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Tyler, The Creator performs a Tiny Desk Concert on Dec. 6, 2017 (Jennifer Kerrigan/NPR).

Tyler, The Creator’s Tiny Desk performance was a first for many reasons. It was the Los Angeles rapper’s first time performing at our offices, but moreover, it was the Tiny Desk’s first nighttime performance, a special request from Tyler and his team in order to professionally light the “stage” themselves. Members of Tyler’s lighting crew came to the office a day before to set it up, eventually bathing him and his band in shades of fuchsia, orange and blue — one for each song — during the early evening show.

Flower Boy, Tyler’s latest album, is much like this Tiny Desk performance; a surprising departure from the expected. Four albums in, he has matured as a producer, rapper, and human being. Often equated to hip-hop’s class clown, the 26-year-old peels back his own mask of immaturity to reveal a young adult grappling w, the anxiety, fear and uncertainty of self.

After he was done, Tyler did something of a modified mic-drop, throwing his tambourine in celebration of what he and his band had accomplished. Always one to stay casually connected with his fans, Tyler made time — nearly an hour after the performance was done —- to pose for photos, sign merch and crack jokes with (and on) everyone around him.

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