Wednesday, 28 August 2013

Earl Sweatshirt- Doris

Artist: Earl Sweatshirt
Album: Doris
Record Label: Tan Cressida

Earl returns more mature, developed and lyrically brilliant, proving capabilities beyond that of the Odd Future boundaries

One of the most interesting aspects of the Odd Future collective (once the most hyped new Indie proposal in Hip Hop) is that their ranks seem to be dissipating and their status as a "rap clique" diminishing. Save for the disappointing Odd Future 2 tape last year, most of the members now seem primarily concerned with developing their careers as singular artists. A smart move; collectives have a way of pinning down both effort and ability (perhaps something that bit down hard on OF's heels due to the criticism of "2"). Probably spurred on by both the critical acclaim of Tyler and reasonably well observed solo projects by the likes of Domo Genesis, Earl Sweatshirt has wasted no time in proving himself worthy, and mostly without the hefty cast of a clique incentive.

"Doris" is far removed from the Horror- Core of his debut release "Earl." Now at 19 years of age, we see a more mature, personal and complex Earl, which may have been expected, but fairly often he showcases lyrical wisdom and intellectual wordplay beyond his years. He immediately starts endorsing in a kind of brutal honesty and self- deprecation on "Burgundy" as he raps "I'm stressin' over payment so don't tell me that I've made it" over a dramatic production of crisp drums and crushing orchestration. "Chum" made plenty of waves as a single prior to the album's release, but his sorry profession of a broken life after his father left hits home hard as lines like "get up off the pavement and brush the dirt up off my psyche" resound.

In a similar vein fellow pre- release "Hive" is here in all its creeping, cavernous potency, and displays some of that esoteric wisdom Earl carries out with such profound calm; "Desolate testaments trying to stay Jekyll-ish but most niggas is Hyde and Brenda just stay pregnant."

"Sunday" is the most painfully honest moment here however, featuring punishingly personal quips like "If I hurt you I'm sorry, music makes me dismissive." It sees him in touch with shame, and almost trying to justify himself out of embarrassment. Production wise "Hoarse" is one of the finest moments here. It has a distinctly dark, ghostly swagger that sounds like it was produced straight from a mental asylum. The line "Pro- abortion endorsing his own importance and leaving opponents floating with paper and dirty porcelain" sees him tap into sociological, worldly speculation.

It's not all as artistically developed as it can be. "20 Wave Caps" sees Earl rapping without much substance, and the Mac Miller- featuring "Guild" lacks spectacularly in energy. Mostly though "Doris" is a surprising, clever and well- formed triumph that leaves plenty of ground for Earl to cover, but delivers plenty of emotion and substance. His prowess is only likely to grow.

Key tracks: Hive, Chum, Hoarse
For fans of: Vince Staples, Tyler, the Creator


Read what I thought about the track "Hive" here

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