Earl Sweatshirt has been making it a lot easier lately for those put off by Odd Future’s more juvenile antics to come around and appreciate his music. In an interview with the New York Times earlier this year, the rapper talked about his volunteer work at a center for sexual-abuse survivors and signaled he was done rapping about rape. Last night, Sweatshirt shared details on Twitter about his upcoming sophomore album, but he also indicated a greater level of maturity.
The new album has no release date or title just yet, but Sweatshirt says it will involve the Neptunes as well as the production duo’s member Pharrell Williams. Also on tap are these fellow Odd Future members: Tyler, the Creator; Frank Ocean; Domo Genesis, Casey Veggies; Syd tha Kid; and Matt Martians. Flying Lotus affiliates Thundercat and Samiyam will also be involved, per Sweatshirt, along with rap veteran the Alchemist, Chicago-based production duo Christian Rich, Sa-Ra member Om’Mas Keith, and instrumental hip-hop outfit BADBADNOTGOOD, among others.
Expect the album to go in new direction for Sweatshirt. “I anticipate a loss of fans,” he wrote. “I also anticipate gaining some… I hope i lose you as a fan if you only fuck with me cause i rapped about raping girls when i was 15. I fucking love how it sounds. And uhh. Thats what matters Im gonna go out on a limb and say that you can hear the progression.”
It’s conceivable there will be fervent champions of women who will still miss some of Sweatshirt’s youthful rebelliousness. After all, we need artists who push boundaries, who will say and do things the rest of us won’t, even if they’re just showing us how not to act. Maturity can be boring. But it’s great to see this young artist growing up thoughtfully rather than just doubling down on insensitivity. And based on Sweatshirt’s guest verse on Ocean’s channel ORANGE track “Super Rich Kids,” he’s only getting started.