New Music: Earl Sweatshirt – Doris


Earl SweatshirtDoris

4-BamsTop Tracks:
“Sunday” ft. Frank Ocean

Highlights: It’s been a long time coming for Doris, and Earl has rightfully graduated from gory themes to a more matured sound that evaluates some of the horrors of everyday life while never compromising his preternatural phasing skills. However, it’s still raw and shocking, but for better reasons than the prolific Earl mixtape from days when he couldn’t even legally buy Swishers. This release is also boosted by the characteristic down-trodden beat type that Earl thrives on, mainly produced by Earl himself, though under the pseudonym randomblackdude, and Christian Rich. Flying Lotus, the Neptunes, Samiyam and RZA are just a handful of beatmakers who lent their hand to this release.

One highlight track which has been garnering attention is “Sunday”, a organ-driven churner aided by Odd Future soul-wonder, Frank Ocean. Earl spits “All my dreams got dimmer when I stopped smoking pot/Nightmares got more vivid when I stopped smoking pot” to a lurching back beat while Frankie’s distorted vocals paint a similar picture. Other banner guest spots are held down by Vince Staples, Domo Genesis and Mac Miller to name a few. Even with a laundry list of helpers, it really is Earl who shines brightest, a young MC who is calculated and at MENSA-level mastery of wordplay.

Album Lowlight: It’s been a long few years for the young underground rapper, and it feels like a piece of the puzzle is missing from his first mixtape, to his time at Samoan boarding school and eventually returning to fame back in LA. Even after turning 18 and being released from his international “prison”, Earl has been relatively quiet. Talk about hype for a sophomore release, am I right?

Some hardcore fans may feel slightly let down with it’s shift from NC-17 to R-rated themes and lyrics, but that shock factor could only be short-lived for the widely considered rhyme champion of Odd Future. Nonetheless, the profanity is more veiled and less blatant on Doris.

Takeaway: With a new era of hip-hop being ushered in by the likes of the Odd Future crew, Danny Brown, Action Bronson, Chance the Rapper and so on, Earl has staked his ground as one of the most exciting wordsmiths in the past decade. Many listeners were originally drawn in by the deadly effective mix of obscene and smart, simultaneously. On Doris we witness a few notches of maturity being whittled into Earl’s belt, and listeners can’t help but think about the bright future this kid will have if he keeps up his clever writing coupled with one of the most unique phrasing styles being spat into a mic.

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