Timothy Norris Earl Sweatshirt
April 12, 2013
By: Jeff Weiss
It was past midnight in Coachella's Gobi Tent when Tyler, the Creator climbed the scaffolding like a gargoyle. He clung to the metal bars above the stage with one arm, ready to pounce on the crowd at any moment. Earl Sweatshirt rapped with a black bucket hat, a blue-green tie-dye t-shirt, and the laid-back intensity of a smoked-out teenager who takes nothing seriously but his raps.
Flying Lotus operated as Earl's DJ, weaving artfully at the turntables, remixing on the fly. This is what you hoped for from Odd Future, but maybe not what you expected.
Christopher Victorio Tyler climbs the scaffolding at the Earl show
In any case, at the show last night, Tyler was finally reunited with Earl at Coachella, performing their latest viral video, "Whoa" before a berserk mob. The set was billed as a Earl solo set, his first real one in the L.A. area since his return home approximately a year ago (there were two brief surprise sets at the Low End Theory club).
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Of course, there were initial nerves and tentativeness that reminded you that Earl is 19 years old and this was one of his first solo shows. But that caution evaporated immediately when Tyler joined him for "Whoa." Placed on the same stage, the pair generated electricity unmatched by almost any rap crew. It reminded you of a younger version of Clipse, if Pusha-T and Malice had memorized all of Madvillainy.
Timothy Norris Tyler
The set fittingly closed with "Earl," the crew's first big hit, featuring a video with levels of shock that even Eli Roth would envy. There were no blenders of pills or fake seizures this time. Instead, it looked they were having more fun than anybody else at the festival, and that energy was infectious. The crowd rapped along to every word. If we're lucky, we'll look back and remember it as the moment when Odd Future finally became the present. em>Follow us on Twitter @OCWeeklyMusic and like us on Facebook at Heard Mentality.