Earl Sweatshirt is Not Redy 2 Leave @ Mr. Smalls
Starting with the release of his self-titled album at just 16 years old, Earl Sweatshirt immediately began turning heads for being the youngest and easily one of the tightest rappers in the Odd Future rap collective. After beug indicted into the group at an incredibly young age, Earl launched his first solo music video, titled “Earl,” in July 2010.
The video features Earl and the rest of Odd Future tossing pills, liquor, and other narcotics into a blender. Next they do the unthinkable and down the hallucinogenic smoothie. The video is filled with graphic images of the members tearing out their own teeth, fingernails, and hair while being matched with equally graphic and obscene lyrics from Earl. If you haven’t seen it yet, google warily because the video is exactly as disgusting as it sounds. That’s the point.
Earl raps within a genre known as horrorcore, a subset of rap and hip hop music that plays off the strangely satiating sensation some audience members pull from consuming revolting pictures and lyrics. The genre was a key to the success of 90s hip hop artists such as Dr. Octagon, but had ultimately fallen through the cracks until the surfacing of Odd Future reignited the craze with new vigor. Most notably, when the proto-leader of Odd Future (Tyler, the Creator) ate a cockroach in the music video for his song Yonkers.
After the monumental success of his first album, Earl disappeared from public view when his mother sent him to a school for troubled youths in Samoa. This unannounced disappearance did not go unnoticed by fans of Odd Future. The cause of Earl’s absence quickly led to the launch of a movement known as “Free Earl,” which became the battle cry of Odd Future and fans alike.
Earl returned to the states in 2012, and immediately dove back into the game. His lyrics are just as fast as they were before his disappearance, but his style has become darker. His albums have become personal self-explorations of the psyche, and they have yet to drop the horrorcore aesthetic. His music makes you wonder if what Earl is rapping about is really a gimmick after all, and then it makes you pray that it is.
Earl Sweatshirt will be performing at Mr. Smalls (400 Lincoln Ave, Millvale, PA 15209) with Vince Staples and Remy Banks as part of his Not Redy 2 Leave tour on Saturday, April 4. Doors open at 8PM and tickets are $25. Enter our giveaway below for a chance to win two!
Be there, Free Earl!