By Kwase Lane, Staff Writer
Hello, and welcome back to Between the Bars. It’s been a little while, but let’s jump right in. This week we’ll be taking a look at the first verse of “November” by Tyler the Creator. This song embodies the more introspective tones Tyler adopted on his latest album: Flower Boy. As always, you should listen to the track before reading the rest of the article so the music is fresh in your head. With that being said, let’s get started.
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“What if Clancy fuckin’ me over?/ What if ‘Who Dat Boy’ is rhetorical and this shit is over?/ What if I’m hustling backwards?/ What if my accountant ain’t payin’ my taxes?/ Fillin’ his pockets and IRS show up asking me questions/ I couldn’t answer ’cause I was too busy tryna make classics”
The first few lines of this verse find Tyler in a really insecure place. Tyler frames his drive for creating music in a negative light, suggesting that it makes him blind to people taking advantage of him. In this headspace, he finds himself doubting his accountant and even his manager: Christian Clancy, a person for whom he’s expressed great amounts of admiration.
“Boy ain’t got no motherfucking classics/ What if my music too weird for the masses?/ And I’m only known for tweets more than beats or/ All my day ones turn to three, fours cause of track seven”
While reflecting on his position in the music industry, Tyler begins to question if his talents are appreciated by his audience. In an excellent display of his lyrical ability, Tyler insinuates that ride or die fans may find a new favorite artist after hearing track 7 of the album: Garden Shed. The song deals with Tyler questioning his sexual identity and acknowledging that he identifies as bisexual. Tyler also worries that his provocative persona on social media may make others look down on him and his music.
“Fuck, what if I get stuck?/ What if I got comfortable? I gotta keep it buck fifty/ What if I lost it all and ended up back in Ladera/ At them shitty apartments that’s across the Bank of America/ Damn, I would be hurtin'”
Tyler now worries that he will grow complacent after experiencing success. In response to this, he says he needs to keep it “buck fifty”, meaning he has to keep giving it 150%. Tyler was born in Ladera Heights, California and he doesn’t want to have to return there disgraced due to potential laziness.
“Last year in total, I put out two verses/ But five seven figures since then, life’s kinda perfect/ Oh is it really? Oh is it really? Bitch you know the dealy/ Really hilly willy tilly silly, hold that billy how I Milly Rock/ When they can’t relate him, when they start to hate him/ They don’t drive these cars so whats they ultimatum?”
In this section Tyler is alluding to the fact that in 2016 the only music he was involved in were two guest verses, even still he made 5 million dollars that year. Tyler changed his style pretty rapidly when releasing new music in 2017 and he reflects on the fact that some people may not like his new vibe. Ultimately, he decides that it doesn’t matter because their negativity won’t affect his success.
Tell me, what’s your November? Is it a person?/ Mine was the summer ’06, I remember the…/ What if I thought the brake was the gas? What if I crashed?/ What if these deep thoughts was my last?/ Let me pull over, quick!
When Tyler talks about November, he’s referring to a time that makes the person in question feel nostalgic. For Tyler, this was summer when he was 15 years old. He gets deep on the last few lines, criticizing his past recklessness. When he was 17 Tyler was in a street race with his friend and the brakes of his car suddenly stopped working. Tyler takes a moment to look at how this could have been the end for him and how maybe he needs to be more thoughtful in the future.
That’s all I have for you this week folks, I hope you enjoyed our time together, and I’ll see you all later. Any ideas for a new sign off are welcome in light of recent events. Maybe I’ll just abandon hip-hop for a less problematic genre. Until next time, from all of us here at ACRN, happy listening!