Doris (album)

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Doris
Earl Sweatshirt Doris.jpg
Studio album by Earl Sweatshirt
Released August 20, 2013
Recorded February 2012 – July 2013
Genre Hip hop
Length 44:07[1]
Label
Producer
Earl Sweatshirt chronology
Earl
(2010)Earl2010
Doris
(2013)
I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt
(2015)I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt2015
Singles from Doris
  1. "Chum"
    Released: November 2, 2012
  2. "Whoa"
    Released: March 12, 2013
  3. "Hive"
    Released: July 16, 2013
Vinyl cover[2]
Vinyl cover[2]

Doris is the debut studio album by American rapper Earl Sweatshirt. It was released on August 20, 2013, by Tan Cressida and Columbia Records. Doris follows his first mixtape Earl, which was released in 2010 when he was sixteen. After returning from a forced stay in a Samoan boarding school, he began working on his debut album and signed a deal with Columbia, rather than Odd Future's Odd Future Records.

Doris features guest appearances from Vince Staples, Tyler, The Creator, Domo Genesis, Frank Ocean, SK La' Flare, Casey Veggies, Mac Miller and RZA. Production was primarily handled by Sweatshirt under the pseudonym randomblackdude, alongside Christian Rich, Tyler, The Creator, The Neptunes, BadBadNotGood, The Alchemist, Matt Martians, Samiyam, Frank Ocean and RZA. The album was supported by three singles; "Chum", "Whoa" featuring Tyler, The Creator, and "Hive" featuring Vince Staples and Casey Veggies.

Doris received widespread acclaim from critics, who praised Sweatshirt's lyricism and rhyme schemes along with the gritty underground production. The album also appeared on numerous critics' year-end lists. The album fared well commercially, debuting at number five on the Billboard 200, and number one on the Top Rap Albums chart.

Background[edit]

Doris serves as Earl Sweatshirt's debut studio album.

On February 8, 2012, rumors spread around the internet that Earl Sweatshirt had returned to the US when a video of him surfaced on YouTube with a preview of a new song. He said if people wanted "the full thing" they would have to give him 50,000 followers on Twitter.[3] He later confirmed on his new Twitter account[4] that he had returned to his home in Los Angeles.[5] Three hours later, Sweatshirt reached 50,000 followers and released a new song on his website, entitled "Home", which ends with "...and I'm back. Bye."[6] Sweatshirt later said via Twitter that all the songs released prior to Oldie were old songs that he recorded before going abroad.[6] 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.[6] On May 2, 2012, Sweatshirt created his own record label imprint called Tan Cressida, which will be distributed through Columbia Records. He turned down several larger offers due to his priority of remaining close to Odd Future.[7]

On November 12, 2012, Earl announced on his Twitter account that his first and second studio albums titled Doris and Gnossos.[8][9] Doris was reported to feature vocals or production from Tyler, The Creator, Frank Ocean, Om'Mas Keith, Thundercat, Domo Genesis, The Neptunes, Christian Rich, Vince Staples, BadBadNotGood, Pharrell Williams, Samiyam, The Alchemist, Casey Veggies and The Internet.[10][11][12]

On March 6, 2013, while performing with Flying Lotus and Mac Miller, Earl premiered three new songs off Doris, "Burgundy" produced by The Neptunes, "Hive" featuring Casey Veggies and Vince Staples, and "Guild" featuring Mac Miller.[13][14] At Coachella 2013 Earl presented "Hive", "Burgundy", and "Guild", as well as "20 Wave Caps".[15] At Syracuse, he previewed "Molasses" featuring RZA of the Wu-Tang Clan.[16] On July 12, 2013, Earl announced that the album would be released on August 20, 2013, and released the album cover and track listing.[17]

Recording[edit]

Sweatshirt worked with The Neptunes and Chicago producers Christian Rich for the track "Burgundy". Taiwo of Christian Rich revealed to MTV News that Pharrell Williams spent most of the day working on Robin Thicke's smash hit "Blurred Lines", but took a short break to work on "Burgundy" with his Neptunes' partner, Chad Hugo. The song title does not appear in the lyrics, but is a reference to Earl's grandmother's Burgundy carpet. The song contains a sample from Preacher's "The Power of the Truth".[18]

The album's lead single "Chum" was produced by production duo Christian Rich. Sweatshirt had heard of the two before, and the duo met with Sony's A&R staff for Sweatshirt to hear their beats.[19] Sweatshirt's first album Doris was produced over the course of about four or five months, and "Chum" was created on its first three days of making the LP.[19] The song was produced using Logic Pro,[20] and the beat was the quickest and rawest made on the album.[20][21] The song was recorded by Julian Prindle at Paramount Recording Studios in Hollywood, California. Jaycen Joshua mixed the track at Larrabee Sound Studios in North Hollywood (Where Justin Timberlake recorded The 20/20 Experience and The 20/20 Experience – 2 of 2), and it was later mastered by Dave Kutch at the Mastering Palace in New York City (Where The Roots recorded their 2011 album Undun).[22] Taiwo Hassan wrote the chorus for "Chum", and Sweatshirt came up with the verses.[20][23] The song's instrumentation consists of a tumbling piano loop, a low-octave, fuzzy bass, drums, vocals, and other sampled sounds.[20] Christian Rich originally considered Thom Yorke to perform the hook to make it sound bigger, but Sweatshirt refused, as he didn't want to go for that sound.[20]

"Sunday" features fellow Odd Future member Frank Ocean. The song is seen as unusual for Ocean who is renowned for his singing rather than his rapping, having previously only shown off his rapping on the track "Blue Whale" (Which was leaked online) and The OF Tape Vol. 2 closer "Oldie". The duo had previously collaborated on Ocean's "Super Rich Kids" from Ocean's 2012 album Channel Orange. The song raised minor controversy regarding Ocean's verse which included lyrics regarding Ocean's reported feud with Chris Brown in which Ocean and Brown reportedly brawled. Though the song title doesn't appear in the lyrics, Ocean and Brown's parking lot scuffle happened on a Sunday. The song went through many different incarnations and mixes before being completed. The original version was lost after his laptop's hard drive crashed. After reassembling it, the rapper decided that he hated the mixes. "Then it was, 'We can't mix this song,"' he told NME, '"...you're going to have to redo it or do a new song.' I threw a tantrum. I did a new song."[24]

"Hive" was written, recorded, produced, and engineered in the living room of Syd tha Kyd and Matt Martians' old home in Marina del Rey, California; the music was programmed in Reason.[22][25] The song took three hours to record, with Sweatshirt's verse recorded in only one take before Casey Veggies and Vince Staples did theirs. Martians said that Sweatshirt "works quickly in general: he gets his initial ideas out quickly, then goes back and makes adjustments. That's a mature thing about his music-making. He knows what he wants to do and what kinds of feelings he wants to convey."[25] The track was later mixed by Jaycen Joshua at Larrabee Sound Studios in North Hollywood, California, and mastered by Dave Kutch at the Mastering Palace in New York City.[22]

Release and promotion[edit]

Earl Sweatshirt toured in promotion of Doris with fellow Odd Future member Tyler, The Creator.

On November 2, 2012, Earl released his first solo single since his return from Samoa, titled "Chum".[26] The music video for "Chum" was released on December 4, 2012.[27] Earl would confirm 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, The Creator.[28] On July 16, 2013, the third single "Hive", featuring Vince Staples and Casey Veggies, was released to iTunes along with the pre-order for the album.[29] An accompanying music video was then released later that day.[30]

From April 30, through May 18, 2013, Earl Sweatshirt toured the West Coast of the United States with Tyler, The Creator on his Wolf tour.[31] On August 9, 2013, Sweatshirt made his national television debut, performing The Neptunes-produced "Burgundy" on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon.[32] On September 10, 2013, Earl Sweatshirt announced his first solo-headlining concert tour titled Doris. The tour ran from October 6, through November 9, 2013 and featured supporting acts by Hodgy Beats, Domo Genesis and Vince Staples.[33]

Critical reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Source Rating
AnyDecentMusic? 8.0/10[34]
Metacritic 82/100[35]
Review scores
Source Rating
AllMusic 4/5 stars[36]
Billboard 4/5 stars[37]
Exclaim! 6/10[38]
The Guardian 5/5 stars[39]
Los Angeles Times 4/4 stars[40]
Now 4/5 Ns[41]
Pitchfork 8.3/10[42]
Rolling Stone 3.5/5 stars[43]
Spin 8/10[44]
XXL 4/5 (XL)[45]

Doris received widespread acclaim from critics. At Metacritic, which assigns a normalized rating out of 100 to reviews from mainstream publications, the album received an average score of 82, based on 32 reviews.[35] William Gruger of Billboard said, "What follows is Doris, a slow (rarely rising above 70 bpm), introspective album where Earl Sweatshirt combats pressures when returning to a life of stardom after time spent at a Samoa-based boarding school for troubled youths."[37] Ben Beaumont-Thomas of The Guardian said, "This is knockabout punchline rap made into high art, a psychedelic visionquest to the taqueria on a skateboard."[39] Randall Roberts of Los Angeles Times said, "Doris features instrumental interludes, expanded mid-song diversions and enough surprise to warrant repeated—obsessive—evaluation."[40] Jesse Fairfax of HipHopDX said, "Where he has yet to master the art of making complete songs ("Uncle Al" clocks in under a minute long) and his diction tends to lacks clarity, Earl paints pictures in a manner more poetic than just about all within his peer group."[46] Kevin Ritchie of Now said, "Despite all the gifted-beyond-his-years hype, that over-arching concerns still feel inextricably teenaged, albeit precociously so."[41]

Simon Vozick-Levinson of Rolling Stone said, "His rhyme schemes are as complex as ever, and these resolutely unpop beats – sticky-icky sample collages from producers including Pharrell, RZA and himself – are an ideal canvas. But his subject matter has undergone a drastic overhaul. Unlike some peers, Earl has figured out that shock value only goes so far."[43] David Jeffries of AllMusic said, "Doris is unsettled, messy, and takes a bit to sort, but there are codes to crack and rich rewards to reap, so enter with an open mind and prepare to leave exhausted."[36] Aaron Matthews of Exclaim! said, "Doris isn't the classic many anticipated, but it is a strong, uncompromised debut from a very talented young rapper. For now, that's enough."[38] Michael Madden of Consequence of Sound said, "It's a work as notable for its technical achievements as its nuanced themes, and that's almost as impressive considering that so many artists lack in one or both of those fields."[47] Kevin Perry of NME said, "He doesn't want to be a powerhouse rap star. Doris may alienate people looking for him to be that. For everyone else, this is a powerful record."[48]

Darryl G. Wright of PopMatters said, "Doris represents one of the most innovative and important hip-hop releases of the year. Not just because of the charm and intrigue of Earl's story but because of the immense and understated level of his talent for writing rhymes."[49] Craig Jenkins of Pitchfork said, "As comebacks go, it's shockingly insular and unassuming. Even when he skirts the mainstream, he does so with cautious optimism."[42] Jesse Cataldo of Slant Magazine said, "Earl may be one of the quieter voices on Doris, but his dense, evocative sensibility dominates the album both lyrically and musically."[50] Dan Jackson of XXL said, "As one might expect from a 19-year-old, this is an album of extremes. It can be poignant and honest in one moment, then cagey and distant in the next."[45] Julianne Escobedo Shepherd of Spin said, "The record is at its best when he simply shifts into verbal overdrive, spitting gnarled bullets on the phenomenal robber's fable "Centurion" or the weedy hallucinogen "Guild"."[44] Evan Rytlewski of The A.V. Club said, "It often feels less like a finished work than a sketchbook, a jumble of beats and raps (about half of them from guests) with little in the way of hooks, choruses, or general songcraft to tie them together."[51]

Accolades[edit]

Closing out the year, Doris was named to multiple "Album of the Year" lists for 2013. Nick Catucci of Entertainment Weekly named it the tenth best album of 2013.[52] NME ranked it number 27 on their list of the 50 best albums of 2013.[53] Complex ranked it number 27 on their list of the 50 best albums of 2013.[54] PopMatters named it the sixth best hip hop album of the year.[55]

The album was named the eighth best hip hop album of 2013 by Exclaim!.[56] The album was positioned at number 42 on Rolling Stone's list of the 50 best albums of 2013.[57] Spin ranked it at number 31 on their list of the 50 best albums of 2013.[58] Consequence of Sound ranked it at number 39 on their list of the 50 best albums of 2013.[59] It was positioned at number 22 on Pigeons & Planes' list of the best albums of 2013.[60] Mojo ranked it at number 23 on their list of the top 50 albums of the year.[61] Paste positioned it at number 43 on their list of the 50 best albums of 2013.[62]

Publication Accolade Rank Ref.
Complex The 50 Best Albums of 2013
11
Consequence of Sound
39
Entertainment Weekly The 10 Best Albums of 2013
10
Exclaim! Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums
8
Mojo The Top 50 Best Albums of 2013
23
NME
27
Paste
43
Pigeons & Planes The Top 30 Albums of 2013
22
Pitchfork The Top 50 Albums of 2013
19
PopMatters Top 10 Hip-Hop Albums
6
Rolling Stone The 50 Best Albums of 2013
42
Spin
31
XXL The Top 25 Albums of 2013
7

Commercial performance[edit]

The album debuted at number five on the Billboard 200 chart, with first-week sales of 49,000 copies in the United States. It debuted at number three and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums, and the Top Rap Albums charts respectively.[65] In its second week the album sold 8,000 more copies.[66] In its third week the album sold 4,000 more copies bringing its total album sales to 62,000.[67]

Track listing[edit]

No. Title Writer(s) Producer(s) Length
1. "Pre" (featuring SK La' Flare)
Michael "Uzi" Uzowuru 2:52
2. "Burgundy" (featuring Vince Staples) The Neptunes 2:07
3. "20 Wave Caps" (featuring Domo Genesis)
2:12
4. "Sunday" (featuring Frank Ocean)
3:26
5. "Hive" (featuring Vince Staples and Casey Veggies)
4:37
6. "Chum"
4:04
7. "Sasquatch" (featuring Tyler, The Creator)
Tyler, The Creator 2:48
8. "Centurion" (featuring Vince Staples)
Christian Rich 3:04
9. "523" Kgositsile randomblackdude 1:32
10. "Uncle Al" Kgositsile
0:53
11. "Guild" (featuring Mac Miller)
randomblackdude 3:54
12. "Molasses" (featuring RZA)
  • RZA
  • Christian Rich (co.)
2:16
13. "Whoa" (featuring Tyler, The Creator)
  • Kgositsile
  • Okonma
Tyler, The Creator 3:16
14. "Hoarse"
  • Kgositsile
  • Breaux
BadBadNotGood 3:52
15. "Knight" (featuring Domo Genesis)
  • Kgositsile
  • Cole
  • Paul Willis
  • Tyrone Douglas
Christian Rich 3:14
Total length: 44:07

Notes

Sample credits

Personnel[edit]

Album credits adapted from AllMusic.[69]

Chart positions[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]