Earl was always the biggest enigma of OFWGKTA. When “Yonkers” dropped and Tyler’s fame exploded, people realized Tyler really wasn’t in this all alone, he had a legitimate group behind him and the whole conglomerate started to get some fame too. Except Earl, who apparently was in Samoa being punished by his mother for being a bad kid. His first mixtape had been released when he was barely 16 and he was out of the country before he could be given his true recognition. So of course his legend just blew up, with the free Earl slogans and murmurings about when he would finally return to give the people what they wanted. Many referred to him as the best rapper in OFWGTKA but not one fan seemed to really know where he even was.
Then, “Oldie” dropped on the OFWGKTA official release of 2012 and there he was, in all of his mysterious glory, with a surprise verse to show us he was back in action. The moment that verse dropped, his first official album was all that could be talked about when OFWGTKA was brought up. So to say that Doris was a hyped release would be an understatement.
His lead singles didn’t wow anybody but when the whole package was presented together, it came across as a much more structured and full product. Earl is a sad guy, and he held nothing back on this album, talking about his father issues, his problems fitting in with racial communities and just the angst of growing up in a single parent household. His frankness about his tough situations made the album feel more relatable than it could have been if he had stuck to the “horror core” raps he was known for. Really anything rapped in Earl’s monologue of a voice sounds important, and he methodically meandered through his raps on this album like he had the rest of eternity to finish what he had to say. He honestly sounds like he’s 45, been through 3 divorces and has kids with each marriage the way his sometimes tired voice can drag through his minimalistic tracks.
Its hard not to talk about the very established rapping persona Earl has as if he has been doing this thing for 15 years. Most of the time, his punk kid side stays very far away from his music and when he relinquishes him self to it all, he changes dramatically. This album is dark and scary at times, but at others it is just a well developed hip hop album with beats that MF Doom would approve of and a relaxed feel that can only come with the utmost confidence.
Doris just isn’t like a normal OFWGKTA release. It doesn’t turn up the way most of their songs do, it doesn’t shock the way most of their lyrics do; it’s a naked look at the life that Earl has lived and his interactions with the world. He stays calm and passively aggressive with his underlying bass driven beats and high pitched synth sounds that were so prominent on the OFWGKTA mixtapes. It takes the aggressiveness from OFWGKTA but with Earl’s emotion it allows it to have its own personal flare. Earl stays being the most mysterious conundrum of the group but after this release his mystery has lessoned quite a bit.