Few would deny the lurid appeal of Tyler, the Creator -- the polarizing, epithet-wielding Odd Future leader -- as he grows up in public. Will he evolve or regress? His new album, Wolf, doesn't quite answer that question, at least from a lyrical standpoint. But musically, he's clearly hungry for growth: The omnivorous rapper/producer called in Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier (not the first time she's been tapped -- not sampled -- for a rap record) and tried to procure Grizzly Bear (presumably, gay singer Ed Droste took issue with Tyler's liberal use of gay slurs). He's on record as idolizing Pharrell, from his classic Neptunes beats to N.E.R.D. to his cultish solo album In My Mind. And sometimes you can really hear Tyler's influences: the fuzzy buzzing of the late Trish Keenan in Broadcast, the martial ambitions of D12's "Fight Music," the soft-pedaled lounge chords of Maxwell's "Ascension." But other times, the connection to, say, Michael Jackson or Robin Thicke is more abstract.
In any event, he's still filling his head with disparate influences; this playlist also displays all the ferocious things he's done with that source material, including such modern rap classics as Earl Sweatshirt's new "Whoa" or Tyler's own "Yonkers." Enjoy.