Earl-Sweatshirt-Doris1

The anticipation for Earl Sweatshirt’s major label solo debut Doris has been enormous and while we’ve gotten a few excellent views of what’s to come, the complete package is finally hear for us to stream before its release next week. What’s life post-Free Earl really like? Does this live up to all the hype? Were the first look tracks the best or are there better? Should Frank Ocean release a rap album? Stream it here and let’s hash this out in the comments.

Comments (64)
  1. Interesting that EARL takes second verse on the first track of his debut album.

  2. Blocked on my browser, saying that it’s “Pornography.” So it must be really good.

  3. Hidden due to low comment rating. Click here to see

  4. I feel like the guest verses ruin what should’ve been (and is in the case of most of Earl’s verses here) an introspective and insular experience.

    Though on second though they could work to ground the album, whereas Earl is concerned with his experience, and there are other things happening outside of that.

    • Same thought here. While I feel I could have done without some of the guest verses, I’m kind of happy they’re there. I don’t think a 15 track Earl album would work with just Earl.

      • Ultimately while Earl is – and I have no qualms calling him this, tho it might be stretching – a genius, with a singular style (a style already inspiring imitators – who don’t even come close *GLARES AT MAC MILLER*) he is not a good songwriter, or at least one to elongate his ideas into fully conceived songs, most of the songs on his first release were 1-2 minutes long and the ones solely featuring him here are around 2:00 (save for Chum, tho that’s due to the extended outro). At straight spitting he’s masterful, (and even though I hate talking about what an album could’ve been… a simple 12 track album with 2 minute straight spitting songs and maybe 3 guest spots would’ve been great).

        The spittin villain,

        -Sloth

        • pretty much nailed it. one of the best rappers out there right now, but he doesn’t really write “songs”… just raps. that’s pretty much my gripe with all of OF, which isn’t saying much because i do like em. it’s why oldie worked so well.

  5. “the complete package is finally HERE for us to stream” – Homophones are fun!

  6. First impression: Doris > Yeezus

  7. really? I dunno. i’m digging doris a lot, but lately i’ve been in the mood for some abrasive, hard hitting rap. like yeezus. or that one verse from that one big sean song that everyone is talking about. earl is one tongue twisting, sleep talking motherfucker though. molasses beat is like perfect for summer

    • In yeezus’ defense I hate its lyrics, the beats are awesome but I find a lot of the lyrics cringe-worthy.

    • run the jewels, baby.

      I’ve come to the conclusion that despite p4k’s rating, Yeezus is not good. i don’t know anyone can listen to “i am a god” – i just spoke to jesus / he said what up yeezus / i said shit i’m chillin’ / trying to stack these millions. What a boring fucking conversation. Shut up, assholes.

      • I think the reason I personally like Yeezus so much is that the stupid lyrics just work for me. I mean, I can’t justify it really for anyone but myself, but dumb lyrics like the ones on I Am a God really stick out for me. Kanye throughout that album twists and turns from serious to ridiculous, and I find his lack of self awareness (Or maybe he’s totally self aware) to be incredibly FASCINATING.

        Yeah, Run the Jewels and (so far) Earl have proven they can rap circles around Kanye, but I still really love Yeezus. I might be in the minority, but whatever.

        • I came on here to say how much I love this album, but then I see this.

          fistofan, don’t you DARE apologize for liking Yeezus. Everyone(including myself) was on Ye’s nuts in the Yeezus comment party, you aren’t in the minority.

      • Yeezus is an average to good album with some really amazing moments, chiefly the outro to New Slaves and the beat drop in Blood on the Leaves. The worst part about the album is that it could have been great. There is spottiness and squandered potential all over this album haunting it like a Hessian Trooper on Ichabod Crane.

        I will proudly say Yeezus is still in my rotation. Maybe I’m biased since I relate to it personally. A girl I was with also got kicked out of the club by David Grutman, but you know what, I brought her back in…

      • Kanye is the only person who could get away with shit like that, though.

    • You could check out A$AP Ferg’s Trap Lord…. The streaming post for it on Stereogum is completely vacant even though its been up for a few days. The album isn’t perfect but the first half definitely has some gems on it.

      I don’t think anyone was expecting Doris to have any bangers or hard, mangey rap verses.

  8. Just finished the whole thing. It’s not a show stopping game changing record, but it’s really great.

    Also, OH MY GOD KNIGHT IS REALLY AWESOME

    • I take it you also loved “New Wu” from Only Built 4 Cuban Linx… Pt. II when RZA sampled the same Magictones song.

      Seriously though, I was looking forward to that song because of your ALL CAPS excitement, but then I couldn’t even hear the lyrics over the Wu-Tang Clan sounding off in my head.

      Don’t think I’m typing this because EARL can’t use a sample that Wu used. Far from it. But if you ARE going to use a sample similar to another song, just try and make sure yours is better than the other one. Or else everyone is just going to keep hearing the better song when they hear that sample.

      “Tell a friend, it’s that symbol again, that W, comen’ through”

      • OH YEAH! Shit, I forgot about that song when I was listening. I knew it was familiar. Cuban Linx was my shit a couple of years ago.

        Either way, I still really enjoy Knights. It’s probably my favorite non-single track on the album.

  9. Well, this is better than Wolf, that’s for damn sure.

  10. not gonna lie, this sucks.

  11. Earl is, just, really great. the subtle and obvious hints of Odd Future up and down the track listing are the best delivery OF efforts yet. this record was worth the wait.

  12. First impressions, Chum and Guild still sound great, Molasses as well. But on the whole, it’s a heavy listen. He has this heavy, rhyme-obsessed rapping style which can have great results (I love the rhyming on Guild) but more often than not leads to nonsensical lyrics – or perhaps more to the point – lyrics which make no impression at all. On first listen anyway. Honestly I did not really zone in on the lyrics or story in any song. And I have to stress the “rhyme-obsessed” part. I guess it’s integral to how he writes.

    I’m just giving my honest first impressions (I might come back with my tail between my legs later on). I’m not a rap expert, I listen to a couple of rap albums a year, usually the ones Pitchfork give BNM to. But I love Kendrick Lamar’s album, and more recently I’ve been listening to Ka’s The Night’s Gambit – which made a much stronger impression on me on first listen, I was taking in the lyrics, stopping to check the titles of the songs.

    The guest rappers/guest verses made no impression on me whatsoever. Neither did the actual music apart from on Molasses or the album standout, Chum.

  13. “Whoa” is pretty great.

  14. I predict a 78% on MetaCritic.

    So much talent, some really great tracks, but too many features and non-hitting formless beats. Lookin forward to a second listen.

  15. This is an album that really deserves multiple listens. I’m always surprised when people form any opinion after just one listen to an album. It’s usually pretty worthless and more so reflects the amount of hype surrounding the album, for example RAM was blasted on first listen because people were kind of confused and on the other end Centipede Hz was regarded as a classic in the listening party but hasn’t really maintained that status. I think we should have these comment party’s a week after the album comes out/leaks so that people can digest the album and form some solid opinions and avoid all these gut reactions.

    • I still freakin’ love Centipede Hz. I guess I was the only one.

      But, to counter this, I don’t think every album needs to get a week for us to digest. Some albums are tough listens that confound on first listen, but others kind of stay the same. I mean, when I decided to give Yeezus a week until I reviewed it on my blog, I still had the same exact opinion of it from the first day. I think it really depends on the person/album. Plus, initial reactions are a lot of fun.

      • I like it a lot too. Im more just talking about how people were going crazy (including me) after the online video stream went up and saying things like ALBUM OF THE DECADE and such.

    • Centipede Hz is the album of the decade, etc.

  16. Doris and Watching Movies with the Sound Off are like sister albums.

    • Yeah…but it’s like those movies about two talented sisters where one is super talented and the other is always jealous and less talented and it causes great dramatic tension.

      (MWSO Is the less talented sister)

  17. Does anyone know which track Flying Lotus produced? (If any…I heard he was going to.)

  18. Don’t really understand the criticisms here: “a genius with a singular style”; “one of the best rapers out there right now”; “so much talent, great tracks”–these are all quotes from otherwise mediocre reviews upthread. I’m not sure what more you could want in a hip-hop album in 2013 than Doris.

    Also, a criticism of his “heavy ‘rhyme-obsessed’ style”–what does this even mean? What were Kool G Rapp and Nas and Rakim obsessed with? Synthesizer patches?

    My kingdom for an eyeroll emoticon. Yall are ridiculous.

    • In my defense, I said I was no rap expert!

      When I said “heavy rhyme-obsessed” I was talking about the way his sentences tumble slowly out with a lot of words rhyming, e.g.:

      “The description doesn’t fit, if not a synonym of menace, then forget it
      In turn, these critics and interns admitting the shit spit
      It just burn like six furnaces writ it
      I affixed learning them digits, and simultaneously
      “Dispelling one-trick-pony myths, isn’t he?”

      Ok maybe “obsessed” isn’t a good way. But I would describe those sentences as being rhyme-heavy!

    • Toth, you’re forgetting a word somewhere in your first paragraph; it doesn’t make sense.

      Let me address my quote you..sort of.. included. “So much talent, [some really] great tracks” (you misquoted me). I was saying it’s an uneven album. It is, and just cus you can name drop a couple old rappers doesn’t change that.

      Nas was also lyrical but there’s way more songwriting and solid ideas in Illmatic. A “rhyme-obsessed style” is an extremely apt way to describe Earl. He can’t go more than three straight words without threading them all together with assonance. This puts more emphasis on sound and less on lyrical content, and just plain gets old after awhile. That being said, is also Earl’s “rhyme obsession” is also his strongest asset. But again, it’s still an accurate descriptor.

      I hope you’re done rolling your eyes, and starting to come down off your high horse.

      • Disciple, you fucked up your second to last paragraph right after calling out Toth.

        Seriously though, Toth’s comment is the equivalent of the kid in the back of English class who, despite having no original ideas to put forth throughout a discussion, squeaks out at its end, “Well what’s really MISSING from this discussion…” or “What the rest of my surrounding plebians overlooked about this text is…”

        Don’t be condescending, especially if you want us to read your “think” pieces and inane opinions.

        • Harsh. Let me clarify: I guess what I’m saying is that maybe lofty concepts are not a requirement for me where hip-hop is concerned. I mean, I love Illmatic and Ready To Die as much as the next guy, but I love Enter The Wu-Tang (36 Chamberz), Hard To Earn, and Enta Da Stage just as much. Not every album from this (classic) era transcended the prevailing model of ‘two or three bangers + a bunch of skits and filler,’ but many did. For me, Earl’s abilities as an MC – his flow, his voice, his phrasing, his lyrics – are more than enough.

          • No doubt, I know I was harsh. I wasn’t tryna be a dick. Actually I absolutely was, but only to counter percieved/actual dickishness on your part.

            Your thoughts are very well backed up here. I will take your words into

            I know you have a playful tone on this site and try to keep shit civil AND critical, a tough combo. I apologize, but know my words only came out of disappointment that this isn’t a 36 Chambers when Earl clearly has the talent to make something at least close to as good.

          • *consideration during my next listen. Seriously.

            Also, to respond to the substance of your point, I don’t think the fact that Earl doesn’t have lofty concepts on this album takes away from it’s quality.

            I see what you’re saying that being less single-centric is a refreshing approach to rap, but I’d argue that it’s not that refreshing, and that other underground rappers have been taking an all-tracks-are-important approach and created better, less-hypes albums just within the last few years. XXX is an example, and it wasn’t even an album… Shut Up Dude is an example, and it wasn’t even an album…. maybe these guys’ mixtapes are better than their albums? lol

            But considering there’s been a verdant underground that eschews the 2-or-3-bangers-plus-skits/filler formula for quite some time, this – to me, on first listen – just seemed a sub par example of this, at least according to how much talent Earl has. Basically, if you look at Tom’s review of Wolf, I think you could apply the same criticisms to this album.

            All that being said, I’m hoping to be on your side after my next listen.

      • I’m still digesting it too, and I’m looking forward to spending some time with an actual physical copy. Also, I’m all for lively debates here, and, my original post WAS somewhat inflammatory, so no need to apologize for merely answering the bell. :)

        • ah, I gotta stop posting while the tv is on. I go comma crazy.

          • Hellllll yeah bro. Guess inflammatory content comes with the ‘Gum territory ;)

            And comma craziness, it happens.

          • Ait so after listening many times I wanted to update. Definitely have been taken aback by Earl’s lyricism and delivery. Premium off-kilter rhymes with a combo of technical precision and playful inventiveness. Really state of the art shit written with the mind and meter of a poet.

            When he starts goin off on rhyme scheme digressions it’s like a math student slightly adjusting age old algorithms and equations just to prove his prowess, kind of fuck with your expectations, and make something wholly original.

            That being said, I still don’t think it’s a great album. I don’t mind that a lot of the shit has experimental structure, and love that he included instrumental interludes. But I still think it’s real uneven with some awful track flow, and that it would benefited from more cohesiveness production-wise. Earl sounds so incredible over S/T.. would be nice to hear him over more slow syrupy stompers. But it’s like you got the Mac Miller section, the RZA section, the OF section, and the OF affiliate section of the album. And they all clumsily bump into eachother rather than form any sequence.

            Love some of the weird stuff he’s done with hooks but I found myself thinking while listening to the album, “has Odd Future released a single catchy or memorable song in their tenure?”

          • *S/T = Pre

            Also, maybe it is a great album, maybe just not legendary. Like Chum is still so incredible, chill-inducing.

            And the production’s sick for the most part, with some Wu and West Coast references I really liked. Tho oddly enough RZA’s track has no Wu references, it’s a singular track with RZA’s new production style, don’t think that one shoulda been on the album. Just the lack of an overall vibe was my complaint wit the beats.

            And Burgundy is just such a bad track, and it’s the second song on the album! Pre’s great, 20 Wave Caps has a siiick Earl verse (take or leave Domo), and Sunday has it’s charm… but Pre->Burgundy->20 Wave Caps->Sunday is a bad, sluggish way to start the album. Minor complaints like that the allow me to begrudge Earl the “classic” stamp lol. But the kid’s a maaaaaaajor force.

  19. err, I obviously meant ‘rappers,’ but I’ll concede a Freudian slip in this case. ;)

  20. the criticism of the lack of songwriting is valid- but this is a incredible display of mad-at-your-dad raps and weird interesting production. It’s not really like anything else out and that’s refreshing.

    It’s not all perfect (not feeling the tyler or Mac miller tracks) but any album with Burgandy, Sunday, Hive, Chum, Centurion, 523, Uncle Al, Molasses and Knight on it is a pretty solid record to me!

    Also, Vince Staples is probably the best MC I’ve heard in years and this could be the making of a Ghost and Rae-like partnership.

  21. Haven’t listened to the whole thing yet, was about half way through and got distracted by this:

    http://pitchfork.com/news/51934-listen-captain-murphy-aka-flying-lotus-earl-sweatshirt-and-viktor-vaughn-aka-doom-team-for-between-villains/

    ohmigod. It’s like this song was designed by committee to include everything I like. If it had a Chance the Rapper verse I would’ve probably had a joy-aneurysm.

  22. Earl Sweatshirt is the Louie C.K. of Hip-hop. No frills, depressing at times, but extremely skilled with a microphone.

  23. This is a decent album and a solid debut. Earl definitely has potential and there are moments when he reaches it (especially in Chum and the last several tracks). But he’s not a genius. Get real.

  24. Kinda disappointed after one listen. His rapping is great, but… I feel like he hasn’t written any songs here. The tracks lack melody, dynamics, structure, etc. the things that make rap songs great. The whole thing is a little shapeless and mushy.

    • See above. But I do wonder how dynamics and melody are ‘things that make rap songs great.’ You feel these songs lack the appropriate crescendos and 12-tone tunefulness that you, for some reason, commonly associate with hip-hop?

      • I just think dynamics, like breaks and drops, take rap beats to the next level. I feel like the beats on Doris kinda just plod along in one mode. And melody, though certainly not necessary, felt especially lacking. But again this is just a first impression.

  25. Actually, I think this should get a best rap album nomination. But with GKMC already out and Drake’s album upcoming, I won’t hold my breath.

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