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ALBUM REVIEW: Earl Sweatshirt’s Doris is a pretty dope hip-hop LP


It isn’t everyday I feel inclined to listen to hip-hop anymore. My high school days of Jay-Z, Wu-Tang and A Tribe Called Quest are over, and while I still love the classics, anything that’s new and isn’t by/featuring Kendrick Lamar just falls short of something I’m gonna play again.

Yeezus was different and I thought it was cool, but I don’t really play it.

MagnaCartaHolyGrail wasn’t anything toooooo special. Again, not bad, but I’m not excited to throw it on repeatedly or anything.

And then I downloaded Doris by Earl Sweatshirt today and was so pleasantly surprised. Dope beats, no whack-ass choruses, ill features, cool wordplay…exactly what I like in a hip-hop album. The songs are short, which is great for me because I get sick of 95% of rap tracks by the second chorus.

The album starts out with a slurred up trap tune, “Pre.” I’m a big fan when a rap album starts off with a feature, especially when it’s some homie I’ve never heard of before. It’s the equivalent of puttin’ your little brother on ’cause you know he’s gonna shine. SK La’ Flare, the rapper in question, murks the opening verse and sets the ally-oop for Mr. Earl Sweatshirt to slam the intro track down on your ass.

Vince Staples and Domo Genesis appear on the next two tracks, respectively, in what is a little fun trading verses over intricate beats. These beats scream “ODDDD FUUUTUUUREE” but the rhyming isn’t as crazy or (sorry…) BAD as Tyler’s can be at times. Tyler can be mad ill too, and I never hate on anyone who does their own damn thing with no regard for anyone else, but I don’t fuck with but like 8 songs he’s on.

Track 4, “Sunday” features a rapping Frank Ocean talking about a drug-free lifestyle and eludes to beatin’ some kid in high school for callin’ him a “faggot.” There’s a ton of things I like about this. A) Frank Ocean rapping is different. B) Repeatedly mentioning when he “stop smoking pot” in a rap song isn’t exactly a regular thang.

“Hive” is raunchy as hell. It feels like that scene in Friday when Smokey smokes angel dust… Remember!? (Earl Sweatshirt should remake this scene for album promo.)

As the album goes on, Mac Miller uses some effect to deepen his voice so he doesn’t sound like such a sissy white boy, RZA blesses Earl with an ill beat and no rhymes, Tyler. The Creator teaches us how to spell Wolf Gang (or Golf Wang… w/e), “523” would make Flying Lotus proud and Domo Genesis / Earl Sweatshirt get us high on the album-closing “Knight.”

Overall, this is a dope album that you should definitely check out. It’s different, and that’s what I like most about it. It doesn’t mention a bunch of stuff I can’t afford, it doesn’t talk about “twerking,” it doesn’t over-use trap beats… it’s just Earl Sweatshirt giving us some straight fuckin’ hip-hop with his homies…and I’m down with that.

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