Aug 23, 2013


I keep saying this but seriously, 2013 is the year for rap and hip hop. Among many other amazing hip hop albums that have come out this year, Doris by Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt is one that I have been anticipating highly! After hearing Chum, I was hooked and excited to hear more from the newly re-invented Earl Sweatshirt. Doris came out two days ago and it pretty much blew up all over the internet. I got my brother Sureiyan (find his blog I Like Your Thursday Personality here) to pre-emptively review the album - 'cause its everything I want to say but said in a more eloquently way. Read the review after the jump. 

Quick notes: 
• The album is akin to a movie, high and lows. Drama and comedy. Builds the closer you get to the end. 
• Touches of 90s psychedelic hip hop, which I very into at the moment.
• The album is completely different to what we were expecting. For which Earl has been quoted will lose him existing fans but also gain new ones. Either way seems to be win/win. 
• More mature, harder rhymes and completely unique to Earl's sounds.
• My favourites; Chum (I seriously can not get enough of this song!), Whoa and 523.

The uncanny prodigy rapper Earl Sweatshirt of California’s OFWGKTA gave all his dying fans an album which I consider worth spending money on. Doris, an album I’ve been scratching my head for months to listen to, finally came out on the 20th of August and I welcomed the first studio (under Earl’s own label) album with open arms. I was warming my ears to the expected heavy wordplay and skulking beat - but Doris (which I consider to be one of the top 5 rap albums to drop in 2013) has a slightly different feel to it. To put it mildly.

The first single I heard from Doris was Earl and I thought it was great. From the misogynistic views in his earlier content, Earl has grown up profusely to even amplify the greatness in his lyrics.

Chum was a preview of what this album going to be like and it didn’t disappoint. Earl kept to himself - just a more polished version. So, I’m not surprised to learn that many of his fans disagreed with this track. Earl spits with a newly acquired deep and sluggish voice...which quickly changes with Whoa, bringing back some of his disappointed fans back on the Earlwagon. Earl delivers rhymes with such complexity even I don’t know how his tongue isn’t all twisted up after spitting a few hard, rebellious lines. Then after weeks of anticipation, there was Doris, named after his grandmother who passed away while the album was in the making.

The album opens with Pre, a track involving SK La’Flare which didn't excite me so much. I was hoping I would fall into Earl’s world of confusion with the smart wordplay but I was pretty disappointed with this opener.

After feeling a little let down with the opener, I hear Vince Staples (another rapper to look out for) asking Earl to man up and just deliver. I personally thought this track should have been the opener. Burgundy which in my opinion is dope, not only because Pharrell produced it, but because the content holds so much meaning with the mention of his grandmother passing away and the expectations of him being as famous as his celebrated dad - but Earl ignores all this by comparing himself to Clark Gable who just doesn't give a damn.

When I say enjoy Odd Future’s music, I really do enjoy any piece of music that comes out of the group. If it came from Mike G or Tyler, the Creator, they’re all making music which is pleasing to the ear. The next two tracks has Domo Genesis and Frank Ocean. Both of which killed it with their respective verses. Sunday which features Frank Ocean where both reflect their experience with pot and relationships. This mellow beat was perfect was Frank Ocean's voice but it didn’t completely stole the show as Earl did deliver some personal lines which wont be overlooked by many.

The fifth track on Doris which together with Earl featured two killers in the rap game, Vince Staples and Cassey Veggies. Hive truly represents the meaning of syntax and double entendres which is why its my favourite track on the album. The track reminded me of Earl’s big brother, Tyler and the songs he produced on Goblin which had a sense of foreshadowing evil. It was that sort of menacing mood which attracted the youth to Tyler and his posse. Quite evidently, in Hive, you see the same sort of tone to it which was pleasing to the die hard Earl Sweatshirt fan base. Its one thing to spit rhymes but its completely another dimension when Earl spits. In this one song alone, he’s exhibit the lethal killer he is with words. Kudos to Rap Genius for putting up such a website cause if it wasn’t for them, the meaning behind Earl’s content would be overlooked and that would be a crying shame. "Salivary glands, lighter fluid for the matchbox"- Even Earl can sum up his verses in one line without getting fired up like other rappers you see nowadays. A favourable mention must be given to Vince Staples. I honestly do think he has one of the best verses in the album. There’s nothing much I can say about but to have a good listen to it. Staples killed it.

The following tracks kept the good mood up. I was impressed with the features that Earl hooked up with. He had Mac Miller, RZA and Casey Veggies to say the least which all gave their tiny contribution in making this album a monster. Sasquatch, Centurion, Molasses and Knight were all dope tracks with good beats and sick verses. I was reasonable with my expectation with this album as it was Earl’s official LP album and it didn’t fall victim to the shortcomings of most modern rap such as Jay-Z’s Magna Carta Holy Grail which in my opinion only had a few great tracks worth mentioning. Gnarly vocals, intense instrumentals and a diss on Chris Brown alongside touching issues like the famous LA’s recession as well as the pressure he was under in anticipation with this album - I think Earl killed it. Earl definitely has a kind of lyrical prowess with hints of diversity which makes for listening to his songs more and more interesting every time you hear him. With Doris, I feel Earl has a secured a strong future by dropping such a masterpiece which does not underwhelm.

For more from Sureiyan, check out his own blog; I Like Your Thursday Personality.

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