Goblin does not sound like a record made by the goofy, smiling kid with the pulled-up tube socks riding Jimmy Fallon's back.
Instead, it's a natural sequel to Bastard-- a dark, insular indie-rap album. Where Bastard was more accessible and inviting, this album is bleak, long, monolithic, and can be a slog to get through. It's also uncomfortable and brave-- a brutal but honest look at Tyler's image of himself.
Musically, Goblin is essentially a turn-of-the-millennium indie rap record-- abstract, difficult for outsiders to locate a way in to, and bled completely of anything that resembles pop. It features almost nothing that counts as a chorus, making few gestures to the mainstream. It's a purist's record, leaning on inventive production and Tyler's flow and meter. With hindsight, then, it makes sense that the rise of Odd Future started in the avant UK music mag The Wire, which a decade ago was putting leftfield rap groups like cLOUDDEAD and Anti-Pop Consortium on its cover. In another world, before the Internet was the music industry's central delivery system, that might have been the limit of Goblin's reach-- it could have been a well-received indie hip-hop record to place alongside releases on Def Jux or Anticon. (Fittingly, it comes via XL Records, the imprint that last decade signed Dizzee Rascal, another culturally omnivorous, incredibly hyped teen rapper and producer who added a new wrinkle to independent hip-hop.)