speaking to the hardcore tyler, the creator fans outside his cancelled surprise gig

Following the lifting of his UK ban, Tyler announced a surprise gig to take place in Peckham this Saturday, but rowdy fans led to its cancellation. We waded deep into the crowds to capture the Tylermania.

by Pip Jay King and Liberty Papworth
20 May 2019, 1:58pm

Photography Pip Jay King

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

It's been four long years since then Home Secretary Theresa May banned Tyler, The Creator from the UK, citing lyrics she said were violent and homophobic. This Saturday, the star returned for the first time, sending social media into a frenzy when he posted a picture of himself outside Buckingham Palace. Later, Tyler added to the frenzy when he announced a surprise gig on Twitter -- due to take place at Peckham's Bussey building.

With just two hours notice, Tyler's fans descended on SE15, resulting in a total gridlock on Peckham Rye high street. With cars unable to pass, and the venue totally swarmed, young fans began climbing over barriers and trying to sneak past bouncers into Bussey's complex. The energy was palpable and, in the words of Tyler himself, "people got nervous".

By 3.30pm, half an hour after the IGOR star was due to perform, the gig was cancelled. In a post to Instagram, Tyler explained: "Too rowdy, cops cancelled it, go home, i tried, the gate climbing nail in the coffin, they got nervous, too bad was a cool idea." He later announced a replacement (less impromptu) gig at Brixton's 02 Academy in September.

Despite the bad news, just outside the building where it was all supposed to have happened, you’d expect outrage. But it was all love. And the party carried on anyway. Someone found a speaker the size of a infant, and the gathered fans united over their love for tracks like Who Dat Boy and the clear new favourite from newly released IGOR, Earfquake. They rushed to south London for his first performance in years, but even after its cancellation, Tyler fans were still a huge vibe.

We headed deep into the crowds to hear their messages to their hero...


Teja Appiah-Smith
"My note to Tyler is... you are my biggest inspiration, you are really influential in my life and you have really helped me express who I want to be. Thank you for bringing us all together."


"My note to Tyler is … I had to beg my mum for money for my Oyster card to get down here. When you said it had reached capacity, I came down anyway, because I just thought you was fucking about. But you are a troll man. I think you’re cool. Nice to meet you. My name is Matylda."


"My note to Tyler is... you’re amazing. You’re an inspiration."


"My note to Tyler is… I remember buying tickets to the 2016 Reading fest, obviously so excited to see you, and then you got banned from the country. So that was a let down. And this has been a let down too, haha! But please, please perform before you leave the country. Obviously this was poorly planned. I think you’ve underestimated how big your UK fan base is."


"My note to Tyler is… you should have picked a different venue, haha! Nah, but seriously -- I’ve gone from being pissed off to thinking this is just absolutely hilarious."


"My note to Tyler is… I’ve come from Southend, travelled 2 hours and 30 minutes. I had to cancel a couple of appointments. I had a facial booked. I sent my mum instead -- can’t waste that Groupon. But I just wanna know what your favourite song off King Krule’s latest album is?"


Photography Pip Jay King
Interviews Liberty Papworth

This article originally appeared on i-D UK.

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