Earl Sweatshirt: Doris

22 Dec

It’s been a while since Earl Sweatshirt has been on a mic. His wordsmithing and flow is much of what made Odd Future into the sensation that they have become. Now, after a long stint at a Samoan retreat for at-risk teens, he is back, has moved from gut-provoking to insightful and in doing so released an excellent exception to this year of mediocre rap.

This is an album that unabashedly requires and rewards work from the listener. The first few times I heard it, it felt more monotonous than mellifluous to me. On repeated listens though, that monotony reveals itself to be deeper and more oppressive than at first blush. Rap has changed from this style of production, now it struts in suits instead of shuffling around, hands in pockets, in the underground. This album comes at you hard and strong the way rap should.

The deep and dark productions fit the deep and dark lyrics well. There are so many standout moments in the murkiness of the album. Earl absolutely destroys in Burgundy as he goes over how he’s struggling with being a commodity. Hoarse runs off a sick, shifting beat and absolutely dazzling wordplay to submerge and almost suffocate the listener. Chum drops you straight into a litany of family issues and leaves you to learn how to swim in it (It’s probably been twelve years since my father left, left me fatherless/And I just used to say I hate him in dishonest jest/When honestly I miss this nigga, like when I was six/And every time I got the chance to say it I would swallow it).

Additionally, the guest spots do incredible work. Vince Staples steals Hive from Earl and Frank Ocean does great work in the trippy Sunday. Big brother Tyler is unmistakeable in Sasquatch (Man, I suck now, I ain’t still dope (nope)/But Chris and Rihanna’s fuckin’ again so there’s still hope/Oh fuck, I went there, balling bitch, I’m Ben’s hair). My favorite though is the RZA dropping the hook in Molasses, which would fit in a Wu-Tang album even without him.

Doris is real rap. The kind of rap parents worry about and that gives kids who shouldn’t be listening anyway nightmares. Rap for people who want to think and talk. Rap so good that it’s broken. Rap you should listen to.


One Response to “Earl Sweatshirt: Doris”


  1. Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside | Top Five Records - June 12, 2015

    […] that is almost anti-commercial. It is also much harder than any of its peers. With his last album, Doris, he was already far in his own lane. Now, he has set up home […]

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