Tyler The Creator Used To Mock BET As ‘A Defense Mechanism’ Before Peforming At The BET Awards

Of all the standout performances at this year’s BET Awards, one of the most surprising and impressive was Tyler The Creator’s — not just because of the scale and production, but also because BET was the last place you’d catch Tyler The Creator during Odd Future’s precipitous rise. In fact, the crew used to rail against the network, among other outlets, as an example of the establishment that didn’t accept them.

Hindsight, as they say, is 20/20, though. In a new interview with Complex, Tyler explained how the mockery was a “defensive mechanism” that allowed him to pre-emptively reject outlets that he thought might reject him. “I was so hype to perform at the BET Awards,” he admitted. “I just never felt like my style of music would ever have been, not even appreciated, but allowed on there. And because of that, I would mock it.”

He continued, “It was like a defense mechanism because I felt like I wasn’t accepted by that audience. But when they asked me this year, man I was enthralled. I was so happy.” He also explained the deeper meaning BET holds for him, recalling, “That channel taught me how to rap. It taught me about just all the stuff I know.”

He also breaks down why he hates making merch, why he just got into watches, and explains his creative process behind the hilarious Converse ad he just directed featuring Tim Meadows, Bill Walton, and Vince Staples.