|Position||Former Member of Odd Future|
Thebe Kgositsile was born to Cheryl Harris, a law professor at University of California, Los Angeles, and Keorapetse Kgositsile, aSouth African poet and political activist who left the family when Thebe was six years old. He grew up in the Los Angeles area and graduated from New Roads High School in Santa Monica.
In 2009, Tyler, The Creator discovered Earl Sweatshirt, then known as Sly Tendencies, via his MySpace account, where he recorded tracks for his Kitchen Cutlery mixtape. Although the mixtape was never finished or released, Earl eventually joined Tyler's rap group Odd Future. Earl and Odd Future have been featured in mainstream magazines such as Spin, Billboard and The Fader.
His debut studio album, Earl, was self-released March 31, 2010 as a free digital download on the Odd Future website. Most of the album was produced by Tyler, The Creator.Earl was named the 24th-best album of 2010 by Complex.
Despite overwhelmingly positive reviews, various sources indicated that Sweatshirt had stopped making music with Odd Future. Posts from Tyler, The Creator's Twitter andFormspring accounts seemed to indicate that Sweatshirt's mother would not grant permission to release any of Sweatshirt's music; although Earl later expressed in an interview that his mother sent him to Samoa not because of his music or lyrical content, but because of his getting into trouble. Earl attended Coral Reef Academy, a therapeutic retreat school for at-risk boys, located outside of the Samoan capital of Apia. At Coral Reef Academy, Earl earned back privileges, and ultimately the opportunity to return home. At the beginning of his enrollment, he had very little freedom and was unable to even use the bathroom unsupervised, but he eventually became a positive role model shown as an example to new students. While there, he read Manning Marable's biography on Malcolm X and Richard Fariña’s counterculture fiction. He also wrote rhymes, including most of his verse on "Oldie," his only contribution to The OF Tape Vol. 2.
On December 1, 2011, three formerly unreleased songs by Sweatshirt were released through the OddFutureTalk Odd Future Unreleased mixtape. In December 2011, Sweatshirt was announced as a candidate for XXL's 2012 Freshmen List.
2012–2013: Return from Samoa and Doris
See also: Doris (album)
On February 8, 2012, rumors spread around the internet that Sweatshirt had returned to the U.S. when a video of him surfaced on YouTubewith a preview of a new song saying if viewers wanted "the full thing" they would have to give him 50,000 followers on Twitter. He also later confirmed on his new Twitter account that he had returned to his home in Los Angeles. Three hours passed and Sweatshirt reached 50,000 followers and did release a new song on his website, entitled "Home", in which he ends the song with "...and I'm back. Bye." On the same day Earl launched his website Terttlefer.com, which was later changed to Earlxsweat.com (after his Twitter username), and finally Earlsweatshirt.com.
Earl appeared on the song "Oldie" from the first OFWGKTA album The OF Tape Vol. 2. This was Earl's return to official Odd Future releases and his first appearance on an Odd Future Records release. On March 20, a video released on the official Odd Future YouTube page featured Earl in a cypher-style music video rapping along to his verse from "Oldie" with the other members of the crew. That same day, Earl performed with the group at the Hammerstein Ballroom in New York City on March 20, 2012. On April 9, 2012, rapper Casey Veggies released a mixtape titled Customized Greatly 3 that included a song featuring Earl Sweatshirt, Tyler the Creator, Domo Genesis, and Hodgy Beats titled "PNCINTLOFWGKTA." During that month Earl Sweatshirt signed on to create his own record label imprint, Tan Cressida, to be distributed through Columbia Records. He turned down several other larger offers due to his priority of remaining close to Odd Future.
Earl Sweatshirt was featured on the track "Super Rich Kids" from Frank Ocean's debut album, channel ORANGE released digitally July 10, 2012. On July 16, Domo Genesis & The Alchemist released the first official single, "Elimination Chamber", from their collaboration album No Idols, which featured Earl, Vince Staples, and Action Bronson, and produced by The Alchemist. He was also later featured on the album again on the tracks "Daily News" (also featuring SpaceGhostPurrp & Action Bronson) & "Gamebreaker". On July 23, 2012, Flying Lotus released a song titled "Between Friends" on the Adult Swim Single series which features Earl Sweatshirt andCaptain Murphy. Earl Sweatshirt was also featured on MellowHype's third studio album and major label debut, Numbers on the track "P2".
On November 2, Earl released his first solo single since his return from Samoa, titled "Chum". On November 12, he announced in a tweet that his second studio album will be titled, Doris. On December 4, Earl released the official music video for "Chum". Doris was reported early on to feature vocals and/or production from Tyler, The Creator, Frank Ocean, Ommas Keith, Thundercat, Domo Genesis, Mac Miller, The Neptunes, Christian Rich, Vince Staples, BadBadNotGood, Pharrell Williams, Samiyam, The Alchemist, Casey Veggies, The Internet and RZA.
On March 6, 2013, while performing with Flying Lotus and Mac Miller, Earl premiered three new songs off Doris: "Burgundy" produced by Pharrell Williams, "Hive" featuring Casey Veggies & Vince Staples and "Guild" featuring Mac Miller. Earl also confirmed the next single to be titled "Whoa" featuring Tyler, The Creator. The song was released to iTunes on March 12, 2013, along with the music video being released, which was directed by Tyler.
Doris was released on August 20, 2013, under Tan Cressida and Columbia Records. Doris featured guest appearances from Odd Future members Domo Genesis, Frank Ocean, Tyler, the Creator, along with Vince Staples, RZA, Casey Veggies and Mac Miller. Production was primarily handled by Sweatshirt under the pseudonym randomblackdude and production duo Christian Rich. Additional production was provided by Matt Martians, The Neptunes, RZA, Samiyam, BadBadNotGood, Frank Ocean, and Tyler, The Creator. In September 2013, Complex named Sweatshirt the tenth best producer in hip hop.
Upon its release, Doris was met with universal critical acclaim from music critics, including perfect scores by The Guardian and Los Angeles Times, which praised Sweatshirt's rhyme schemes and lyrics along with the gritty underground production. The album also fared well commercially debuting at number five on the US Billboard 200 and number one on US Top Rap Albums chart.
2014–present: I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside
See also: I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirt
On October 10, 2014, Earl confirmed that he had completed the album to follow-up Doris. On November 5, 2014, he released a new song entitled "45" produced by The Alchemist. On February 14th, Earl debuted a new song titled "Quest/Power" via SoundCloud.
On March 16, 2015, The pre-order for Earl's third studio album, titled: I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirtappeared on the iTunes Store, without prior announcement. On March 17, 2015, Earl released a music video, for the song "Grief".
The full album was released on March 23, 2015, but only the digital version, the physical version was released later on April 14, 2015.
Earl stated in an interview with NPR that his record label gave him no notice they would release the album. He says he considers this his first album because he feels he can back up everything he says, the good and the bad.
Also stated in the NPR interview, Earl mentioned a project named "Solace," mentioning that it was inspired by his mother, and was stated to be an album.
On April 28th, a ten minute track named "Solace" was released via YouTube, and has gained much attention; gaining more than one-hundred thousand views on YouTube in 24 hours. It is unclear if the song is a full album or EP, as Earl has not directly addressed the project fully.
Main article: Earl Sweatshirt discography
- Earl (2010)
- Doris (2013)
- I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirt (2015)
Awards and nominations
BET Hip Hop Awards
The BET Hip Hop Awards were established in 2013 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate hip-hop performers, producers and music video directors.
|2013||Earl Sweatshirt||Rookie of the Year||Nominated|
|2013||Late Show with David Letterman||Himself||Performed "Rusty" with Tyler, The Creator and Domo Genesis|
|2013||Late Night with Jimmy Fallon||Performed "Burgundy" with The Roots|