Tyler, The Creator’s ‘Who Dat Boy’, Directed by Wolf Haley
“The Cherry Bomb has gone off and Tyler needs to pay a visit to the iciest surgeon that’s ever lived”
Originality – 4
Cleverness – 3.5
Entertainment – 3.5
Tyler carefully creates (pun intended) a bomb in his room, however, whilst delicately conjuring the fiery explosive (Cherry Bomb), he loses focus for a split second causing it to erupt and spark up his face leaving a facial mark on the side of his cheek.
5 seconds later he vrooms out of his house in comical fashion in search of a jiggy surgeon to perform an operation. The gold-grilled Rocky aids him by replacing his face whilst the Loiter Squad police barge the door. The pair escape and Tyler heads off with his other boy being tailed by the cops in an epic car chase. Our only question is ‘Who dat boi?’
Young T’s opening shot is perfect, not only because of the thin, narrow nature of our focus or the comical use of colors (and general mise-en-scene) but because of the way the sound and film work together to build anticipation moderately before the reveal. The slow zoom, negligible amount of ‘stuff’ to focus on (making Tyler and his hidden gizmo the sole focus) and creepy music leading to the mystery’s reveal was clearly meticulously planned and the impact was great. The Di Caprio poster also throws us off as we try to figure out if it’s a clue or not, all in all it just seems a rather elaborate background prop highlighting T’s love of popular culture (although the fact that it’s a young picture of Leo shown added with a guy accompanying Tyler on his runway later on has led to some interesting questions – Just joining the dots)
Tyler employs the ‘cartoonish’ theme regularly here, he runs out the house with smoke from his feet (like a looney tunes character) and that was a surreal addition to the video. The heavy use of monotone dulling out the colors mixed with the amplification of brighter colors is also not usually done so we’d add ‘creativity points’ there (something Wolf isn’t short of by any means).
Tyler’s cartoonish mannerisms were shown in perfect moderation here and Asap Rocky’s role and his entire take of his surgeon act was totally left of center but the young lord held it down and the result was totally dope. (That probably flew right over your head.)
As with every trademark Wolf Haley film, this video takes a detour and becomes a commercial for another single titled ‘911 / Mr. Lonely’ – this also has an effect as the ‘vibe’ from the new film is totally different from the last (almost opposite) and so he’s managed to fit in a somewhat short serious dark film with a light-hearted and fun one. ‘Dat boy Tyler definitely loves his contrasts and we are fans of this schizoid type switch in his videos; they’re pretty crafty. (and somewhat ingenious).
The sinister electric sparks in the first shot and disguise over what the fans wanted to see was a great way to provoke our curiosity and raise anticipation. The allusion to that being Tyler creating the Chur’ Bomb is also pretty cool. The key aspect of that first scene was the large amount of darkness conjuring curiosity as well as creating a creepy feeling that went with the music. It also meant there was less to focus on which intrigued us. The bomb going off on Tyler’s face made it look like his lit up face in IFHY, just me? So maybe Tyler’s been foreshadowing, but we’re probably just over-analyzing.
The camera position and use of proxemics when Tyler is rapping his way to Rocky’s is great and really captures all his freakish movement from this new angle. The way it gets closer (proxemics) and then pans around him giving him the generic in-front-of-screen look as he approaches Rocky the Surgeon is also a great look.
We knew the fish eye lens would come in handy when we saw the eye glass (and so it did), it added another great feature to the video and gives a Busta Rhymes ‘Gimme Some More’ feel especially with the horror-ish cartoon depiction of Wolf’s story.
On the theme of horror, Asap Rocky replaces Tyler’s face employing a similar method to Leatherface from ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre’ (the process also ‘kinda’ reminded us of ‘Get Out’ and although his face is replaced with a white one – precisely a discount Action Bronson, that’s probably far-fetched). On a lighter note, the pair’s handshake was so subtle and smooth that it had to be credited. Plus the car chase was an excuse for a scenic and picturesque shot infusing a certain euphoria for filmmakers and photographers alike.
The wacky cartoon-style element of this video as well as the visual manipulation makes this a more entertaining piece than the recent wave of quick-cut heavily edited music videos. What’s more is that Tyler has this niche of films that make his style distinct and their always well-thought out and comically entertaining (probably due to the subtle camp elements and his comic-relief reputation). Wolf films always promise to be a great watch.
Authenticity aside, it’s a fun watch because the storyline is simple, easy to grasp and short. The way the idea is captured and communicated to us makes it relatively easy to understand and appreciate. Good looks.
Wolf Haley never disappoints and he’s back with one of the wackiest, most diabolical videos you’ll see all year.
Is Tyler actually gonna tell us who that boy he’s riding with is?