Well this summer has seen its fair share of high profile of hip hop releases, and the latest comes from Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt. Odd Future have achieved worldwide success and acclaim within a ridiculously short amount of time but I’ve never given them a huge amount of time. Earl hasn’t been around recently due to his, much publicised, time spent at a correctional school in Samoa and perhaps thats part of the reason why I haven’t given the collective the time of day. It’s Doris, that has served as my point of entry into the weird yet awesome world of OFWGKTA.
Sweatshirt’s flow is an unusual one. His tone rarely changes, but his pace of delivery is constantly fluctuating and rhymes flow into each other and merge in a unique way that makes Doris one of the most impressive hip hop albums I’ve ever heard. The chilled production with slow beats and very few other elements that loop underneath the vocals help create a laid back and stripped down feel to the record that lets Sweatshirt, and his guests, lyrics take centre stage while still being quietly impressive and understated. There’s not a track on the album that doesn’t contain an element of greatness, all the collaborators bring top performances as well including Tyler, The Creator on two tracks offering his trademark vicious rhymes that really compliment Sweatshirt’s own style. Also making an appearance is RZA on the track Molasses, which provides one of the records catchiest hooks – ‘I’ll fuck the freckles off your face bitch’. Chum and Burgundy give perhaps the most personal lyrics that really give an insight into Sweatshirt and helps ground the record so as a listener you make more of a connection with the artist.
Overall this is simply an incredible achievement. In what can tend to be an over saturated genre Sweatshirt has emerged with a completely unique style and hooks to match. Doris could even be the best hip hop album of the year, even, maybe, ahead of Yeezus, but let’s not get completely ahead of ourselves there is still supposed to be a new Wu-Tang record after all.