When Earl Sweatshirt released “Chum,” the first song off his upcoming album Doris, it marked a departure for the most talented member of Odd Future. It was a dark, moody track filled with gloom and vulnerability, and it showed that Sweatshirt had an ambitious place to go with this album. But as “Whoa,” the second track released, begins, Tyler, The Creator exclaims “Fuck that. [They] think cause you fuckin made Chum and got all personal that [we] won’t go back to that old fuckin 2010 shit. No, fuck that.” And while it’s not on the same level as “Chum,” this new track still puts Earl at the head of the pack.
Earl’s trademark style of flow is in full force here, as he weaves an unrelenting stream of lyrics with such stunning effortlessness. His use of rhyme scheme and syllables is intriguing in that he doesn’t seem to follow any sort of pattern when he raps, something that makes him stand out in a scene of strict by-the-book rappers. He keeps the listeners on the edge of their seats with his reckless-yet-nonchalant style, all while making it seem as if he is barely trying at all. Tyler comes in with a very simplistic pseudo-chorus, accompanied by a sparkling piano line, and it does a good job of breaking up the song a bit. It lets Earl’s verses breathe and helps the song not get too heavy.
The production on “Whoa” is top notch. It features a pounding drum beat over a squealing synth line, one that is reminiscent of Tyler’s big hit “Sandwitches,” and the group vocal refrain of “whoooooa” in the background gives it a laid back feel. The beat is far more varied than the super simple one on “Chum,” but it never gets in the way of what really matters: Earl’s rapping.
When Doris comes out, it’s sure to be a monster of an album. While “Chum” showcases a darker sound, one that I hope he embraces, “Whoa” proves that Earl can put his masterful talent on any type of track and take it over. Despite having skills far superior to nearly everyone else in the game, Earl will always have his Odd Future crew to remind him where he came from. Golf Wang.