Tyler, The Creator is an American rapper, record producer, music video director and founder of the alternative hip hop collective Odd Future.
He is known for his controversial lyrics, rebellious persona and unique production style.
Tyler has been praised for his dark humor but also critiqued for offensive content in his music. He became an internet meme star when his mugshot from an arrest at SXSW in 2014 went viral.
- Tyler built an early reputation in hip hop as a rebel who promoted chaos, leading to arrests.
- In 2014 at SXSW, he erroneously riled up a crowd, leading to a riot arrest.
- His mugshot from the arrest became a viral meme capturing his goofy internet persona.
- Tyler has apologized for past controversies and lyrics, and matured greatly as an artist.
- While memed, the mugshot represented youthful mistakes that Tyler has learned from and grown beyond.
Who is Tyler The Creator?
Tyler Gregory Okonma was born on March 6, 1991 in Ladera Heights, California. He never knew his father and was raised by his mother and grandmother.
Tyler started getting into music and learning piano at age 14. He attended 12 different schools growing up and was expelled from several for behavioural issues.
Before getting into rapping and production, Tyler would make cover art and track lists for imaginary albums as a kid. He got his stage name from a MySpace page where he would post his creative work.
In 2007, 17-year-old Tyler formed the alternative hip hop group Odd Future with some friends. He took on the role of leader and producer for the collective, which grew to over a dozen members.
Tyler released his debut mixtape Bastard in 2009, followed by his first studio album Goblin in 2011. Both projects were produced entirely by Tyler and featured his trademark gritty beats and provocative lyrics.
“I’m not crazy, I’m a fucking table” – Tyler on his song “Golden“
Tyler started drawing attention for his chaotic live shows with Odd Future, which sometimes descended into violence.
He developed a reputation as a rebel in hip hop who promoted chaotic behavior. This rebellious image contributed to his popularity among fans but also got him into legal issues.
Viral Mugshot of Tyler, The Creator
On March 15, 2014, Tyler was arrested at Austin-Bergstrom International Airport in Austin, Texas. He was charged by Austin Police Department for allegedly inciting a riot at the 2014 SXSW Music Festival the previous night.
Tyler had encouraged fans outside a packed show to push past security barricades. This led to hundreds of fans rushing past security and putting them in danger.
“All y’all outside the gates, y’all push through!” – Tyler told the crowd outside the venue
Tyler was released later on a $25,000 bond but charged with a Class A misdemeanor for inciting a riot. The charge carried up to 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
The mugshot from Tyler’s arrest ended up going viral online. The photo shows Tyler staring blankly ahead with a subtle smirk. Fans began sharing and editing the mugshot, and it became a popular internet meme.
The mugshot seemed to capture Tyler’s trademark goofy and rebellious attitude. Despite the serious circumstances, Tyler still conveyed subtle humor in the now-famous image.
Tyler’s History of Arrests and Controversy
The riot arrest at SXSW wasn’t the first time Tyler had been in trouble with the law. In 2011, he was arrested at the Roxy Theatre in Los Angeles for allegedly vandalising the venue’s sound equipment during an Odd Future show.
Tyler also sparked controversy for his offensive and violent lyrics, which often included homophobic and misogynistic language. This led to Tyler getting banned from entering New Zealand and the UK at certain points in his career.
However, Tyler has matured and evolved significantly since his early days in Odd Future. His music and messaging are now much more positive and introspective.
While the SXSW riot arrest demonstrated poor judgment, Tyler has shown immense growth since and should not be defined only by past youthful mistakes.
Why Tyler Incited a Riot at SXSW
Tyler’s arrest at SXSW stemmed from an ill-advised attempt to excite the crowd at one of his shows. With hundreds of fans stuck outside the over-capacity venue, he encouraged them to force their way inside for safety reasons.
“Push, push, push!” Tyler chanted to the mob outside
This quickly led to mayhem, with the venue getting rushed. During the chaotic scene, a bartender at the venue reported being punched while trying to help some attendees who had fallen to the floor.
Tyler’s lawyer Perry Minton argued the riot charge was overblown, but Tyler clearly exercised poor judgment.
“I personally believe there was no riot, and I feel that in the end, the Travis County attorney saw there was never any intent on the part of Tyler to incite anything harmful or dangerous,” Minton said.
The incident occurred a day after a tragic drunk driving accident outside one of Tyler’s shows canceled his performance. This tense environment likely contributed to his decision.
While Tyler made a mistake, he does not have a pattern of inciting crowds in this way since SXSW 2014. He appears to have learned from the experience and matured.
How the Mugshot Went Viral as a Meme
Tyler’s mugshot quickly went viral on social media because of his fame and the absurdity of his facial expression in the photo. The blank stare and subtle smirk made it perfect fodder for memes and edits.
- March 15, 2014 – Mugshot taken when Tyler arrested at SXSW
- March 16, 2014 – Posted to Reddit Photoshop Battles; gets 1.9k upvotes
- 2019 – Edits of mugshot become popular with Tyler fans on Reddit and Instagram
- 2019 – Appears photoshopped into high school yearbook
For fans, the meme represented Tyler’s reputation as a goofy internet prankster and musician. While the arrest was serious, the mugshot captured and spread an image of Tyler’s cheeky essence.
Where is Tyler, The Creator Now
Tyler faced significant controversy early in his career for offensive lyrics and rebellious behavior. But in the past decade, the 32-year-old has grown up and matured.
He has apologized for past inappropriate lyrics and become an outspoken LGBTQ advocate. Tyler came out as bisexual on his 2017 album Flower Boy. His music is now more introspective, focusing on relationships and personal growth.
While Tyler still marches to the beat of his own drum creatively, he promotes positivity over negativity. He remains one of the most unique figures in hip hop, no longer defined by youthful missteps like the SXSW incident.
Though the arrest mugshot lives on as an internet meme, Tyler has demonstrated great personal development since that time.
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He was arrested for allegedly inciting a riot by encouraging fans outside a packed venue to push past security barricades. This led to the venue being rushed in a chaotic scene.
He was charged with a Class A misdemeanour for inciting a riot, which carries a punishment of up to 1 year in jail and a $4,000 fine.
The mugshot photo comes directly from his arrest at Austin-Bergstrom Airport the day after the SXSW incident. It started spreading online immediately after his arrest.
Yes, he was arrested in 2011 for allegedly vandalising a venue’s sound equipment at an Odd Future show in Los Angeles.
He apologised for offensive lyrics, distanced himself from controversy, and focused his music on more positive themes like relationships and personal growth.