Earl Sweatshirt first attracted attention with the 2010 music video for his track “Earl,” in which he and a few friends take drugs and skate around LA until they fall down bleeding. He was 16 at the time and on the brink of fame, but he suddenly vanished, not to reemerge until 2012. On “Doris,” his first album since his return, he does not abandon twisted imagery or dexterous tongue twisters, but he adds a confessional layer. He raps about missing his father and struggling with relationships. Frank Ocean joins on “Sunday” with a verse about his attraction to men — a welcome step forward for the genre. Sweatshirt is a member of the Odd Future collective, and other members, such as Tyler, The Creator, show up on several tracks. Sweatshirt uses jazzy beats that let his rapping take center stage. And wordplay, on tracks like “Hive,” is the reason you should listen to this album — it’s the work of a talented rapper who takes palpable pleasure in the possibilities of language. (Out now)Benjamin Soloway
Album Review | HIP-HOP
Earl Sweatshirt, ‘Doris’
By Benjamin Soloway| Globe Correspondent August 26, 2013
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