Yeah yeah okay okay, I screwed up... I've been pretty busy lately. And I definitely wanted to get my first impressions of this album down for good, because I'm expecting to really like it.
You a big Odd Future fan?
Sort of... I like the group's shtick in general. Their fanbase is... not their fault. I got into them somewhere around when Bastard came out and I was blown away. These guys were like "the reincarnation of '98 Eminem" put alongside the sort of wonky, heavy beats that I was really into at the time. I devoured every video and mixtape they put out. I bumped Bastard for a long time, Mike G's Ali was also a big favorite - it has a sort of aesthetic on the beats that comes along very rarely, most recently I heard it on Mac Miller's Watching Movies... (and no it isn't just samples of birds) - but my favorite, by far, was Earl.
I don't think there's anyone who would disagree that Earl is the most talented rapper in Odd Future. I'd even say there aren't many people, not even the rabid base of haters Odd Future has accumulated, that would dispute Earl being just an objectively terrific rapper. His flow is this bizarre mixture of casual and natural while also being so intricately structured. His creativity with rhymes often gets DOOM-tier. Lyrically, he's consistently hilarious and shocking without getting so far from reality that his more emotional stuff can't hit hard. Holy shit he's good.
I think my main problem with the "second generation" of OF releases was the absence of Earl. Sure, they were mostly good, and I never hated listening to them, but it was becoming clear to me that Earl was really what I was hyped for. When he came back with "Home", the triumph felt worth the year or whatever of waiting. In that time, OF had blown up from perversely confusing oddity to a cultural phenomenon but it was still waiting for its champ. Earl dropped a few singles, put in some amazing verses (especially the FlyLo produced "Between Friends" and "Between Villains"), but it was all in anticipation of this. So uh let's go for it!
Earl Sweatshirt - Doris
Pre I guess like prelude or whatever. I like these spacey sorta beats... very classic synth sound. Is this "SK La'Flare"? Doesn't sound like Earl. Who is SK La'Flare and what sort of rap name is that. I like this extended beef/meat thing. The beat is shaping up nicely too. His flow is a pretty standard thing to expect on this. Lots of pretty solid lines. Where's Earl though? Oh here he is. Oh god already his rhymes are so intricate... the way he gets like a little off-beat cadence so naturally. I feel like I can't even process what he's saying the first time just cause the rhythm is so attention-getting. Okay cool. Good intro sort of thing. A
Haha I like the intro this, classic Earl sort of subject. "Gramma's passing", aw geez this is gonna be a sad album, I knew that. This beat is AWESOME... feels like something DOOM'd do by sampling some old cartoon. "I'm Clark Gable/I'm not stable"... wow this beat is SOMETHING ELSE. and the modulation on this spoken bridge is cool... and lol describing my demands of Earl pretty well. Wow the flow on this second verse is INTENSE. fast stuff isn't Earl's typical style but man he nails it here. Wait is this Vince Staples? Their voices are similar. If so good job Vince. Good job everyone that was great. S
3. "20 Wave Caps"
Domo Genesis on that Ghostface/Action Bronsen flow. I'm okay with it. This beat is wonky as hell I can feel it getting caught in my head already... I love that sort of bouncy arhythm. I love how hyped I am to hear Earl on every track lol. that probably won't go away. "pattycaking with mannequins", lol. "eyes glued to a gluteus maximus" classic DOOMesque line. "I'ma dip i know you musta had it with my rude ass" lol what a great closing line. A+
Mr. Big Mainstream Success Frank Ocean up on this one. Good for him/OF in general. Earl on some real talk shit here. The beat is really flowy and smooth. "This is painfully honest/and when I say it I vomit" well there it is right there. "I play for dollar incentive" aahaha too good. I love the drums on this album, that electric guitar is interesting too. Stuff about giving up pot interesting. There's Frank, he isn't singing which is interesting. I like this style though. I love how the beat switched up too. Frank drops "faggot" I feel like... umm.. signifies something about... contextualizing PC language. Difficult question in the dual question of OF/FO. "What good is west coast weather if you're bipolar?" an interesting question. I like Earl doubling up on some of these lines, their voices sound great together. Oooh cool outro. A
Ahhh this is the menacing sort of beat OF engrossed me with so much at first. "If not a synonym of menace, forget it" ahhh yes funny coincidence. This flow is genuinely unnerving. "Sweatshirt, nigga", dropping the tag. Oh god these trading lines, the way the beat switches up, this is really impressive. I can't even process this, these lines are so dense with cleverness. The minimal drums on this are so well done. "Rawer than a skinned knee cap on the black top", wow that image is really powerful for some reason, so understandable I guess. So real. I love this hook, love love love. Is this the first hook on the album? Is this Vince or Casey Veggies? Man I don't remember what many OF guys voices sound like anymore. Sandwiches references so I guess Vince. "Tools hit like pool sticks the way I cue shit" haha sick. I love this style of verses that go in for longer than 16, gives them so much more "oomph" and they always nail the sort of "switch" into continuing longer than you expect. "Like it's nothing cause it's nothing bitch" S+
This was a single I heard like five hundred times, it's really addictive. The beat is definitive Earl. The lyrics are painfully honest and jawdropping clever. Maybe I just like this track so much because I've heard it so many times, and when I've heard the rest of the album that many times, I'll consider this just average... haha that would be so amazing. I wouldn't even be surprised. This track is just solid in every regard though. Nothing extraneous. "Something sinister to it/pendulum swinging slower than degenerate moving", that's such a cool image. Oooh and a new outro, an instrumental jam sorta thing... haha this is pretty cool, I like it. Really swingy, and those muted vocal sounds near the end, yeah, very cool. *
Tyler popping in here. Haha those opening lines, so good, Taco Bell rules. Tyler can really go in sometimes... sometimes he has a verse that I'm like "eh" but when he goes like, Earl-mode, he does really well. They sound so good together. These lines are pretty funny, typical Tyler mixture of self-loathing, shocking pop culture stuff, "That was all the sherm I was burning a little while ago" damn why are rappers talking about this stuff so much? Earl comes in SO WELL there, "shimmy through the swamp, follow me through the foxholes", haha cool. This beat is nice too I don't think I mentioned that. Oh god the end of this verse is just insane, that flow is crazy next level. S-
"I feel like the Tom Sawyer for real niggas" haha. This beat is that sinister outerspace sorta thing. "Big baby Jesus". And then what the hell is going on here, what was that? Earl coming on with a really strong flow over a really weird beat, Paul Mooney reference cool haha. "Buckshot cover the whole torso like a parka do", something about Marmaduke, crazy, how does he come up with this stuff? He's like a rhyme hydra. This style of flow near the end there is not what I expect from Earl, I feel like he can do anything. This is just generally a crazy song. "Well, alright, OK, if that's how you truly feel about it then." A+
Oh man what is this... cryptic shit. This beat is... insane asylum sort of stuff... like what you find on creepy webpages. Is this like an instrumental transition song? I love those... DOOM was always good about those. This is really cool too. The way those drums can give such structure and also feel so disconnected and abstract. Sounds like a James Brown sample. A+
10. "Uncle Al"
I have an Uncle Al. He doesn't sound like this. Earl going in immediately and I don't think going out in these 50 seconds. This beat is like the beat version of the previous song with some of those... space... violin... feel... I dunno how to describe it. Cool. A
Hey Mac Miller, I've been listening to him a ton lately. His flow here is crazy... I love those samples behind him. The modulation on his voice is cool, "I hope the Based God hear my prayers", so many good lines here, and oh man he flips up the flow... this is crazy. "I'm Ron Burgandy/Mixed with Hercules", crazy, Mac is such a good rapper. Earl goes even lower... of course. Slow and low shit. "I'm shouting 'I don't fuck with you', cause I don't", makes sense. "Real nigga from the start till the casket shut", these lines all work so well, such a solid confident sort of flow. I love this structure of just two long verses. I love this sort of flow at the end, the "carry over to the next line" shit. Hypnotic. "Blaring Gil Scott Heron" cool. *
Feat RZA. So cool, WU TANG. What the hell wow this beat is SO COOL. "99 problems gone in that one joint", cool, Earl goes first on this song cause you gotta respect the RZA. So cool how legendary almost every Wu Tang member is... crazy to think they were in the same group. "I fuck the freckles off your face bitch" haha classic, I like how Earl like handed off that line. Is this RZA produced too? Feels like it, has that vague Eastern feel, sweet. Is RZA gonna do a proper verse or just that stuff on the hook though? Doesn't really matter Earl is killing this. "We can do this shit all night" yeah we sure can. S
I heard this single a bunch too. Great song, Tyler bridges the two emotional extremes of the album well but what's really impressive is how unnecessary it is... both sides feel real and engrossing. As far as this song goes, I mean, Whoa sums it up pretty well. Earl goes so far in on his verse, Tyler's hook/bridge sorta thing is really cool too with the G-O-L-F-W-A-N-G with the piano and stuff. Earl's second verse is EVEN BETTER somehow? I mean I can't even quote any of these lines, just look 'em all up, that whole verse is insane. This is the evolution of OF at its purest. *
Western sort of intro thing here? Hmm. "suh-suh-suh-suh-suh"... this beat is super interesting... He sounds hella hoarse here indeed. This slow burner beat style is really effective, very few rappers could pull that off... and oh man these heavy chords coming in here, and the way his verse sort of intensifies... this is some really subtle and sublime stuff, I am impressed. Really confessional sort of subject matter. Early Man! "Eating like the kids when you take em off Ritalin", "Sweeping up the glass and using it as a garnish", this is such a cool intersection of the confessional and the clever. I like whoever is sampled here, very effective. And the way stuff is building at the end aaaaahhh i was hoping it would do this exact thing, this intensification... outro really well done. S+
Haha I love this beat, soulful... is this like Earl's "Bound 2"? lol. Domo's verse is really solid here, he's flowing really well. I love the modulation and the way they add it in... Adding modulation mid flow like that is one of my favorite things nowadays, and slow downs, sick. "I'd like to send a shout to the fathers that didn't raise us", man, crazy... This is intense... Getting deep and slow here... shit I love this, such an addictive sound. This outro is sweet too... good finish... feels very melancholy, and yet... searching? lol I dunno. S+
That was pretty much what I was expecting
Earl raps really well with his friends over a variety of beats. I'm really excited for how much this album is obviously going to grow on me as I unpack the lyrics and catch more lines and get the beats even more stuck in my head. I love that there's no section on this album that I want to skip because it's too boring or whiny, Earl's greatest gift I think is that he knows that emotionally impacting stuff can also be exciting rhythmically... so many rappers are like "this is the sad part: I gotta stop rapping and say it nice and slow". I feel like I'll be listening to this for a long time to come... or at least until the second Old comes out.