• 11

    Tyler, the Creator

    “Rusty,” off Tyler, the Creator’s second studio album Wolf, has Odd Future member Domo Genesis rapping first, followed by Tyler himself, then Earl Sweatshirt. But when the three appeared on Letterman shortly after the album’s release in April 2013, Tyler switched up this order. It was probably for the best, since the studio version had Tyler taunting Earl during his verse before ending it by shooting Earl dead. For the taping, it went Domo, Earl, Tyler.

    Dave mines some humor from their rap names; grinning and pausing for laughs after saying "Earl Sweatshirt." From there the three rappers prowl Letterman’s stage; Tyler and Earl amuse by falling into a simple dance routine behind Domo.

    Tyler finishes it off with a long, sublime verse that was a bold choice to perform on a national stage. He efficiently runs down the state of the world and his life and answers his myriad critics. “In a world where kids my age are popping mollies with leather. Sitting on Tumblr, never outside or enjoying the weather,” he raps. “Look at that article that says my subject matter is wrong. Saying I hate gays even though Frank [Ocean] is on 10 of my songs.”

    At the conclusion of the track, Tyler drops his mic and the three unceremoniously exit stage right. Letterman, to his credit, coaxes them back out, joking, “Now we’ll never be able to open the teen center.” Tyler bats away Letterman’s offered handshake and takes a selfie with him. Then, in a moment that speaks to how Letterman’s sense of humor perhaps doesn’t translate with a millennial audience, Dave asks the three, “You guys ever been to Bend, Oregon?” Tyler innocently protests, “I don’t know what that is!” Dave tells him, “Don’t worry about it.”