November 2, 2012 8:35 PM   Subscribe

Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt (previously) has released his first solo single since returning from Samoa. The confessional song by the 18 year-old rapper details the troubled period in his life that lead to his stay at boarding school.

The song contains some swears, though it's nothing graphic.
posted by chrchr (19 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
The beat is innovative and cool, and wears out its welcome less than a minute in... but it's not like Earl pays any attention to it. He lowers his head, and bulls forward: but the flow is very weirdly dated for someone so young, leaden and shrugging in its artlessness.

This is a shame, as the lyrics are a punch across the jaw, in a bad good way.
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:03 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Sounds like an adult now and more like Tyler on Yonkers than he did on Drop(be warned, that track seems especially designed to offend Metafilter). The piano is back from Luper. I like it even though I don't like internal rhyming or assonance in rap, makes it sound too poetry slam to me. As for the lyrics, what rapper doesn't have a song about how much they hate/miss their father.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:17 PM on November 2, 2012

I keep trying really hard to get all of the Odd Future stuff, and I just don't. Earl Sweatshirt's definitely my favorite of the group... he's no so much on the blatant, unrepentant, unironic misogyny, violence, and intolerance as the other guys. Yes, they can all turn a pretty good rhyme sometimes, but even there I don't see how they're anything all that special. They consistently fall into the trap that this track skewers itself on. The lyrics and delivery have nothing whatsoever to do with the track. He could just as well be rapping over a washing machine load.

I guess it riles me up a little because I'm not getting it AND they seem to genuinely be terrible people. I keep asking, because I'd like to appreciate what people say is happening here... Why is this good?
posted by cmoj at 9:29 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Golfwang! There is a new generation of young guns and OF kind of led the way.
posted by cashman at 9:34 PM on November 2, 2012 [1 favorite]

Well they really are a specific niche sub genre that goes back to Getto Boys, Gravediggaz and Brotha Lynch Hung that deal with a special kind of psychological terror and extreme horror movie violence. nightmare is a pretty good example. Some rappers are especially musical, some aren't. The backing track can be the soundtrack to a movie scene not necessarily accompaniment. It is also ok not to like it.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:42 PM on November 2, 2012

I don't think it's fair to dump all of Odd Future into the horrorcore bucket. Definitely Tyler the Creator leans that way, even though he vociferously denies it. There's nothing horrific about Frank Ocean though unless you're frightened of beautiful singing and smart songwriting. (By the way, Ocean's album features another post-Samoa verse from Earl Sweatshirt).

And I think the new Earl Sweatshirt is trying to put it behind him as well. That's why I thought this was worth posting. Earl's changed from a 15 year-old precocious potty mouth with a penchant for violent and disturbing humor into a relatively mature artist reflecting on his own life experience.

For me the fascination with Odd Future is that they're some talented kids taking up powerful tools that are kinda newly available to their generation. OF is an art movement based on social media: tumblr blogs, twitter, and self-made videos posted to youtube. It ain't always pretty, and it's definitely okay not to like it, but as a phenomenon it's pretty interesting, and ultimately, this is the way independent music will be done from here out.
posted by chrchr at 10:20 PM on November 2, 2012 [9 favorites]

and ultimately, this is the way independent music will be done from here out.

posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 10:25 PM on November 2, 2012

I take your point about Frank Ocean but not all horrorcore is The Coathanga. Geto Boys is intensely psychological and personal and I tend to feel Novacane deals with the same issues, crippling self doubt and emotional "numbness". And nostalgia/ultra is very personal and revelatory in the way the rest of OF tends to be. He definitely fits in.

Speaking of social media rappers and horrorcore da fuq?
posted by Ad hominem at 10:58 PM on November 2, 2012

I am new to Earl Sweatshirt as of this post, but I see him in the tradition of MC Paul Barman, rapping about stuff that is as much designed to shock and amuse as anything, kind of an unbridled Id persona (Barman is clearly having fun, I hope Sweatshirt is too).
posted by zippy at 12:21 AM on November 3, 2012

Should I try and turn this thread into a discussion of Ana Tijoux instead? I know, I know, every time a thread about Odd Future comes up, pxe's gotta hype the greatness of Ana Tijoux. She's doing a lot of the new media stuff that OF are (her Twitter feed was called out by a high-ranking Chilean government official), but her raps are explosive protest songs instead of diatribes about rape and murder. Plus, her flow is just sick, and her production is really interesting.
posted by pxe2000 at 5:11 AM on November 3, 2012 [8 favorites]

I feel like ofwgkta's sound is much more spare when compared with Ana Tijoux, though. Those songs were awesome, pxe2000, but they were very different musically in my opinion. So much richer.

I like how weary Earl sounds on this new track, and I quite liked the beat. The hook was fairly interesting, too - different, and I enjoyed his vocal fry on its last iteration. You're right, Ad hominem - he sounds like an adult now, for better or for worse. I am curious to see where he goes next; it seems like he's still figuring out his style. I do like his rhyme schemes and flow, but I always have.

My favorite OF song is probably Mike G's Forest Green, which isn't horrorcore at all - but I am a sucker for clapping in songs.
posted by k8lin at 6:50 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

I hadn't thought of the connection to Gravediggaz, but I can see it. Gravediggaz is one of my old favorites and, thinking about what's been said about the track being a sort of movie soundtrack, the more theatrical Gravediggaz tracks are my favorite (Diary of a Madman).

Also I like viewing them as interesting on the level of them being so young and having the tools to create this stuff and get this kind of exposure. I can by happy that this is the next step beyond Soulja Boy.

Still, it makes me uncomfortable that I don't get the sense of play from their darkest stuff that I do from Gravediggaz.

I do like that Frank Ocean song, though. That gets grouped in my head with Kid Cudi.
posted by cmoj at 9:46 AM on November 3, 2012

I am new to Earl Sweatshirt as of this post, but I see him in the tradition of MC Paul Barman

posted by lkc at 11:27 AM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

Still, it makes me uncomfortable that I don't get the sense of play from their darkest stuff that I do from Gravediggaz.

Gravediggaz had Prince Paul and RZA. They also had a pretty overt NGE influence, as far as I can tell OF are nihilists (except for Frank Ocean, who is vaguely religious). Say what you want about the tenets of NGE, at least its and ethos.
posted by Ad hominem at 4:52 PM on November 3, 2012 [1 favorite]

In terms of sheer shock value I think there are a handful of rap songs about having sex with corpses. Mind of a Lunatic and the above Coathanga Trilogy. OF are pretty tame in comparison, they are closer to Eminem with the "I might kill myself at any minute" stuff.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:25 PM on November 3, 2012

I thought we all agreed "horrorcore" wasn't a real thing. There were like 3 actual horrorcore groups. Gravediggaz, Flatlinerz, and then like whatever random song you could find to play around Halloween.
posted by cashman at 7:30 PM on November 3, 2012

Ok, but you gotta admit there is a certain "I'm a psychopath" strain in rap. A lot of people have dabbled in it. There are even mainstream versions like Gangstas Paradise. Maybe I am casting too wide a net, including all rappers that rap about their versions psychological issues. I'm not trying to be reductive, I also don't think OF is as cartoonish as some horrorcore.
posted by Ad hominem at 8:11 PM on November 3, 2012

you gotta admit there is a certain "I'm a psychopath" strain in rap.

Oh yeah, I mean one of my favorite songs to start was assassins (geto boys). I mean that song was really one of the gorier songs then, and even gorier than most stuff today. I just remember horrorcore was going to be this big thing, and poof it was gone. Which, by the way, have we officially buried tumblr wave yet? We have? Yay!
posted by cashman at 8:26 PM on November 3, 2012

There are all those ICP affiliates, Dark Lotus etc. but really, how could rap about fucking corpses ever get popular. People like happy, uncomplicated stuff. I feel like most of these YouTube rappers are being overshadowed by riff raff right now. He is the rap game's lady gaga.
posted by Ad hominem at 9:14 PM on November 3, 2012

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