Unlike anyone else that Kendrick wants Flex to drop bombs on, Meek Mill, A$AP, even Drake, the guy so moist he probably comes out of the shower with a towel wrapped around his head, Tyler is an artist with a complex creative vision. Over the past year his videos have provoked deserved discussion: “Domo 23” with its beautifully purple tinged Frank Ocean featuring closer “Bimmer” made us ask first, “WTF? A wrestling match?” and later, “Will the rest of the album sound and look as beautiful as this?”. A guest directing spot on Earl Sweatshirt’s “Woah” had us questioning how Tyler could create cinematography unlike any of the Rap 2.0 pack, and on the Kanye-appreciated and yellow-hued “IFHY”, he cemented his position as both a prolific director and out of the box thinker. All directed by Tyler, under his Wolf Haley pseudonym, each one has been creatively and aesthetically inventive, showcasing not only a strong knowledge of cinematography, but with particular reference to “IFHY”, a desire to create a piece of visual art. Which, in a world perpetuated by lyric videos and kush infused stills, is a welcome breath of air.
More than anything though, when the narrative, visuals and soundscapes of the record were combined, WOLF felt like much more than a record. It was a vision that was intended to be experienced not just through a beat pumping pair of headphones. The liner notes for the album read: “WOLF / Original Screenplay / Wolf Salem Slater ____ / A _____ By Wolf Haley”, with the blanks presumably filled in by Sam and Film, respectively. Tyler has also spoken on numerous occasions about the record being inspired by films, and what sort of images each song conjures up, whether that’s listening to Slater while riding a BMX, or sitting beside a lake.
So it’s only right that the vision behind WOLF is finally being realised in the form of a cinematic output. Let’s take a look at the trailer, and what we know.
The trailer opens with an image of Sam, easily distinguishable by his green beanie, cigarette and white T. Here’s where Sam has appeared in other Odd Future videos.
Sam in the video for Earl Sweatshirt's "Woah"
Sam in the video for "Jamba"
If you were paying ridiculous amounts of attention, then you’ll have noticed that the car that Sam drives in the “Jamba” video, also drives past Tyler, or rather, Wolf, in the video for “Bimmer”. This helps keep the storyline of WOLF intact, in that Sam is off out on a drug run, while Wolf and Salem hang out, who also appears in the same video later.
Sam's car drives past Wolf in the "Bimmer" video
Out of all of Tyler’s alter egos, Tron Cat, Wolf Haley, Sam is the only one who smokes. Therefore, it can be assumed that, because of the cigarette prop, this is Sam in the video for “Sam Is Dead”, which is also presumably, the conclusion of the trilogy, as Tyler kills off the majority of his alter egos.
Now, let’s take a look at Wolf.
Above is a picture of Sam, taken from the trailer, with the same car from both the “Jamba” and “Bimmer” videos, attacking Wolf. He tells Wolf to “stay the fuck away from Salem, you fucking pussy”, which also provides yet more foundation to the Wolf storyline.
Wolf on the floor after being beaten up by Sam
The trailer also confirms that Wolf is the imagining of Tyler who bounds about in a stripey ice cream coloured tee, the very same one who’s in the still from “Bimmer”, way above. Here’s where he’s popped up in previous videos.
Wolf and Salem in the video for "Domo 23"
In the video for "Domo 23" Wolf is sitting on the sidelines with Salem. We know that it’s Salem because she’s also popped up in other videos. Here’s her and Wolf lazing around in the tall grass in the “Bimmer” video.
Wolf and Salem in the video for "Bimmer"
And then, here are both of them in the dollhouse in the video for “IFHY”.
Despite not wearing his characteristic outfit, it is Wolf in the video. This is confirmed by the video's description which states that “Wolf Performs Sams Song.” And, despite copious amounts of makeup, it is also Salem in the video, confirmed by Brandi Bondoc (the girl who plays Salem in the other videos), after she posted the following image to her Twitter account.
If you’ve watched any of those videos, you’ll know that they include several variations of Tyler’s persona. For example, the video for “Sam Is Dead” includes a bunch of Tylers while “Domo 23” has Tyler playing both a wrestler on stage and Wolf, who is watching in the crowd.
The same goes for the trailer, which has Tyler acting out the parts of both Sam and Wolf, in the same scene. This is interesting, because it suggests that within the film, Tyler could potentially play out the storyline of every single one of his alter egos. For any fan who’s been fed a diet of Wolf Haley, Ace The Creator, Tron Cat, Ty Dollaz, Tyler, Sam, or any other iteration over the past few years, this is definitely a very, very, exciting prospect.
And even if you haven’t been big on Odd Future, you should still be very excited. Tyler has more than proved himself as an artist over the past year, not only has he directed music videos that people twice his age wish they could create, released one of the best hip hop records of the year, and guested on a bunch of other people’s songs, he’s also created a musical immersion experience. A storyline so complex that, unlike, say Outkast’s Idlewild, deserves a cinematic imagining. So all we need to know is when it's coming out. What's that release date?
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