Tyler the Creator has emerged as one of the foremost independent Alternative Hip Hop music impresarios of today. He’s done this with an eclectic, comical, cartoonish style and taking full advantage of social media technologies in building his audience. In his approach one can see 21st Century George Clinton aspects, and his collective has already helped bring major artists like The Internet Band and Frank Ocean to the fore. Tyler’s last album, last years “Cherry Bomb” was hailed as a Stevie Wonder, Neptunes influenced suite of ambitious, socially motivated music. “Find Your Wings” is a great song and video featuring the maestro of Jazz Funk vibes, Roy Ayers. Roy Ayers was himself both a musician and an impresario of music, using his bands and albums as platforms to introduce other players and singers. Of course, his influence through his smooth yet funky jazz funk songs featuring Fender Rhodes and Vibraphone tones were a huge influence on the Hip Hop and R&B of the 1990s. Songs of his like “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” and “Daylight” by RAMP have come to be seen as classics that define whole approaches to music. “Find Your Wings” both channels Ayers musical style and, in true Tyler the Creator fashion, the visuals of the video channel Roy Ayers as well, taking off of Roy and his bands classic Soul Train appearance. Tyler is a totally modern post Michael Jackson/MTV musical creator in the way images are always as essential to his music as the components of the music itself, and here he creates a totally appropriate fun ’70s send up to accompany his song.
“Find Your Wings” begins with a rubato rhythmic passage, with some pretty Rhodes chords laying a foundation for Roy Ayers vibraphone work and a muted trumpet. A sensuous jazzy/R&B type vibe is immediately set. As the chord progression is expanded on a high lead synthesizer also plays a melody that outlines the chords, and an acoustic bass sound is added that supports the progression as well. The addition of the synthesizer reminds me of many of Stevie Wonders mid ’70s peak synthesizer jazz mood tunes. Another synth is added that plays a melody, along with the muted trumpet riffs and Roy Ayers vibraphone scales. The next time the progression returns in full string backing is added. To introduce the song in earnest, the drums play a thunderous tom tom run, reminiscent of the beginning of Roy Ayers classics such as “Searching.”
As the vocals come in, they add the hook of “Find Your Wings”, which the whole arrangement supports rhythmically, and which also has a rising chord progression that supports the uplifting feeling. Tyler arranges a chorus of female voices including The Internet’s Syd the Kid and Kali Uchis, also reminiscent of the beautiful female backing provided by singers such as Dee Dee Bridgewater on Roy Ayers productions. As the main verse of the song comes in a rhythmic sing song style, a synth lead worms its way around supporting the melody. In a very rhythmic way the artists provide an old school song of inspiration, telling the intended audience “Suppose to fly and take control cause you’re the pilot”, and “The Skys your home, theres no limit, you know you gotta go, Find your Wings.” Tyler sends the next section of the song into a new key and a new arrangement with a new baseline that sets the singer off nicely, as the instruments continue to make statements in and out of the main body of the music as the song ends on a triumphant sounding major cadence with the tom tom drums leading the way.
“Find Your Wings” is a very successful evocation of the silky smooth Roy Ayers 1970s style and the whole school of positive, uplifting ’70s Black music as a whole. Tyler, throughout his young career, has already proven himself extremely successful at setting a table for other young men and women to eat off of. With a song such as “Find Your Wings” he shows himself to be a very capable creator of innovative positive soul music himself, taking the renowned mellow funky soul vibe of Roy Ayers and translating it to a song of inspiration in the 21st Century. The song and video were a pleasant surprise to me, and I eagerly await more material by Tyler the Creator in the future!