“IGOR” wins best rap album, despite not being a rap album



Despite Tyler, The Creator’s assertion that “IGOR” is not a rap album, the album took home rap album of the year at the Grammy’s.

Chris Heermann, Photo Editor

At the 62nd GRAMMY Awards, Tyler the Creator won his very first GRAMMY for “IGOR,” his latest studio album. This was shocking for many reasons. First of all, because of the incredible competition; YBN Cordae’s “The Lost Boy” was also nominated, as was the Dreamville collective album “Revenge of the Dreamers III.” 

Both of these albums rank among my favorites, and star several up-and-coming young artists. Either of these I would have preferred to take the award over “IGOR.” Not because “IGOR” is a bad album, but because “IGOR” is not a rap album.

When Tyler first dropped the album, he made an Instagram post explaining that this album was not like any of his previous albums. His instructions to his fans were: “Don’t go into this expecting a rap album.” The tracklist consists of songs free of Tyler’s usual gritty vocals, and instead feature a mix of singing and steady rhythmic flows. 

When the 62nd GRAMMY nominations were announced, and he found out that “IGOR” had been nominated, Tyler went to Twitter to say “uhhhhh I guess.”

These insightful words express Tyler’s dissatisfaction at being put in a genre that no longer defines him. For any of his previous albums, “Flower Boy,” for example, the best rap album category makes sense. When it was nominated in 2017, everything made sense. Fans and Tyler were ecstatic to have been nominated. His gritty vocals over a mix of beats sampled from some of Tyler’s favorite songs is a true hip-hop album. 

This history of rap albums is hurting Tyler’s transition into the alternative scene. When critics see that he has released a new album, no matter how hard Tyler tries to escape his original genre or how many Instagram posts he makes, they will listen with expectations of rap and hip-hop. And until now, that has been a fair assumption to make. 

But, “IGOR” is a different story. Yes, it does have some features by rappers, but nowadays nearly every pop song has one. I wouldn’t go so far as to call this album “pop,” however. It is more of an alternative R&B or rock than the hip-hop/rap category in which he was placed.

I, like some people, believe that “IGOR” should have been nominated for Album of the Year (AOTY), instead of best rap album of the year. This would have been a better fit for the genre-bending “IGOR.” Whether or not he should win AOTY is a different question, but if Lil Nas X can get an AOTY nomination for “7,” then Tyler can get one for “IGOR.”