Tyler, the Creator is known for being a master of shock value and controversey, and the cover of his upcoming album, Wolf, is just as provocative as his music, both solo and with his Odd Future bandmates. The foreground image of Tyler staring off into the distance is fairly tame by Tyler standards, but what about the background, which finds Tyler wearing a cat-patterned shirt and cradling an inhaler in his palms?
“What’s funny about it is the way he’s holding it in the picture,” Storey says. “It’s this treasured possession, and his hat says Wolf on it, so you think he’s really bad-ass, but in the background he’s holding this inhaler.”
Is it a statement about his public persona? A flashback? A guardian angel? None of the above? “I think he’s just going for something,” Philip Schiffman says. “Like when you post something on YouTube and get the whole world watching.”
The cover is the first of three covers for Wolf, on sale April 2, each of which is completely different from the other two: one is an out-of-focus photograph, the other is what looks like a painting of him on a bike in a forest. Carney says Tyler’s take on multiple covers turns the industry trend of deluxe editions and digital exclusives on its head. “Tyler is one of those people who’s refreshing because he’s like, ‘I can produce, I can rap, I can do a clothing line and I’m going to have three covers, I don’t give a shit,'” he says. “I’m not saying it’s expected from him, but after the fact, I can see how this happened. It’s creating a conversation about it.”
(XL Recordings/Odd Future Records)
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