Is it worth the hype?
Nowadays, thanks to social media giants like Soundcloud and Youtube, it’s easier than ever for up and coming artists to gain attention from the public, One good example of this would be the famous (infamous?) Odd Future, most commonly known as OFWGKTA, a hip hop collective group from California led by rapper Tyler The Creator who’s controversial albeit entertaining behaviour gained the group a lot of attention for the right and wrong reasons. One of the most promising members from Odd Future is Earl Sweatshirt who gained praise for his self titled debut mix-tape which showed his potential and showed that he may be able to live up to the claim made by his ‘big brother’ Tyler who generated the initial buzz of hype. Unfortunately following the release of his mix-tape, he was sent to a boarding school in Samoa by his mother until he was 18, leaving many fans questioning what had happened and led to the creation of the Free Earl campaign. It’s no wonder that on his arrival, fans were anticipating the new material from a more talented and mature Earl, hoping that he could live up to the buzz being generated about him. So does Doris prove Earl’s potential?
Before I listened to Doris, I listened to Earl so that I could compare it to his newest piece of work to see if the time away spent in Samoa had damaged or improved Earl’s work. Sweatshirt himself admitted that he would never be able to better his track Earl so I went in with low expectations but I came out being more than happy with what I had listened to, more so than I had been with my personal favourite contender for rap album of the year Yeezus. It has to be said that the production value on this album is up to the standards you’d expect from an Odd Future release though many tracks excel due to the eerie vibe that they generate and create a great atmosphere. Earl himself has lived up to most of his potential with his flow still not disappointing and coming out with many memorable lines. Unlike Earl which was the work of a young and upcoming artist which still holds up to this day, Doris is a more personal album which can be seen on the track Burgundy where he briefly talks of his now deceased grandma and on Chum where he raps about how his Father’s departure from his life has had an effect on him. The cameos on this album are unsurprising and vary from dissapointing to amazing apart from Vince Staples who is on standout form on the tracks Hive and Centurion and is by far the best guest on this album. Other guests include Frank Ocean who features on the song Sunday and Tyler The Creator on Sasquatch though this track seems like something that could have been on Wolf as it gives off more of a Tyler vibe than an Earl one which is by no means a bad thing but on a debut album, Earl should be trying to be creating a unique charisma on Doris, which thankfully it does have, though the track itself is decent enough.
Doris shows that Sweatshirt has realised how far shock value can get you in this genre and has not only matured in his lyrics but also in his production value which shows on the tracks that he has produced and certifies himself as a force to be reckoned with and that he has a bright future ahead of him.