Since his return from the Samoan boy's school he was sent to, Earl—by far the best rapper in LA's young-life Odd Future collective—hasn't really done too much beside a lackadaisacal appearance here and there until this, his new single "Chum." When he, at 16 years old, first popped up—putting OF on the map to those of us outside of the Fairfax skate/streetwear corridor scene—Earl seemingly summed up the his crew's ethos of bad taste and experimental pharmacology. Now a morose 18 (crazy to think Earl was born the same month that 12 Play came out), he is doing his damndest to get some real shit off of his chest, sans the childish, trollish rape/"faggot" bullshit, in full possession of his word-perfect rap style: feeling as hard as Vince Carter's knee cartilage is.
In the first verse, he talks about the absence of his father, South African poet Keorapetse Kgositsile. The best thing I read amidst all the think-pieces, stalk-pieces, and straight squarebutt rants about Odd Future is something that he said—actually one of the most telling things about rap in general that I'd ever heard. Regarding "commercially promoted hiphop," Kgositstile said: "I really don't think it's about anything of relevance, socially, other than young people saying they're hurt." That last is pretty apt, and as a whole, that quote pretty much explains the perspective of a lot of people's view on hiphop: the absentee parent that doesn't want to hear the protestations of their hurt child. It seems like the people that helped create the ugliness that made such hurt, rarely see value in the cries of the hurting.
Earl's second verse details exactly how he felt about the "Where's Earl" frenzy during his absence :
Tolerance for boundaries, I know you happy now Craven and these Complex fuck niggas that tracked me down Just to be the guys that did it, like I like attention Not the type where niggas trying to get a raise at my expense Supposed to be grateful, right, like thanks so much you made my life Harder and the ties between my mom and I strained and tightened Even more than they were before all of this shit Been back a week and I already feel like calling it quits
Something sinister to it, or in the words of one of his obvious influences: What do I think of success? It sucks. Too much press.