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Tyler's Alter Ego "Young Nigga" Had Us Fooled

Tyler's Alter Ego "Young Nigga" Had Us Fooled

By Dan Hyman

See also: Odd Future's Syd and Matt Martian Form "The Internet." Hear Their First Song Here

Early Friday morning Tyler, The Creator took to Twitter to inform his followers that -- despite his crew's 'no outsiders' policy -- Odd Future's new label under the Sony/Red Distribution umbrella had signed a rapper. The first artist off of Odd Future Records? Someone called Young Nigga.

To which the entire Internet replied: Who?

The official statement on Odd Future's site broke it down. "While our original intent was not to sign anyone to the label we simply could not pass up the opportunity to sign somebody this talented. Young Nigga embodies the DIY ethic and persona of Odd Future along with a commercial appeal that transcends demographics."

Tyler later tweeted that Young Ni*ga's debut single, "Come Threw Looking Clean," off his "almost wrapped up" album, Expensive Pasta, would be hitting the Internet later that afternoon. In the meantime, Tyler went on a tweeting spree praising his new signee's skills.

It's fair to say that folks were pretty psyched, despite not having heard a note of this guy's music. Even me; in fact, I went so far as to pitch LA Weekly's music editor Ben Westhoff on an interview with this phenom-in-the-making.

The track, for its part, was basically a funny rant on such introspective topics such as shooting dudes in the dick and eating fancy carbs. But it also became clear why no one had ever heard of this guy. Its album art featured a young man in a Rick James curly wig who looked suspiciously like Tyler. Young Nigga's rap style? Kind of like Tyler doing his best Lil B impression, with a lisp.

It turned out to be a prank thrown by Tyler, one which even fooled Odd Future's publicist Heathcliff Berru. "I guess it was just Tyler having fun," Berru says, "because I could not verify why he did this alter ego either."

Berru noted that there could potentially be more Young Nigga recordings on the horizon. And, if one of Tyler's tweets on Friday is true, he'll be performing as the alter-ego to some extent at the Odd Future Palladium show on Thursday. Meanwhile, the track has nearly 100,000 listens.

So, what did all of this teach us?

For one thing, all of the frantic anticipation that followed the initial, cryptic announcement makes it clear that the blogosphere laps up every word that comes out of Tyler's mouth. Which is insane when you consider that these guys only really broke out about a year ago.

Second, the stunt shows that Tyler's skills for media manipulation clearly extend far beyond his age and industry experience. Third, "Come Threw Looking Clean" is both funny and has an intriguing flow -- simultaneously witty and slinky -- which speaks to Tyler's versatility.

Finally, it just shows that most people will believe anything they see online. "I successfully trolled the hell out of the Internet today," Tyler tweeted early Saturday morning. Yes you did, Tyler. Yes you did.


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