In a 45-minute interview, Tyler thoughtfully deconstructs songs from his new album, IGOR, obsessing over little details as the producer picks his brain. Early in the interview, while discussing the elements of a song that draw him in, Tyler explains his priorities as both listener and songwriter, prioritizing beats over all, but melody as a close second, and lyrics last. At one point, he admits “I love chords, an there are songs that I have that are horrible lyrically. Like really bad, but I just like the notes in the background.” He adds, “sound is way more important for me, personally.”
When Rubin inquires whether the sound of a lyric outweighs its message, Tyler praises JAY-Z for consistently tailoring his delivery to the beat he’s presented. “He knows how to rap on a beat. He knows how to hear a beat and say ‘I shouldn’t yell on this. Or I should rap like this on it.’” As his counterpoint, Tyler presents rappers who “hear a smooth beat and are, like, ‘I’m gonna fucking yell on it,’” adding “they’re more thinking of saying cool shit, rather than making a good song.”
Rubin then asks if there any rappers he listens to specifically for their lyrics. Tyler points to Cassidy and Eminem as rappers who he always looks forward to hearing verses from,“he picks some of the worst beats ever.” refering to Eminem. Rubin (who produced four songs on both The Marshall Mathers LP II and Revival,) was quick to move on.
Hear Tyler, The Creator’s full interview with Rick Rubin on the latest episode of Broken Record below.