When I listen to a young artist one thing I look for between projects is evolution. Every great artist evolves. Kanye’s style is completely different now than 10 years ago. A$AP Rocky’s style is a lot more creative than when “Live.Love.A$AP” dropped, but right now two young MC’s that stand out to me the most from a progressive aspect are Tyler The Creator and Earl Sweatshirt. Even though the two had their fallout and have ceased to make music with each other, they’ve both chosen their own path and have lived up to the hype and expectations implicated by fans and success.
One standout aspect about Tyler is he has always been very sound oriented. In the beginning of his career his lyrics were mostly fuel to their unorthodox, young rebellious fan base, rapping on domestic violence, race and other social issues like they aren’t really issues. From a marketing aspect, their chosen style was brilliant. It was perfect for the age group at the time, which consisted of rebellious teenagers. Now every one of his fans has grown up to be young adults, and Tyler has shown signs of maturing parallel.
By his 3rd studio album “WOLF” Tyler really began to take music seriously. Every song besides a few that sounded like they should belong on “The OF Tape Vol. 1“, was on point from the lyrics to the instrumentals. The most impressive aspect might be the story Tyler fabricates throughout the album about getting sent to camp FLOG GNAW, meeting Slater and a newer alter ego, Sam. “WOLF” was one of the best Hip-Hop albums at the time and you didn’t have to be an OF Stan to tell. From project to project you could sense Tyler was taking music more serious. Some fans even conspire that Tyler’s first trilogy of albums tell a bigger story because of his constant use of alter egos.
To the music industry “The OF Tape Vol. 2” was basically Odd Future’s debut to the rap game. The entire album was on point. Every member that was actually involved in music was in full stride. Hodgy had bars on that album that we might never see again, Tyler managed to get a Frank verse on Oldie along with an Earl verse, which was his only on the entire project due to his stay in Samoa. “The OF Tape Vol. 2” was a prelude to what he has become today.
*Video for the Single “WHOA” featuring Tyler off of Earl’s album “Doris”*
Earl, much like Tyler, has matured astronomically from his Odd Future days. Back in the day Earl was one of the best lyricist around, (not saying his isn’t now) which was impressive for a kid around 16-17 years old. His vocabulary for his age was only parallel to Nas during “Illmatic“, and Capital $teez. No question Earl was one of the best rappers in Odd Future; his flow and lyricism fit perfectly with the alternative style that was very similar to Wu-Tang. His first project “EARL” further proved his ability to rap without discretion, creating morbid scenarios containing rape and other violent illustrations. His content matured, as did his flow on his verse in “The OF Tape Vol. 2“, debuting a blizzard of rhymes brewed while in Samoa. During “Doris” he started to make connections with artists outside out OF. Earl featured Casey Veggies, Vince Staples and most importantly The RZA. Earl did get a Mac Miller feature but this was the time Mac started to work with others in Odd Future such as Domo Genesis, Mellowhype and Tyler. After “Doris” Earl started to stray away from OF. “I Don’t Like Shit I Don’t Go Outside” contained some hateful lyrics and most theorize the slander is towards the old OF members. His style matured even more but most of the 10 track project possessed a dark tone. Kendrick gave the album praise after it dropped, claiming it was his favorite album of the year. Earl continued to make connections outside of OF like Ab-Soul, Wiki, and Kanye.
Earl’s signature was seen on the infamous “TLOP” notepad, meaning Earl and Tyler will be on the same project for the first time since 2013. Both have progressed in their own ways. They both have their own fan bases and are highly integrated in every aspect of their music. Both will continue to progress and impact Hip-Hop in their own ways. The two are still friends says Tyler in an interview, though he stated they aren’t as close. The two tweet each other occasionally, but I don’t see anything coming from their subtle friendship music wise.