Update: Earl posted on Twitter last night he will not be on the tour.
See also: - Earl Sweatshirt of Odd Future will not be at the Pageant tonight -Odd Future's "Camp Flog Gnaw" Tour is Coming to the Pageant -Earl Sweatshirt Comes Home, Releases New Song, Gets 50,000 Twitter Followers
The OF collective is well known for its extremely, extremely graphic lyrical content, laden constantly with homophobic slurs and misogynistic references to rape (similar in many ways to the early work of Eminem, whom the group recognizes as an influence.) Obviously such ugly themes have had a polarizing effect on critics and music fans, and oftentimes the sheer skill of the wordplay and lyricism itself is drowned out in the ensuing conversation about the content's social implications.
Hope for that to change comes in the form of some recent statements from Earl on his twitter account, in regards to a new direction on his upcoming album. "I anticipate a loss of fans. I also anticipate gaining some. I hope I lose you as a fan if you only fuck with me because I rapped about raping girls when i was 15." Maybe that trip to Samoa did some good: This intriguing video from the trip seems to imply as much, anyway.
With all that in mind, here are six segments of verses by Earl Sweatshirt (in no particular order) that illustrate what all the hype is about. Youtube videos of the songs are included; I recommend you listen along to get the full effect.
6. "Earl" by Earl Sweatshirt, on the album Earl I'm a hot and bothered astronaut crashing while Jacking off to buffering vids of Asher Roth eating apple sauce Sent to Earth to poke Catholics in the ass with saws And knock blunt ashes into their caskets and laugh it off
For most, this is the line that introduced the world to Earl Sweatshirt, as it is the first uttered in the Youtube video (above) that could be largely credited for the early history of Odd Future's rise to prominence. The "buffering vid of Asher Roth eating applesauce" he refers to is here. Take a step back for a second and actually conjure the mental image of what is being referred to: Earl is in an astronaut suit, in an apparently malfunctioning spaceship, masturbating to videos of another rapper eating, while he crash-lands.
5. "Fuck Your Compression" by Earl Sweatshirt (then Sly Tendencies) from the unreleased album Kitchen Cutlery I dominate, y'all denominate fractions I relapse back to spittin' crack like chapped lips Chasin' pavements 'til the day of amazin' payment Success is the fragrance on my Bathin' Ape apron Pull your face up out your anus and face this Darth invadin' your playlist, you cannot evade this
Now I'm not going to pretend that I know anything about denominating fractions, because I didn't pay any fucking attention in math class, but it sounds like some smart shit. Additionally, the "I relapse back to spittin' crack like chapped lips" line is clever on a few levels: "spittin' crack" being a oft-used reference to "rapping well," the fact that he "relapsed" back to "crack," and then the "chapped lips" in reference to "crack" because that's what one's lips do when one's lips are chapped. Get it?
4. "Kill" by Earl Sweatshirt, on the album Earl Now pan the cameras back to me and Pamela's Amateur threesome with Hannah Montana's manager And Miley feedin' me sandwiches for my stamina And Santa's in the back laughin' cause my back's crampin' up Mrs. Claus trippin' balls, think she had enough And by enough I mean we dope as fuck, she had a gram of us Flyer than your man because I'm lampin' up At the airport smokin' hash with all the fuckin' baggage handlers
This verse is a good illustration of the oft-made "early Eminem" comparisons I mentioned earlier. Lots of inside rhyming, double-meanings, references to pop culture and overall graphic absurdity.
2. "Molliwopped" by Earl Sweatshirt (then Sly Tendencies) on the unreleased album Kitchen Cutlery Whoa, I go harder than standardized testing Bars on lock my development's arrested I'm the bestest, on a bad day I spit asbestos Yeah, yes, impressive y'all steady coming in second Fuck V-necks, I'm the rapper to invest in My flow ends recessions, I'm fresh as Crest breath is
While not as difficult as running from an enormous, armored wild animal, standardized tests are difficult too -- especially when you are only 15, as Earl was when this song was released.
1. "Drop" by Odd Future, on the album Radical Tell your bitch to stop complainin' 'bout her achey tits Her body is a temple, I don't give a fuck, I'm atheist Make me stop, make me bitch, she mad because I taped the shit And sent the tape to Ace and Taco, helps 'em fuckin' 'bate to it Master, master, pretty bitch basher, black and white bitch Mixed like she moo and chew grass or somethin' Sorta like the shit, I guess I kinda like my bitch If she wasn't a dyke motorcyclist with Tyson lisp
I saved this one for last for a reason, and it isn't a "ranking" situation. When I started researching for this post I figured it'd be a "top ten" list, maybe more, but then I ran headlong into all that misogyny and homophobia I mentioned earlier. I wanted to pick songs that would make the argument for checking Earl Sweatshirt out, and I knew people would be turned off by some of the graphic content.
These lyrics were written before the trip to Samoa, and content-wise, they are horrifying. Essentially, Earl raped your girlfriend, videotaped it, then sent a tape to fellow Odd Future members Ace (Tyler the Creator) and Taco for masturbation purposes. He goes on to explain that she is a mixed-race girl, and compares her to a cow. This shit is downright deplorable, but there is no denying that it is presented here in an impressively lyrical way. The "dyke motorcyclist with Tyson lisp" line, for example, is obviously homophobic, but is so comically absurd and rolls off the rapper's tongue in such a smooth manner that it forgives itself.
Here's my point: Consider that up until now, shock has been the product that Odd Future has been selling. Earl Sweatshirt has been able to use his effortless flow and phenomenal pen game within the confines of "shock" to great effect, garnering considerable acclaim despite the obvious controversy. Now, Earl seems to have matured, and his statements imply growth on his next album. Those of you who are tired of the OFWGKTA shtick or offended by the content should still keep an eye on Earl; his command of the English language is undeniable and his timely extradition to a troubled youth shelter may just have put him on a path to true greatness.