Tyler the Creator won big on Thursday at the 2019 Wall Street Journal Innovator Awards. The Grammy-nominated rapper won the WSJ’s Music Innovator of the Year award. The rapper dropped his IGOR album in May.
A$AP Rocky presented the award to his “best friend” and offered a few jokes along with some real praise of the “Cherry Bomb” creator. “Little do y’all know is I hate that mother f—er that’s the truth,” Rocky joked. “All jokes aside, he’s one of my inspirations even though he’s a friend… he innovates, he changes music… It’s an honor to be here and I’m proud of you bro.”
“I’m not prepared with a speech because I’d rather tell yall how i feel right now.” “My whole life I felt like a step-child. In school, at home, and especially in music and rap where I have a profession,” Tyler said in his speech referring to points in his life where he was marginalized whether it be sports, or in school. “I didn’t let any of that shit stop me from doing anything that I wanted to do.”
“While I don’t feel like I’m an innovator but they are,” Tyler said referring to Kanye West, Pharrell, Dave Chappelle, Erykah Badu, Hype Williams and others he listed as his inspiration, “I know it’s a common thread between us.”
Tyler ended his speech thanking the Wall Street Journal for “making it feel like the family finally celebrated my birthday.”
Watch A$AP Rocky’s presentation and Tyler’s speech here.
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A decade into his career, Tyler, the Creator is enjoying his biggest year yet. He recently put out his fifth studio album, “IGOR,” an audacious jumble of off-kilter hip-hop, warped soul and plush jazz chords. The album tells the story of an ill-starred love triangle between Tyler, a guy he’s crushing on and the woman that guy is dating. It sold 74,000 copies in its first week and racked up 123 million song streams, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200. With it, Tyler (@feliciathegoat) has finally ascended into the ranks of the kinds of leftfield pop auteurs he adored growing up —“the André 3000s and Missy Elliotts,” as he puts it, “who allowed my 9-year-old mind to understand that there’s no boundaries at all.” Since the start, he’s produced every single song, designed every bit of album artwork and had a major hand in conceptualizing, directing, editing and color-timing every one of his music videos. As Tyler put it in one lyric, from his Grammy-nominated 2017 album, "Flower Boy," his mission is to “tell these black kids they can be who they are”—a credo he extended on that album to include sexuality, rapping about his own longstanding attraction to men. Read more at the link in our bio. ?: @campbelladdy for @wsjmag