A Boy Is a Gun

Album: Igor (2019)
Charted: 74
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Songfacts®:

  • Here, Tyler the Creator gender-flips the popular idiom "a girl is a gun." The phrase was originally popularized by LA streetwear label Pleasures, which emblazoned it in a bold red font on T-shirts. The design took off when Playboi Carti, one of the early supporters of Pleasures, wore the shirt in the video for his July 2017 track "Magnolia."

    The phrase is associated with the notion that women can be dangerous to the unassuming male if not properly respected. Tyler's gender-bent take on the idiom plays on the concept of love being dangerous. He takes us through the arc of a gay relationship from the initial coming together to an acrimonious breakup. Falling in and out of love, according to the rapper, can be as being as perilous as playing with a loaded gun.
  • The song is built around a sample of the 1971 soul track "Bound" by Ponderosa Twins Plus One. Their tune was previously sampled by Kanye West on 2013's "Bound 2." Tyler has stated that he co-produced the original version of "Bound 1" alongside Hudson Mohawke and Yeezy himself.
  • Solange Knowles contributes background vocals. She also sang on the Igor tracks "I Think" and "I Don't Love You Anymore." When asked about his favorite moments on the album, Tyler said he especially dug Solange's vocals right before Verse 3. "Solange's run at 2:41 is so warm on 'A Boy is a Gun.' Sounds like an angel landing," he said.
  • Former Cameo and Dazz member Kevin Kendrick played keyboards on the track. He has also worked with the likes of OutKast, Gwen Stefani and Kelis.
  • The song's music video features a lovestruck Tyler in an opulent mansion eyeing a young man's every move. The rapper sports the same blond wig as he did in his previous Earfquake clip.

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