You don't listen to Tyler, the Creator albums like his latest opus Call Me If You Get Lost; you transport to Tyler, the Creator worlds. You either go through a transmogrification of your senses where up is down and dick jokes are art pieces, or your body repels the weirdness and you expel yourself from a sonic universe that has produced some of the best albums of the last five years. And the same is true for anyone who works with him; they enter his world and become weirder versions of themselves.
Call Me If You Get Lost is a 52-minute journey through a transmuted reality where a rapper like NBA Youngboy is still in love with the prescription-strength cough syrup and soda mixed drink "lean," but now he's crooning about it like a soul singer pledging his undying love over a '90s R&B sample. The album is hosted by the legendary DJ Drama as a homage to the DJ's Gangsta Grillz mixtape series that catapulted the careers of Lil Wayne, T.I. and Young Jeezy from underrated MCs to overlords of southern hip-hop. The same DJ who was famously yelling "trap or die" with his sights on setting the streets on fire on Jeezy's seminal Trap Or Die mixtape steps into Tyler's world, and is now bragging about "taking Rolls Royces to see alligators." Tyler's vision is inextricable of the making of this album, and everyone involved is inspired to act accordingly.
Some artists don't have to transform when entering Tyler's world, because they are already naturally in line with his left-of-center approach; but even they're able to tap into the full depths of their peculiar proclivities. Lil Wayne is no stranger to playing basketball with the moon ("I Feel Like Dying") or fucking the world until it ovulates ("Bill Gates"), but social media has been raving about how his verse on "HOT WIND BLOWS" is some of the sharpest work from a lyricist who has been hit-or-miss lately. This is the same verse where he says "mother nature arguing about some baby father beef" right before he compares himself to slaughtered meat in the middle of a sandwich. Tyler's sonic worlds are vacations for his collaborators from the confines of public expectations, because anyone who listens to a Tyler album expects the unexpected.
To that point, Call Me If You Get Lost's title might imply it's a helpful guide to those who lost their way, but it's more of a brochure of the unknown; the unimaginable heights achievable by indulging your inner weirdo. When most rappers ask who wants smoke, there's a gun threat not far behind. When Tyler asks who wants smoke on "LEMONHEAD", he warns his opponents that he's "the cool aunt" who lets the kids choke on nicotine when their parents aren't around. On "BLESSED" he invites listeners to come get lost with him and travel the world, but also tells them to call him when they get out there. Call Me If You Get Lost is the sort of escapism art that gives an augmented reality more enticing than the one most people live in.
Even the visuals for the album are abstract exaggerations of opulence. His latest visual for the song "JUGGERNAUT" has him rapping about lemons while surrounded by lemon trees, dressed in what looks like an expensive leftover from his Gucci spread with Iggy Pop and A$AP Rocky from last September. Then, quicker than you can ask yourself "what the fuck am I watching right now," the video turns into him rapping on top of a Rolls Royce car fitted with gargantuan wheels that would never be allowed on any real-life road.
Call Me If You Get Lost is a testament to how you're only out of your mind to people until you invite them in.