Please forgive the tardiness of this review, however I genuinely feel like this album deserves more than an half arsed review. Earl Sweatshirt dropped his debut album Doris on the August 20th to fairly good reception, clocking close to 49,000 copies sold in the first week of its release. As bad as it sounds, I have a thing for shuffling songs and not giving them a chance within about five seconds of hearing the start. This time though, it only felt right to give this whole album a thorough listen and eventually it’s ended up being on rotate.
Doris isn’t quite the “turn up” album, but rather a lyrically crafted body of work with beats that either make you drift into thoughts about problems in your life you probably don’t actually have, or cruise around contemplating whether or not to cause a little bit of mischief in an extremely riveting and bad ass Kids (a 1995 teen drama film based on a New York skate crew) sort of way.
Earl boasts a hearty line up of features and production with Frank Ocean, Vince Staples, Casey Veggies, Domo Genesis, RZA, Mac Miller and long time friend and collective group member Tyler, The Creator. On standout production I must mention “Hoarse”, which has contribution from Canadian instrumental Hip Hop-jazz trio Bad Bad Not Good (BBNG) who are on their way to Wellington on September 28th. As mentioned in a previous article leading up to the release of Doris, Earl has this striking way of telling stories. He touches on being away from the scene, and although he doesn’t divulge his life story, we hear more on how he feels about people picking him apart in terms of making music more than caring about his feelings notably on “Burgundy” and “Chum”. He also elaborates on his feelings about his father — renowned South African poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, being absent for a large chunk of his life; the trials he has with his mother, and supposed girl problems. Now, I know you may be thinking “is this an article about the Drake Memes or Earl?” But really, the way he details his accounts is out of this world. Let’s not ignore the fact that he IS part of Odd Future, so of course he’s got his raw grim numbers like “Centurion” featuring Vince Staples.
After listening to this album a hefty number of times it’s safe to say I like it. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like Earl’s compelling choices of topic and fluency. Finally we get a little more mystery diminished in terms of Earl… Only a little though.
Doris is available for purchase on iTunes and you can stream it here.