Music Review: Earl Sweatshirt’s ‘Doris’

130814-earl-sweatshirt-doris-sunday-frank-oceanOdd Future wunderkind Earl Sweatshirt’s debut full length Doris is what Earl fans have been clamoring for, and can even find its way to multiple best of lists by the end of the year.

Towards the beginning of Odd Future’s ride to relevancy, all you heard from their crew members was lyrics about rape, murder, and “Free Earl.” Since his “freedom” (Earl was sent to a boarding school in Samoa), Earl made his return with the second to last verse on the posse track “Oldie,” and has been dropping songs left and right leading up to his first full length Doris. And if the songs he dropped earlier were any indication of how Doris was going to sound, you’d know what exactly you’re in for; a murky, dark, and lyrically heavy album that begs for multiple listenings.

The three tracks released ahead of time are probably the biggest singles on Doris. “Hive” with Casey Veggies and Vince Staples is a new age street anthem that explores violence in communities and how it’s not as important as it once was, or as Earl put it “Breaking news/that’s less important when the Lakers lose.” “Chum” is an introspective look at himself and the hard times he has been presented, but raps a out it in a completely mature, thoughtful manner. Then there’s “Whoa,” a fun and ridiculous lyrical throw down with Tyler on the verse reinforcing the fact that Earl is a part of the GOLF WANG.

The three singles aren’t the only tracks that deserves attention. “Sunday” has Earl and Frank Ocean rapping about their own personal lives; Earl to his girlfriend and Frank referencing his little feud with Chris Brown. “Molasses” has a very cool broken record like beat backing Earl rapping and RZA exclaiming that he’s gonna “fuck the freckles off your face.” Like “Molasses,” there are a good amount of songs on Doris that clock in at under three minutes, including “Burgandy,” “20 Wave Caps” and “Uncle Al.” Though short, they do help move the album along to the longer efforts on Doris.

If there’s one thing I have to knock the album for is not how the beats feel per song, but the fact that they got me dozing off half way through the album. After “Chum,” I had a hard time staying awake. With how murky and downtempo the songs were, it’s not hard to find yourself lulling off to some of the songs, especially the two featuring Mac Miller and a criminally underused RZA. Don’t get it twisted – some of the songs on the back end are pretty good, like “Knights” featuring Domo Genesis. I’m not implying that Earl needs to get on some hype tracks or anything, but a tad bit more brightness added to this relatively dark album would’ve been acceptable. Even a glimmer could’ve done the job.

Overall, Doris didn’t disappoint. It’s weird to think this 19 year old rapper can mature into one of the best lyricists the game has to offer right now, but Earl has. His flows are slightly absurd to completely ridiculous, and his lyrics are so out there that you might just have to have RapGenius up to get some of his lines. Doris is another big step for the Odd Future crew; when they don’t bullshit around with their music, they can be incredible. And there is especially no bullshit with Doris.

Final Grade: A-
Go Download: The album, “Hive”

  • Jen

    Really cool to see everyone notice Earl’s growth and maturation. I really like his album, but didn’t care for his debut. Goes to show a little thought and class in your raps will come off better than anything else. Hive is a perfect rap song. http://smarturl.it/EarlHive