Earl Sweatshirt – Doris


In late August, 18 year-old Earl Sweatshirt (Thebe Neruda Kgositsile) of L.A.’s Odd Future released his first full-length record, Doris. His debut is at once the most meaningful an album yet delivered by the young hip hop crew, yet somehow an inconsistent mess of poorly-placed guest verses and middling overproduction. While Earl displays an innate ability to convey emotion through internal rhyming on tracks like “Chum” and “Burgundy,” his voice is often diminished by the distracting inanity of Tyler, The Creator, a surprisingly dull Frank Ocean and the downright unseemly Mac Miller. Despite guests like the RZA on a Christian Rich co-produced joint “Molasses” and the much improved Domo Genesis on “Knight,” Doris usually sounds either disengaged or overly self-deprecating. Earl self-produced seven of the album’s fifteen tracks under the pseudonym “randomblackdude,” however others mastered by the Neptunes and Toronto’s BadBadNotGood can’t seem to fully complement the hardcore hip hop aesthetic projected by the Odd Future crew. Ultimately, while Earl certainly shows promise and improvement on Doris, his debut is hampered by the significant presence of other artists that diminish what could have been an outstanding product. (Columbia/Tan Cressida, earlsweatshirt.net) Harrison Samphir

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