Last week, with very little advance notice, rap game-twister Tyler, The Creator released his album IGOR. He also gave a grand rollout to the single “EARFQUAKE,” a sung-not-rapped zone-out with vocals from R&B legend Charlie Wilson and ad-libs from Playboi Carti. “EARFQUAKE” also has a video, which features Black-ish star Tracee Ellis Ross and Tyler in an extremely memorable blonde wig/blue suit combination. So “EARFQUAKE” is a big deal. But if Tyler had originally had his way, the song could’ve been a much bigger deal.
Last night, as Hypebeast reports, Tyler performed IGOR in full in front of a small Los Angeles crowd. Apple Music broadcasted the show live. And during the show, Tyler claimed that he’d written “EARFQUAKE” with Justin Bieber in mind. Tyler also offered the song to Rihanna. Both Bieber and Rihanna apparently rejected it. So the next time you hear “EARFQUAKE,” you can attempt to imagine what might’ve been.
During that show, Tyler also reportedly talked about traveling to Italy with Frank Ocean, and he mentioned that he recorded “RUNNING OUT OF TIME” in a session with A$AP Ferg. But the Bieber/Rihanna story is the real mind-bender there. Tyler! Still ambitious! And still willing to pull the curtain back on the pop-music process. It’s cool to have someone operating on such a high level who’s still able to be unguarded about all the things he couldn’t quite pull off.