Nineteen-year-old hip-hop artist Earl Sweatshirt’s full-length album, “Doris,” can be considered a postmodern feat and has the tendency at times to overshadow the innovative work of his counterpart, Odd Future founder Tyler, The Creator. The stealthy, laid-back beats and rhymes of “Doris” are quietly reminiscent of the chopped-and-screwed era from Austin, Texas, but this young rapper’s wisdom and self-awareness is truly the quality that stands at the forefront of his latest release.
There is a deep level of emotional intelligence and acknowledgment in this album, particularly in the second track, “Burgundy.” He raps candidly about his family and his experience working to complete his album and the balance it took to create and release “Doris.”
“Burgundy” moves seamlessly into the fourth track, “Sunday,” which is a revealing and surprisingly mature love song. Another heart-wrenching track on the album is “Chum,” wherein Sweatshirt speaks about his return from exile at a boarding school in Samoa, where his mother sent him for behavioral problems right after he obtained viable attention and music industry acclaim for his first mixtape, “Earl.” “Hoarse” sports dark guitar riffs and seething musical rhymes that truly express Sweatshirt’s ability to merge vocally and lyrically with any type of beat he his presented with.
“Doris” is elegantly disturbing as Sweatshirt continuously delivers real style and form without ever falling off a beat or straying away from each track’s distinct subject matter. He has the rare ability to get an idea, feeling or general experience across in his songs and has a very unique tone to his style and delivery.
Sweatshirt’s difficult experiences and his relationship with the music industry make “Doris” an album with uncannily dark and strained lyrics. Nonetheless, his delivery is authentic and creative, as is his expression of the irony of life’s situations. The album draws you in more and more with its sensual and gritty beats and the well-thought-out flow from song to song. There isn’t a song that sounds out of place on the track list.
“Doris” features a plethora of notable guests, including RZA; Tyler, The Creator; and Frank Ocean, among others. Every artist delivers on “Doris.” It’s incredible to hear the quality and depth of this very young lyricist. His heart and mind are very tied into his work, and it’s been a really long time since the rap game has seen a true artist who pours so much depth and understanding into his music while almost completely avoiding cliché, shallow lyrics about getting money and being with women.