Earl Sweatshirt

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Earl Sweatshirt
Earl Sweatshirt March 15, 2013.jpg
Earl Sweatshirt in March 2013.
Background information
Birth name Thebe Neruda Kgositsile
Also known as
  • randomblackdude
  • Sly Tendencies
Born (1994-02-24) February 24, 1994 (age 21) Los Angeles, California, USA
Origin Los Angeles, California, United States
Genres Hip hop
  • Rapper
  • record producer
  • Vocals
  • keyboards
  • drums
  • modulator
Years active 2008–2010, 2012–present
Associated acts
Website earlsweatshirt.com

Thebe Neruda Kgositsile (born February 24, 1994), better known by his stage name Earl Sweatshirt, is an American rapper, record producer, and former member of the Los Angeles-based hip hop collective Odd Future. He is signed to Columbia Records, as well as his own label, Tan Cressida. Earl gained recognition and critical praise for his debut mixtape, Earl. Following its release, he was sent to a boarding school in Samoa by his mother until his 18th birthday. On August 20, 2013, he released his debut studio album, Doris, to universal acclaim. On March 23, 2015, the digital version of Earl's sophomore album, I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt was released; the physical version of the album was released on April 14, 2015 to acclaim. On April 28, a ten-minute song named "Solace" was released on YouTube.

Early life[edit]

Thebe Neruda Kgositsile was born to Cheryl Harris, a law professor at University of California, Los Angeles, and Keorapetse Kgositsile, a South African poet and political activist who left the family when Thebe was six years old. He graduated from New Roads High School in Santa Monica.[1][2]

Musical career[edit]

2009–11: Earl and Samoa[edit]

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.[citation needed]

His debut mixtape, Earl, was self-released March 31, 2010 as a free digital download on the Odd Future website.[3] Most of the album was produced by Tyler, The Creator. Earl was named the 24th-best album of 2010 by Complex.[4]

Despite overwhelmingly positive reviews, various sources[5][6][7] indicated that Sweatshirt had stopped making music with Odd Future. Posts from Tyler, The Creator's Twitter and Formspring 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 him getting into trouble. Earl attended Coral Reef Academy, a therapeutic retreat school for at-risk boys, located outside of the Samoan capital of Apia.[2][8] 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.[9] 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.[10]

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.[11]

2012–13: Return from Samoa and Doris[edit]

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 YouTube with a preview of a new song saying if viewers wanted "the full thing" they would have to give him 50,000 followers on Twitter.[12] He also later confirmed on his new Twitter account[13] that he had returned to his home in Los Angeles.[14]

Earl appeared on the song "Oldie" from Odd Future's debut 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.[15] 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.[2]

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 and Captain Murphy. Earl Sweatshirt was also featured on MellowHype's third studio album and major label debut, Numbers on the track "P2".

Sweatshirt performing in March 2013

On November 2, Earl released his first solo single since his return from Samoa, titled "Chum".[16] On November 12, he announced in a tweet that his debut studio album will be titled Gnossos.[17] On February 21, Earl goes back on Twitter to say that his album will not be called Gnossos.[18] On December 4, Earl announces that the album will instead be called Doris.[19] That same day the music video for track 6 on Doris, "Chum" is posted on YouTube.[20] 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.[21][22][23]

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.[24][25][26]

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.[27]

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.[28] The album also fared well commercially debuting at number five on the US Billboard 200 and number one on US Top Rap Albums chart.[29]

Earl Sweatshirt with fellow group member, Taco.

2014–present: I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside[edit]

On October 10, 2014, Earl confirmed that he had completed the follow-up album to Doris.[30] On November 5, 2014, he released a new song entitled "45" produced by The Alchemist. On February 14, Earl debuted a new song titled "Quest/Power" via SoundCloud.[31]

On March 16, 2015, The pre-order for Earl's second studio album, titled: I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirt appeared on the iTunes Store, without prior announcement.[32] On March 17, 2015, Earl released a music video, for the song "Grief".[33]

The full album was released on March 23, 2015, but only the digital version, the physical version was released later on April 14, 2015.[34] A later music video for the song "Off Top" was released on August 7, 2015.[35]

Earl stated in an interview with NPR that his record label gave him no notice they would release the album.[36] He says he considers this his first album because he feels he can "back up everything, the good and the bad".

On April 28, 2015, 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. He stated to NPR that he was making an album called "Solace" inspired by his mother, however many believe it is instead an extended play. The project has not been addressed fully.[37]



Earl has stated that he is influenced by Madvillain, MF DOOM, Jay-Z, and Eminem.[38][39]


Studio Albums[edit]



Awards and nominations[edit]

BET Hip Hop Awards[edit]

The BET Hip Hop Awards were established in 2006 by the Black Entertainment Television network to celebrate hip-hop performers, producers and music video directors.

Year Nominated work Award Result
2013 Earl Sweatshirt Rookie of the Year[40] Nominated


Year Title Notes
2013 Late Show with David Letterman Performed "Rusty" with Tyler, The Creator and Domo Genesis
2013–2014 Loiter Squad Season 2–3
2013 Late Night with Jimmy Fallon Performed "Burgundy" with The Roots
2015 Jimmy Kimmel Live! Performed "AM // Radio" and "Grief" with BadBadNotGood
Crash Test Musical guest


  • "Earl" (2010), himself
  • "Sam (Is Dead)" (2012), soldier
  • "Chum" (2012), himself
  • "Domo23" (2013), referee
  • "Woah" (2013), himself
  • "Hive" (2013), himself
  • "Grief" (2015), himself


  1. ^ Thompson, Nicholas. (2009-01-07) News Desk: Looking for Earl Sweatshirt, The New Yorker. Retrieved on 2011-08-16.
  2. ^ a b c After Exile, Career Reset. Earl Sweatshirt Is Back From the Wilderness. New York Times. May 2, 2012
  3. ^ "OFWGKTA: Earl Sweatshirt – EARL". Oddfuture.tumblr.com. 2010-03-31. Retrieved 2011-02-27. 
  4. ^ Insanul Ahmed, "The 25 Best Albums of 2010," Complex, December 15, 2010.
  5. ^ Caroline Ryder (2010-10-14). "The Future Is Odd – Page 2 – Music – Los Angeles". LA Weekly. Retrieved 2011-02-27. 
  6. ^ "OFWGKTA: FUCK! Watching This Video Kills Us Inside. We Miss". Oddfuture.tumblr.com. 2010-12-27. Retrieved 2011-02-27. 
  7. ^ "The Live Insanity that Is Odd Future Wolf Gang...". SPIN.com. 2010-11-09. Retrieved 2011-05-09. 
  8. ^ Kgositsile, Thebe. "Interview with Peter Rosenberg". YouTube. 
  9. ^ "The GQ&A: Earl Sweatshirt". Gq.com. Retrieved 2013-08-25. 
  10. ^ Jon Caramanica, "After Exile, Career Reset - Earl Sweatshirt Is Back From the Wilderness", New York Times, May 2, 2012.
  11. ^ 2012 Freshman Class. Xxlmag.Com. Retrieved on 2012-05-06.
  12. ^ Home. YouTube (2012-02-08). Retrieved on 2012-05-06.
  13. ^ "Welcome to Twitter - Login or Sign up". Twitter.com. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  14. ^ "Welcome to Twitter - Login or Sign up". Twitter.com. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  15. ^ Earl Sweatshirt Performs With Odd Future In NYC " ILLROOTS. Illroots.com (2012-03-21). Retrieved on 2012-05-06.
  16. ^ "iTunes - Music - Chum - Single by Earl Sweatshirt". Itunes.apple.com. 2012-11-02. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  17. ^ "Twitter / earlxsweat: my third album (counting earl". Twitter.com. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  18. ^ "EARL on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2015-11-21. 
  19. ^ "EARL on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2015-11-22. 
  20. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCbWLSZrZfw, retrieved 2015-11-22  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  21. ^ Horowitz, Steven J. (2012-12-04). "Earl Sweatshirt Reveals Debut Album Title | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  22. ^ "XXL Presents... The 35 Most Anticipated Albums of 2013 - XXL". Xxlmag.com. 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  23. ^ "Watch Earl Sweatshirt Premiere a Song f/ RZA in Syracuse". Complex. 2013-04-28. Retrieved 2013-08-17. 
  24. ^ Cooper, Roman (2013-03-07). "Earl Sweatshirt Previews Three Songs From Upcoming Album | Get The Latest Hip Hop News, Rap News & Hip Hop Album Sales". HipHop DX. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  25. ^ "Earl Sweatshirt Premieres New Music From Debut Album Doris, Featuring Mac Miller (Video)". The Masked Gorilla. 2013-03-07. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  26. ^ "Video: Earl Sweatshirt Slacks Off in 'Whoa'". Rolling Stone. 2013-03-12. Retrieved 2013-04-08. 
  27. ^ "10. randomblackdude a.k.a. Earl Sweatshirt — The 10 Best Rap Producers Right Now". Complex. 2013-09-25. Retrieved 2013-10-29. 
  28. ^ "Doris Reviews". Metacritic. 2013-08-20. Retrieved 2013-08-20. 
  29. ^ "Hip Hop Album Sales: The Week Ending 8/25/2013". HipHopDX. Retrieved August 25, 2013. 
  30. ^ "EARL on Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  31. ^ "Earl Sweatshirt – "45" - Stereogum". Stereogum. Retrieved 28 November 2014. 
  32. ^ Brandle, Lars (March 17, 2015). "Now Earl Sweatshirt is Dropping a Surprise New Album". Billboard. 
  33. ^ Grief. YouTube. 2015. 
  34. ^ "Tweet Number 588046067448414208". Twitter. 14 April 2015. Retrieved 15 April 2015. IDLSIDGO PHYSICALS DROPPED TODAY. GO AHEAD AND DO WHAT YOU DO WITH THAT 
  35. ^ "Earl Sweatshirt - Off Top". EarlSweatshirtVEVO. 7 August 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2015. 
  36. ^ "Earl Sweatshirt: 'I'm Grown' : Microphone Check". Npr.org. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 
  37. ^ "solace". 28 April 2015. Retrieved 9 August 2015. 
  38. ^ http://www.allmusic.com/artist/earl-sweatshirt-mn0002583626/related
  39. ^ http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbM8kCLDMGg
  40. ^ "Who New? Rookie of the Year | Hip Hop Awards 2014 | Shows". Bet.com. Retrieved 2015-04-15. 

External links[edit]