming a rapper was slowly starting to take shape.
However, the path to success wasn’t a short one, and he didn’t just go from school to rapping in an instant. Before he turned to music, he briefly worked for FedEx and then spent well over two years working at Starbucks.
The rise in the popularity of MySpace had allowed him to share his musical talents with the rest of the world. That’s what made him realize that he needed to pursue a career in the music industry.
In 2007, Tyler started taking music more seriously and formed a hip-hop collective known as Odd Future. Besides Tyler, the original group included six more members, Hodgy, Left Brain, Casey Veggies, Jasper Dolphin, Matt Martians, and Pyramid Vritra.
It didn’t take a long time for Odd Future to release their debut mixtape. The Odd Future Tape came out to critical acclaim in November of 2008.
A little over a year later, Tyler the Creator released his solo debut mixtape titled Bastard. The mixtape was self-produced and self-released and marked the beginning of his fruitful career. Pitchfork ranked it at number 32 out of Top 50 Tracks of 2010, and it generally received positive reviews.
Tyler’s solo album debut was with Goblin in 2011. It continued the theme of Bastard, where most of the tracks revolve around a dialogue with Tyler’s fictional therapist Dr. TC.
Bastard and Goblin were somewhat controversial in the UK, resulting in Theresa May forbidding Tyler from entering the country. The ban lasted until 2019.
In 2012, Tyler ventured into the world of television and, together with Odd Future, started working on a comedy sketch show Loiter Squad. The show had three seasons and featured appearances from the likes of Seth Rogen and Lil Wayne, among others.
His album Wolf was released in 2013, and Tyler followed it up with a tour of North America and Europe. Wolf peaked at number 3 on the Billboard 200.
Never one to take a break, Tyler released his third studio album Cherry Bomb in 2015. Some of the big names featured in the tracks include Kanye West, Pharrell Williams, and Charlie Wilson.
Flower Boy came out in 2017 to critical acclaim, getting Tyler his second GRAMMY nomination. However, it’s his fifth album Igor from 2019 that has proven to be his most successful one to date. It was his first album to peak at number 1 on the Billboard 200, and it won Tyler a GRAMMY Award for Best Rap Album.
Tyler the Creator’s musical style has evolved over the years. While he first became known for his gritty, horrorcore music, he’s now developed a more sophisticated approach with a melody not too far off from jazz.
Tyler the Creator Relationships: Who Has He Dated?
Tyler’s always been secretive about his relationships, so not much is known about them. It was rumored in 2016 that he was dating Kendal Jenner, but the rumors were vehemently denied by both of them.
Although it may come as a surprise to some fans considering the fact that many of Tyler’s early songs were somewhat homophobic, it appears that he is gay. Jaden Smith had announced that Tyler was his boyfriend, although Tyler’s never officially confirmed nor denied the claim.
In the News
Over on his Instagram, we see Tyler completely immersed in his music. One of the videos he’s posted shows him working on new songs in a recording studio with quite a view of snow-covered mountains. Could we expect a new album soon? Guess we’ll just have to wait a while and see.
In the meantime, stay tuned to the Shade Room to get all the latest info about Tyler, the Creator!