In 2010, Earl Sweatshirt was just another member of the upstart LA skate-rat rap crew Odd Future, who were all still about a year away from their explosive leap to mainstream notoriety. Their punk-inspired, DIY ethos was only just beginning to ruffle feathers at the tastemaking blogs who just didn’t get what their whole thing was about, and Earl had yet to be shipped off to boarding school, which is what prompted the “Free Earl” movement among their fans and made him one of the group’s standouts alongside Tyler The Creator and Syd Tha Kid.
On “2010,” Earl’s new single and video, he reminisces about those days before fame, when he was just a depressed teen butting heads with his professor mom. The Ryosuke Tanzawa-directed video captures Earl with soft focus and muted lighting as he roams his house, smoking, and thinking back on a time when things weren’t quite so simple but were perhaps just complicated in a different way.
Fans have been eagerly awaiting Earl’s next album, with frequent teasers in interviews from Vince Staples and The Alchemist only stirring the pot, but until it’s ready for release, the LA native has been featuring with impressive regularity on tracks from other cerebral spitters like Armand Hammer, Boldy James, MIKE, Navy Blue, and Wiki. When the follow-up to 2019’s Feet Of Clay is finished, it’ll have more than enough support from hungry underground rap fans to end up being one of the biggest releases of any given year.
Watch Earl Sweatshirt’s reflective “2010” video above.