Tyler, the Creator: Call Me If You Get Lost: The Estate Sale

Welcome to Tyler, the Creator’s The Estate Sale, where everything is out of your budget. DJ Drama returns as host, hyping up Tyler like a proud uncle greeting you at the finish line with Gatorade and grapes. Though these eight songs are cut from the Call Me If You Get Lost sessions and tacked on to the 2021 album like a deluxe edition, they flow thematically like a post-album EP. No longer an underdog, Tyler is growing into life as a star. The high of a sold-out arena tour has worn off. It’s like he expected success to patch up old wounds but as it turns out, you cannot perform kintsugi with gold trophies and your psyche. He opens with an earnest thank you to his supporters.

In his early years, Tyler could be something of an edgelord, delivering violent lyrics about sexual assault through a mischievous grin. As he’s evolved in his artistry, he’s replaced shock value with boasts whose imagination and precision—“I got a jelly bean, Kelly green Rolls/And the guts off-white like a jalapeño”—are almost outdone by the Goblin-like freneticism of his delivery. Fellow Californian Vince Staples rides into “Stuntman” like he’s behind the wheel of a monster truck: “No, you can’t be my girl, bitch, are you dumb?” If you have beef, he suggests you duel him in Milan—if you can afford the flight, that is. Tyler’s own biting, almost Pusha T-like inflection over the New Boyz-type beat could’ve spawned a dance trend in the early 2010s. 

The stylistic adventurousness of The Estate Sale offers insight into the sounds that would become Call Me If You Get Lost. He brings back his love for ’80s synth-funk on “Boyfriend, Girlfriend” and taps into New Orleans bounce and Southern trap across “Dogtooth” and “Stuntman.” A$AP Rocky gushes about spoiling his lady on “Wharf Talk,” while Tyler croons with the angst of his Flower Boy and IGOR eras. The breezy and soulful “What a Day” and “Heaven to Me” bring in a John Legend sample and an unreleased Madlib deep cut to complement the album’s leisurely, jet-setting atmosphere. 

As he adjusts to the altitude, Tyler’s position as a community leader presents itself as a new source of anxiety. On “Sorry Not Sorry,” he glimpses guilt and helplessness about not leveraging his status for Black liberation: “I can’t save niggas/I’m not Superman, but I could try.” On “What a Day,” he shouts out Black women, especially the ones who raised him. Twenty seconds into original album track “Massa,” a drum beat cuts Tyler off when he begins to idolize his passport. “Heaven to Me” diverts that incomplete thought with a tender ode to domesticity—date nights, water-gun fights, loved ones in the kitchen, and seeing a piece of yourself in the children you helped to bring into the world.

When I first heard Tyler associate himself with his Baudelaire persona on Call Me If You Get Lost, I didn’t think of the French poet: I thought about the orphans at the center of Lemony Snicket’s children’s novels A Series of Unfortunate Events. Constantly on the run, they’re never in one place long enough to unpack their suitcases. The cover of The Estate Sale depicts Tyler in a similar position—gazing into the distance, suitcases in hand—though he would probably call them valises now. An estate sale insinuates the death of its owner: death of preconceived notions of success, death of ego, death of self-destructive nihilism. After the success of IGOR, Tyler took a solo joyride: “Bought another car ’cause I ain’t know how to celebrate.” A chapter-closing gift for fans, The Estate Sale is a lake house afterparty.