Album Review: Mix of old, new sounds creates explosive ‘Cherry Bomb’
California rapper and producer Tyler, The Creator experiments with new sounds and old techniques in “Cherry Bomb,” which is split into distinctive halves: one of distorted thrash hip-hop sound and the other soothing, hazy soulful sounds.
The titular song “Cherry Bomb” falls into the former half in the extreme, with jumbled sounds that struggle to cohere. The other distorted songs are more enjoyable mainly because that element is more tame.
Songs like “Okaga, CA” and “Find Your Wings” fall into the second half and are well-produced with their jazz and soul influences, more of Okonma’s style.
The album’s highlight, “Smuckers,” features typical verses from Kanye West and verses from Lil Wayne that are reminiscent of “Tha Charter II.” The back-and-forth between the artists keep the track interesting.
“Cherry Bomb” continues with Okonma’s tradition of controversial topics, while songs like “Smuckers” have minimal controversy in a single verse. “F******* Young/Perfect” is at the extreme, in which Okonma struggles with being in love with an underage girl. Part of Okonma’s charm is his ability to be successful while discussing controversial topics at large.
“Keep Da O’s” begins as a stereotypical rap track talking about women, money and cars but transitions to Okonma’s suggestion that accomplishments — following dreams and being unafraid to achieve them — are more important. Okonma’s success is respectable, whether or not you agree with his music, with Okonma having been able to create a name for himself without major promotion.
With the amount of experimenting and lack of thematic structure compared to previous albums, “Cherry Bomb” seems like more of a prequel for his next work.
“Cherry Bomb” may not be Okonma’s best work, but he offers something new and it definitely has its high points.