Earl Sweatshirt is 19 years old, born in 1994 and one of the most disturbed things that has come out of rapper since his OFWGKTA groupmate, Tyler, The Creator – what a surprise. And if you have thought that you never heard of him before reading this review, you are very very wrong; take another close listen to “Super Rich Kids” off the highly acclaimed release Channel Orange by R&B superstar Frank Ocean who is also a member of Odd Future. Are we starting to see a pattern here? It’s safe to say Sweatshirt and the rest the Wolf Gang like to keep it all in the family, and rightfully so; what’s better than being able to stay in sync on the same vibe to create the perfect lyrically charged and schizophrenic masterpiece that has come from Sweatshirt’s 2013 release, Doris. Before you think that Sweatshirt is another depressed and misplaced youth just rhyming about exploiting women and smoking the highest grade of California ganja, break it down for yourself. And yes, it may require more than one take, but is well worth it. Sweatshirt presents an assortment of scaled back and strip down underground beats and chooses to cleverly focus on presenting the most disgusting bars layered on top so that nothing is overpowering in the end. We know where he wants you to focus your ear, and naturally you will, to each and every word. With greats such as The Neptunes, RZA and the Alchemist on the bill for production, it also gives a hint at the direction to where Sweatshirt wanted to take the album. Horns, offsetting live drum breaks, and slowed down, gritty, and ironic lyrics such as “I feel like the Tom Sawyer for real ni**as, Looking for a problem, revolver under the Hilfiger” solidify the theme of the album. Sweatshirt wants you to abandon reality and explains that his craft is mastered, and he is now letting you know. I chose this album as my number 12 because I feel Sweatshirt took a bold initiative to flawlessly match the production and theme of lyrics on this album to the point where the sound and emotion fuses perfectly and you don’t have to strain yourself to listen to all 44 minutes and still want more.
Best Song: “Centurion” ft. Vince Staples
Best Production: “Whoa” ft. Tyler The Creator