Mysterious rapper had a life-changing experience in Samoa that could portend a lyrical shift
Earl Sweatshirt, who earlier this year marked his triumphant return from boarding school in Samoa, is one of the few genuine enigmas remaining in pop music. A couple of recent live appearances — alongside Flying Lotus at Coachella, or with his hip-hop wolfpack Odd Future in New York — and an acclaimed appearance on The OF Tape Vol. 2 have still left Sweatshirt (real name: Thebe Kgositsile) tantalizingly mysterious, a known unknown. That's why the New Yorker's quest to find Sweatshirt last year is still a must-read, and it's why the New York Times' recent interview with the 18-year-old rapper is similarly revelatory. The whole article is worth checking out, for sure, but here are the newsiest morsels:
- Sweatshirt has signed with Sony for his own imprint, Tan Cressida, which Columbia will distribute. As Odd Future is also part of the Sony corporate empire, the deal lets him use the group's logo. "I want it to look seamless," Sweatshirt told the Times.
- He might be a changed man. Sweatshirt reportedly volunteered at a center for sexual-abuse survivors while he was in Samoa. "That was a pivotal moment," he's quoted as saying. It's fascinating reading the verbally agile rapper stumble for words as he explains he's "done talking about" some of his tougher lyrical subjects. (As the Times points out, Odd Future's Tumblr initially proclaimed of Sweatshirt's 2010 album Earl that "Lyrics About Rape, Coke, and Couches Will Be Blaring in Your Ears.")
- He hopes to record a solo major-label debut, though details are unclear.
- He's also planning "EarlWolf," a long-in-the-works team-up with Odd Future star Tyler, the Creator.
- If that's not enough, Sweatshirt also said he wants to collaborate with producer Matt Martians of Odd Future affiliate the Internet.
Good to know that Earl is making up for lost time!