Sound — 9
Earl Sweatshirt is the youngest member and arguably the most talented rapper of Los Angeles hip-hop collective Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. The sound of this album is much more polished than Earl's mixtape, and feature almost none of the glitchy synths and quirky piano hooks that were a mainstay of that release, this could be due to Earl handling much of the production himself, as opposed to Tyler, The Creator producing most of the tracks as he has in past Odd Future projects. Tyler only produces two tracks, "Sasquatch" and "Whoa," these both feature Tyler's typical boom bap beats and melodic synths. Earl under pseudonym randomblackdude produces 7 of the album's 15 tracks. Other production comes from Wu-Tang's RZA, pop-rapper Mac Miller under pseudonym Larry Fishman, and The Neptunes Pharell to name some. The beats tend to be very minimalist, aside from Molasses which features RZA's typical gritty production. The song "523" is an instrumental which showcases Earl's beat making skills.
Lyrics — 10
Lyricism has always been Earl's strong point, his clever metaphors and intricate rhymes which are quite advanced for his age, which is one of the qualities that earned him fame in the first place. Lyricism is something that has been lost in much of today's popular hip-hop but Earl is one of the few aside from greats such as Nas and Eminem, that is keeping this type of rapping alive, most tracks will require a few listens to understand them fully. In contrast to Earl's mixtape Earl, the lyrics featured on "Doris" are much more mature, most of the shock horrorcore type lyrics are gone, save for songs like "Hive," which compared to songs like "epaR" from his mixtape is tame. The lyrics compliment the music greatly with darker songs like "Hive" and "Sasquatch" feature dark beats that compliment the equally dark lyrics.
Overall Impression — 9
I'm going to say something that even Earl himself said in an interview, if you liked Earl for the horrorcore type shock value you might not like "Doris," since Earl has moved on from rapping about raping girls and other f--ked up sh-t. My favorite song without a doubt is "Hive," Vince Staples verse at the end is amazing, and Earl's verses are superb as well. I also like "Sasquatch" since it seems to hearken back to some of the older more twisted Odd Future tracks. The only thing I don't like is some of the tracks are quite short, and there is a noticeable lack of hooks. "Whoa" is a great tag team between Tyler and Earl. "Guild" is a unique track which starts with a verse from Mac Miller and then Earl, with both of their vocals being very low in the mix. Overall I am very pleased with this album, much more so than I expected to be since in hip-hop living up to expectations tends to be very difficult but "Doris" has exceeded my expectations. If this were stolen I would definitely replace it.