In case you’re unaware, legendary producer Rick Rubin recently launched the third season of his Broken Record podcast, much to delight of aficionados everywhere. The latest episode features none other than Tyler, The Creator, the man who once spooked Funkmaster Flex so deeply a night light was needed moving forward. Something immediately refreshing about Tyler is the fact that he possesses a musical mind. His ear, while slightly unconventional, has been the catalyst for some truly spectacular moments, many of which came to be on Flower Boy and Igor.
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During the extensive conversation, Tyler opened up about his creative process, revealing his priority tier of songwriting elements. Citing a moment in which Lil Uzi Vert freestyled a melody over a sparse piano progression, Tyler immediately hit record to capture the magic. “That’s the song,” he explains. “Nothing deep. That’s what it was, that’s all I need. I didn’t even know that was going to make it…I like beat first, then melody, and then lyrics…I think everyone listens to different things first.”
“There are songs I have that are horrible lyrically,” he continues. “I like the notes in the background so I listen to them.” Next comes the melody and flow, and lastly the lyrics. “Sound is way more important than words for me personally. Jay-Z for example, he knows how to rap on a beat. He knows how to hear and beat and say I shouldn’t yell on this. The way this feels, this is how my vocal instrument can mesh on this. Some people hear a smooth beat like I’ma fuckin’ yell on this!’ They’re more focused on saying cool shit instead of making a dope song.”
For more from Tyler, Rick, and co-host Malcolm Gladwell, be sure to check out the full episode below.