Before his set at Afropunk Brooklyn last weekend, Tyler The Creator sat down for an interview with the festival.
The rapper, producer, director, designer, and "park ranger," as he asked the host to call him, kicked things off by discussing his Twitter handle. Last week, the much-loved "@fucktyler" was replaced with "@tylerthecreator," and Tyler said business reasons were behind the change. "My stock just went up because of that name change... How can I contact corporations, like 'Yo, invest a bunch of money in me, I have a lot of really good ideas,' and I'm like 'Yo, they don't reply to me.' Oh yeah, my name has this in it. First impression is automatically out the window."
The election of Theresa May, the current British prime minister who banned Tyler from entering the UK for 3 to 5 years in 2015, was a sore spot for Tyler. "That fucking sucks," he said. "Y'all fucking up over there." On the subject of the early Odd Future-era lyrics that landed him the ban, he was unrepentant. "I was writing those when I was 17 or 18. I didn't think that what I was doing would matter... I'm not going to apologize for the things I said, because at that time it was cool."
Tyler painted a fairly bleak picture for the US and other places where racist sentiment stoked by politicians like Donald Trump is gaining momentum. "Everything has a tipping point, it has to get really bad before it gets better... [the tipping point] is coming soon... America will probably fall... and the way things are looking, we might not be the greatest soon. Who knows."
The interview wrapped up with Tyler confirming that he's not working on a new album ("[I'm] just living life") and closed with some sweet words for Afropunk. "It's a bunch of eclectic black people, and I finally feel like I fit in, sorta... It's so many people that was called weird in their life here, and I love it." Check out our series of portraits from Afropunk 2016 here.