Today, March 6, 2020, Tyler Okonma—best known as Tyler, the Creator—turns 29 years old.

The polymathic rapper first rose to prominence as a founding member of the alternative hip-hop collective, Odd Future, whose debut album was released in 2012. And although multiple members of the now-inactive group have experienced fruitful solo careers—Frank Ocean and Earl Sweatshirt among them—Tyler, the Creator's has arguably left the most recognizable influence. With five studio albums, a clothing line, a music festival, and much more on his resume, Tyler has been cited as a major inspiration to Gen Z icons like Billie Eilish and BROCKHAMPTON's Kevin Abstract.

Occasionally controversial but always a brilliant artist, Tyler has made himself known as not only a masterful musician, but a filterless class clown of the real world. Below, here are nine of Tyler, the Creator's most iconic moments.

A Walking Paradox

With just a cockroach, a noose, and a perspective control lens, Tyler introduced his solo rap career with one of the most unforgettable music videos of the decade (self-directed under his alter ego, Wolf Haley).

CULTURE

Nazi-Chic: The Aesthetics of Fascism

Let's take a look at Nazi-inspired fashion.

Villains always have the best outfits.

From Darth Vader's polished black space armor to The Joker's snazzy purple suit, bad guys always seem to show up their protagonists in the fashion department.

Way more handsome than Batman. static.giantbomb.com

But could there possibly be a real world equivalent to the type of over-the-top villain fashion often found in fiction? It would have to be sleek and imposing, austere and dangerous. Probably black.

Maybe it's him. Maybe it's fascist ideology.

Oh, right.

Let's call a spade a spade. From an aesthetic standpoint, the Nazi SS outfit is very well-designed. The long coat tied around the waist with a buckle portrays a slim, sturdy visage. The leather boots and matching cap look harsh and powerful. The emblem placements on the lapel naturally suggest rank and authority. And the red armband lends a splash of color to what would otherwise be a dark monotone. If the Nazi uniform wasn't so closely tied with the atrocities they committed during WWII, it wouldn't seem out of place at Fashion Week. Perhaps not too surprising, considering many of the uniforms were made by Hugo Boss.

Pictured: A real thing Hugo Boss did. i.imgur.com

Of course, today, Nazi uniform aesthetics are inseparable from the human suffering doled out by their wearers. In most circles of civilized society, that's more than enough reason to avoid the garb in any and all fashion choices. But for some, that taboo isn't a hindrance at all–if anything, it's an added benefit.

As a result, we have Nazi chic, a fashion trend centered around the SS uniform and related Nazi imagery.

History of Nazi Chic

For the most part, Nazi chic is not characterized by Nazi sympathy. Rather, Nazi chic tends to be associated with counterculture movements that view the use of its taboo imagery as a form of shock value, and ironically, anti-authoritarianism.

The movement came to prominence in the British punk scene during the mid-1970s, with bands like the Sex Pistols and Siouxsie and the Banshees displaying swastikas on their attire alongside other provocative imagery.

Very rotten, Johnny. i.redd.it

Around this time, a film genre known as Nazisploitation also came to prominence amongst underground movie buffs. A subgenre of exploitation and sexploitation films, Naziploitation movies skewed towards D-grade fare, characterized by graphic sex scenes, violence, and gore. Plots typically surrounded female prisoners in concentration camps, subject to the sexual whims of evil SS officers, who eventually escaped and got their revenge. However, the most famous Nazisploitation film, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS, flipped the genders.

The dorm room poster that will ensure you never get laid. images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com

Ilsa was a female SS officer and the victims were men. She spent much of the movie wearing her Nazi uniform in various states, sexually abusing men all the while. As such, Ilsa played into dominatrix fantasies. The movie was a hit on the grindhouse circuit, inspiring multiple sequels and knock-offs and solidifying Nazi aesthetics as a part of the BDSM scene.

Since then, Nazi chic fashion has been employed by various artists, from Madonna to Marilyn Manson to Lady Gaga, and has shown up in all sorts of places from leather clubs to character designs in video games and anime.

Lady Gaga looking SS-uper. nyppagesix.files.wordpress.com

Nazi Chic in Asia

Nazi chic has taken on a life of its own in Asia. And unlike Western Nazi chic, which recognizes Nazism as taboo, Asian Nazi chic seems entirely detached from any underlying ideology.

A large part of this likely has to do with the way that Holocaust education differs across cultures. In the West, we learn about the Holocaust in the context of the Nazis committing horrific crimes against humanity that affected many of our own families. The Holocaust is presented as personal and closer to our current era than we might like to think. It is something we should "never forget." Whereas in Asia, where effects of the Holocaust weren't as prominent, it's simply another aspect of WWII which, in and of itself, was just another large war. In other words, Nazi regalia in Asia might be viewed as simply another historical military outfit, albeit a particularly stylish one.

In Japan, which was much more involved with WWII than any other Asian country, Nazi chic is usually (but not always) reserved for villainous representations.

OF COURSE. i.imgur.com

That being said, J-Pop groups like Keyakizaka46 have publicly worn Nazi chic too, and the phenomena isn't limited to Japan.

In South Korea, Indonesia, and Thailand, Nazi imagery has shown up in various elements of youth culture, completely void of any moral context. For instance, in Indonesia, a Hitler-themed fried chicken restaurant opened in 2013. And in Korea, K-Pop groups like BTS and Pritz have been called out for propagating Nazi chic fashion. Usually such incidents are followed by public apologies, but the lack of historical understanding makes everything ring hollow.

Implications

So the question then: is Nazi chic a bad thing?

The answer is not so black and white.

On one hand, seeing Nazi chic on the fashion scene may dredge up painful memories for Holocaust survivors and those whose family histories were tainted. In this light, wearing Nazi-inspired garb, regardless of intent, seems disrespectful and antagonistic. Worse than that, it doesn't even seem like a slight against authority so much as a dig at actual victims of genocide.

But on the other hand, considering the fact that even the youngest people who were alive during WWII are edging 80, "forgetting the Holocaust" is a distinct possibility for younger generations. In that regard, perhaps anything that draws attention to what happened, even if it's simply through the lens of "this outfit should be seen as offensive," might not be entirely bad. This, compounded by the fact that Nazi chic is not commonly associated with actual Nazi or nationalistic sentiments, might be enough to sway some people–not necessarily to wear, like, or even appreciate its aesthetics, but rather to understand its place within counterculture.

Ultimately, one's views on Nazi chic likely come down to their own personal taste and sensibilities. For some, Nazi chic is just a style, an aesthetic preference for something that happens to be mired in historical horror. For others, the shadow of atrocity simply hangs too strong.

MUSIC

Ameer Vann Proves He’s Still a Misogynist on “EMMANUEL”

The disgraced rapper tries to paint himself as the victim rather than owning his mistakes.

With the release of his new EP, disgraced BROCKHAMPTON member, Ameer Vann, plays out a narrative we've seen too often in the MeToo era: relentless self-loathing.

"It's so hard to say I'm sorry, it's so hard to self reflect," Vann raps on "Emmanuel," the title track off the rapper's first EP since allegations of sexual abuse surfaced against him in 2018. "Make the world a better place, I'll put a bullet in my head." EMMANUEL is rank with self-pity, with Vann using his troubled upbringing and mental illness as a scapegoat to evoke sympathy from those who rightfully dismissed him. "Ain't no little piece of heaven, all these demons that I have," he continues. "I am broken, I am tired, I am lonely and depressed. I am made up of mistakes, I'll start going down the list," he raps before detailing the story of his abusive father, drug addicted sister, and how he's "so sick" he needs a doctor.

Soon, the self-loathing, as is common in the case of abusers, turns to ignorance. "This a new beginning, call me Jesus," Vann raps. "It ain't easy," he repeats over and over again. With an opening statement of this caliber, Vann does what many misogynistic men have done with their MeToo "apologies:" shift the attention away from the victims and contradict accusations by painting themselves as the "real" victim. We've seen it most recently with Ryan Adams and Casey Affleck, both of whom discussed troubled childhoods, and how the accusations didn't paint a genuine portrait of who they are. "Man it's crazy how they deal with you," Vann raps. "Talk about it like they still with you."

EMMANUEL


Vann continues to touch on similar themes throughout: running from his past, being institutionalized, abusing drugs, his bipolar disorder. He never addresses the allegations themselves or mentions the people he's harmed. It's clear he resents the accusers and resents his former bandmates at BROCKHAMPTON. He blames his failed relationships on money disputes and on the temptations of fame. He finds solace in his mental illness, describing how he misses "living at the hospital" and that his Bipolar Disorder makes him "feel like God in a scary way." Vann is painfully aware of his disorders and aware of his issues with ego and control, but rather than hint at any sign of remorse, the rapper sits in a dark corner, and chops up his failed relationships to: "They just didn't understand."

Ameer Vann sounds lonely, he sounds manic, he sounds depressed, and he seems to be in the same headspace as he was in 2017 when he wrote: "I love to watch 'em squirm, I love when bitches bleed, if she's sucking on the barrel, you can't hear her scream." Ameer Vann's actions were inexcusable, and with EMMANUEL meant to be his "comeback EP," it's clear the abuser hasn't learned much. "My depression what I love the most," he raps on "Los Angeles." "I can't seem to let it go." It's the only honest moment of self-reflection we see on the entirety of the project.