Retroactive: “Earl”

Incredibly rude, nauseatingly brilliant and unbelievably crass, a young Earl Sweatshirt dropped into our consciousness in 2010 with this video:

Without a doubt, it’s the most disgusting music video I’ve ever seen.  I was repulsed but I also couldn’t get enough.  Through the muck, you could see the talent seeping through.  Sporting an incredible flow akin to his hero MF DOOM, Earl boldly announced himself to the music world.  Like a young Eminem, Earl was fearless.  Coming at all enemies of Odd Future vehemently and without hesitation.  This first mixtape is admittedly a troubling re-listen.  Earl raps about rape, uses the word faggot and generally has no respect for anyone on this mixtape.  He also raps his ass off.  I kept having to remind myself that he was 16 when he recorded this.  The talent is what gave this mixtape such a cult following almost in spite of the subject matter. That and the Samoa situation.  Shortly after the Earl video and the release of the mixtape, Earl was gone.  Sent abroad by his mom. That cult following now revered him as a rap god, screaming “Free Earl” at the top of their lungs at every OF show. Begging him to come back.  We studied his mixtape after he was gone, waiting for the day he would return and claim his spot among the top lyricists in the game.


Since this mixtape is from 2010 and released for free, it’s not on Spotify.  You can download here: I also uploaded the tracks below with the breakdown:

1. thisniggaugly: intro with Tyler and Taco speaking, clowning on Earl; Tyler says “trust me guys, he can rap, just say somethin'” which bleeds right into…

2. Earl: Earl’s introduction to the world is harsh, filled with curse words and incredibly dense with his rhyme scheme; effortlessly weaving words together to create a semblance of an introduction to the destruction he is about to bring.

3. Couch: first collaboration between Tyler and Earl; starts off lightheartedly but quickly devolves to Tyler and Earl trying to one up each other with horrifying rhymes about rape until Tyler finally “Killed him (Earl) on his own track.”


4. Kill: basically a reply to Tyler claiming he killed him on the previous song; Earl also comes at any and all challengers putting on a straight lyrical display that touches on everything from Miley Cyrus to Mrs. Claus.

5. wakeupfaggot: skit with Earl’s mom waking him up; bleeds right into…

6. Luper: This song is much closer to his modern work in that it contains the hints of depression and vulnerability he feels mixed in with his impeccable flow; he also delivers heart-wrenching lines like “I’d pick my heart up off the floor and put it in my chest then”; the second verse then devolves into violence leading into…

7. epaR: probably the most appalling of all the songs on this album (spell “epaR” backwards); however, its a fascinating early look into two of the best current lyricists in the game: Earl and Vince Staples; both spazz out on their verses delivering horrifying raps about rape and violence but the talent is overwhelming between them; its also the first collaboration between the two showing a chemistry with each other that they have carried into their careers.

8. Moonlight: creepy, haunting song that sees Earl uses a deeper voice and features Hodgy Beats; “Have you ever danced with the devil in the pale moonlight?” is a line said by the Joker in Batman.


9. Pigions: another Tyler feature, works as a kind of OF theme song; Earl flexes his lyrical muscles all over this track which leads Tyler to proclaim: “Told you he can rap, dumb motherfucka.”

10. Stapleton: this was always one of the hardest songs to listen to because of how violent it is; It’s hard to ignore how well Earl raps on this though; one of only two songs not produced by Tyler on the mixtape and the only one produced by a non-OF member.

Bonus cuts:

Earl’s new album, Some Rap Songs out Friday!


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