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Tyler the Creator Wins Best New Artist VMA for “Yonkers”

August 30, 2011

A Column by Jeremy Baskett

Born Tyler Okanma, "Tyler the Creator" has rocketed to the forefront of an odd new era in hip-hop in a the matter of a single year.

Sunday night was MTV’s annual Video Music Awards, held in Los Angeles. As per usual, there were plenty of surprises. Beyonce Knowles announced her pregnancy with hip hop king, Jay-Z, Lady Gaga came dressed as her male alter ego…..and tried to make out with Britney Spears. The best surprise, though, was Tyler, the Creator’s win for best new artist.

Tyler, the leader of the hip hop collective Odd Future, won for his hit video “Yonkers”, which he wrote the treatment for. Aside from producing all of his own music, the musician also oversees the productions of the majority of his fellow Odd Future mates’ material, al at the ripe age of 20 years old.

The filthy mouthed rapper gave the following as his acceptance speech:

“Yo, I’m excited as fuck right now, yo,” he said. “I wanted this shit since I was 9. I’m about to cry. This is for my little brother Earl. He’s not here right now. I really can’t believe I’m here right now. I didn’t write a thank you speech. I don’t know. Fuck. To all the kids watching, you can do this shit. Thank you…”

Tyler was of course referring to his Odd Future bandmate, Earl Sweatshirt. Earl was sent away to a military academy in Samoa by his mother after his video release of “Earl” which show’s himself, as well as Tyler and others, throwing copious amounts of drugs into a blender and drinking it. Real or not, Earl’s mom sent him away, leaving him unavailable to contribute to the Odd Future collective.

A real shame, since Earl is the highlight of Odd Future, at least for my ears.

Tyler’s win was a huge excitement to me, mainly because he was going against some of this year’s biggest artists. Among the nominees were Wiz Kalifa, Foster the People, Big Sean, and Kreayshawn. (That’s two ‘seans’ in one year.) It’s refreshing to see a self-made, young artist win for once. Odd Future has been consistently touring, but unless you have tickets to their next show around you in hand, good luck trying to see them. They have been consistently selling out larger and larger venues.

So, congratulations Tyler and thank you for what I consider the best video I’ve seen this year.

Tyler the Creator “Yonkers”

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