Much speculation surrounds Earl Sweatshirt's Doris, which will be his first record since the 15-year old left jaws slacked from the audacity of skill mixed with a passivity towards ultraviolence. Will Earl undergo significant transformations after spending time abroad in a youth facility in Samoa? Or how about the guidance he received from Tupac's former spirit animal Leila Steinberg? What do we make of the seemingly fractioned state of the Odd Future posse, as Earl strikes out on his own under Tan Cressida (via Columbia)?
While "Whoa" needed less Tyler, "Hive" is aligned with the lingering darkness of his eponymous debut and the visuals of previously released Doris single "Chum". Let's tuck away the questions of maturity in Doris until the album release, in order to revel in the opening lines of "Hive", which confirm the deliquent was not compromised in Samoa. Earl's father might have guffawed to hear his son rap of Live Poets with "promise Heron I'll put my fist up after I get my dick sucked", but this is the Earl Sweatshirt who keeps us in spit takes, choking on our food, and pullin back the scroller to get a second listen to his intricate verses. Revisiting an old formula is often frowned upon, but Vince Staples and Earl updating their "epaR" track as "Hive" is more of a burial of the past than a reunion.
Earl Sweatshirt's Doris is out August 20 on Tan Cressida/Columbia.