Tyler, the Creator had good reason to cancel his U.K. tour. He’s been banned from entering the place.
The rapper scrapped his four-date visit to England, Ireland and Northern Ireland because, in his own words, he’s not allowed in the U.K. for 3-5 years. It turns out violent and misogynistic lyrics of years past have come back to haunt him.
“BASED ON LYRICS FROM 2009 I AM NOT ALLOWED IN THE UK FOR 3-5 YEARS ( although i was there 8 weeks ago) THAT IS WHY THE SHOWS WERE CANCELLED,” he wrote on Twitter.
Tyler was scheduled to play shows in Belfast and Dublin this week and take the stage at the Reading and Leeds festivals on the weekend, but the Odd Future frontman didn't make the trip.
It’s the second national tour the controversial hip-hop artist has had to unravel in as many weeks. The Australia leg of his Cherry Bomb World Tour was rubbed out amid protests led by Collective Shout, which campaigns against the objectification of women and sexualization of girls. On that occasion, Tyler told his Twitter followers he’d been banned by Australia’s authorities, though the promoters of the now-nixed tour say that isn’t strictly the case.
A spokesperson for the Home Office declined to address his apparent U.K. border-ban, though the following statement was issued: "Coming to the U.K. is a privilege, and we expect those who come here to respect our shared values,” the Guardian reports. “The Home Secretary has the power to exclude an individual if she considers that his or her presence in the U.K. is not conducive to the public good or if their exclusion is justified on public policy grounds."
Tyler’s punishment likely stems from his self-produced 2009 mixtape Bastard and his full-length debut album Goblin from 2011. Tyler has distanced himself from some of those earlier works which contain lyrics his critics say glorify rape and violence. He was a teen when he penned those songs, but it would seem many haven’t forgiven or forgotten.
In a blog post, Tyler's manager Christian Clancy pulls “highlights” from a letter he says came from the Secretary of State for the Home Department which claims Tyler's works "encourages violence and intolerance of homosexuality” and “fosters hatred with views that seek to provoke others to terrorist acts.”
Clancy, who says the California artist has visited the U.K. more than 20 times in the last 5 years "without incident," admits those earlier recordings “make me cringe” but warns against punishing someone for reaching adulthood.
“This is a broader issue of free speech, with new lines being drawn that include reaching back in time without acknowledging growth. In fact, punishing growth,” he writes. “What I do know is Tyler is part of an argument that is counter to who he has become. How do you punish someone for growing up? Since the letter acknowledged he was writing from an alter ego perspective does this then apply to book writers? The fact that he has evolved into someone who has acknowledged and grown out of that is simply lost in the narrative. Is he not worthy of the pat on the back for becoming aware and making changes? What message does that send? Is race a conscious or subconscious factor at all?”
Tyler isn’t the first U.S. rapper banned from the U.K. Snoop Dogg was denied a U.K. tour visa in 2007 for his role in a fracas the previous year at Heathrow Airport. And Busta Rhymes was barred from entering the U.K. in 2008 due to unresolved convictions in his homeland.