As a debut, Earl Sweatshirt‘s Doris accomplishes two things: It inaugurates him into a new class of rap stardom. And confirms that everything he does – both as a lyricist and producer – is done so on a razor’s edge. From the outset the wordplay is sharp and the production tight with neither element stepping on the toes of the other. The balance allows Earl to divide his narratives into clear, cohesive fractals. It’s never too much because just when you think you’re zeroing in on him he shoots the focus in an entirely new direction, leaving you with a vivid snapshot of his introverted life. By the end he’s exhausted himself with the honesty of a prize fighter that’s gone 12 rounds. Which is why it works, as he leaves everything in the ring so you can leave him the hell alone outside of it.

Pre

Right from the jump Earl looks to set the pace of the album, languidly floating across the beat without a care in the world. He’s reveling in the sun, and why not? He beat addiction, moved out on his own – with his girl in tow – and made a grip of cash along the way. Not bad for a teenager: [LISTEN]

"Pre"

Burgundy

Carrying around a cloud of dark matter like a boy and his balloon, the always vapid Earl Sweatshirt makes it known that in his world a perpetual downcast is the norm. From the outside it looks like a shit storm, but a part of him understands that that sort of drama makes for excellent theater: [LISTEN]

"Burgundy"

20 Wave Caps

No matter how you do the math, burning through a quarter in under 20 minutes is a lot of weed. But it’s of no consequence because that’s what makes Earl tick. He’s brash, shamelessly self-deprecating, and as indulgent as can be – all the ingredients needed to make a great lyricist: [LISTEN]

"20 Wave Caps"

Sunday

Earl examines the type of dysfunction that can occur when you’ve got one person who’s passionate about their career and another who’s not – tantamount to a dead limb when you think about it. He’s coming to terms with the sacrifice he’s going to have to undergo, and begins to hack away with fervor: [LISTEN]

"Sunday"

Hive

Finding inspiration in dark shadows like an alley cat on the prowl, Earl Sweatshirt gets on his hind legs and takes a mean swipe at his oppressors. Not aimed at anyone in particular, but rather a general crop dust on all the apathetic clones currently cramping his style: [LISTEN]

"Hive"

Chum

Earl bites his lip, rears back, and unloads a vicious diatribe. And he’s not looking to ward off either – it’s blood he’s after. He takes on a number of demons including his father who, in some indirect way, may have provided him with a new found appreciation for those that chose to stick around: [LISTEN]

"Chum"

Sasquatch

Tyler, the Creator and Earl are waving the Odd Future flag mightily, and they’re doing so with a tremendous sense of pride. Stitched into the crest of the flag – a giant Sasquatch with a shit-eating grin on his face. Just something you don’t see everyday: [LISTEN]

"Sasquatch"

Centurion

Pent up aggression, drugs, and an itchy pen can lead to one explosive tirade – the strongest of its kind on the album. The shrapnel, covered in excrement and rage, pierces with a sting that suggests this is personal. To whom, who knows. There are plenty of skeletons in Earl’s closet, take your pick: [LISTEN]

"Centurion"

Uncle Al

Not sure who exactly Uncle Al is, but he may have been better off calling this Uncle Danny, as in Daniel Dumile. There’s no denying that he’s a byproduct of the Doom generation. The hope, though, is that he’ll continue his studies and fulfill his destiny as the next great villain: [LISTEN]

"Uncle Al"

Guild

Doused in syrup and topcoated with molasses, Earl sloshes his way across a sea of plasma to reach the other side and flip the script. He’s Doom‘s finest protege. And an elusive one at that. Which is just how top lyrical anarchists operate – in and out, but at their own pace: [LISTEN]

"Guild"

Molasses

Things found at an Earl Sweatshirt party: a fun house mirror, a bearded woman bending her leg behind her head, and RZA - who evidently owns a purse. The man of the hour is Earl, teetering on the edge of a cliff for inspiration, laughing at the irony of his success: [LISTEN]

"Molasses"

Whoa

Every school has a bad seed. While you were in gym he was in rehab. That’s Earl. If you thought he turned over a new leaf with “Chum” you were wrong. “Whoa” takes all those soft sentiments, sticks them in a meat grinder, and packages it for the fools who thought they had a good read on him: [LISTEN]

"Whoa"

Hoarse

BadBadNotGood accents Earl’s dawdling pace like dark clouds do lightening. Together they create a perfect cyclone – one that doesn’t break formation and destroys everything in its path. It’s enough of a springboard to launch Earl to new lows, including a nice shot to Sarah Palin’s ovaries: [LISTEN]

"Hoarse"

Knight

Just when you think Earl’s going to fall over a cliff he pulls back. The reason: his crew and his mother – both sources of peace and hubs for his creative output. It’s the support of his motley crew and a little TLC from Mom that makes Earl the artist he is today: [LISTEN]

"Knight"