NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Like pretty much every day for the last year, a fan came up to Earl Sweatshirt late last week at the Walgreens and asked the Los Angeles rapper when his new album will finally be out.
Earl did something unusual. He told the fan the truth: Aug. 20.
"And I just walked out real mysterious," he joked.
One of rap's most enigmatic stars has begun to reveal more details about his major label debut, "Doris," and he couldn't be more excited to let people in on the secret. That's because the truth is he just wants the album out. As soon as possible. He'd release it now if he could.
Three years after his debut mix tape, "Earl," was released for free on the Odd Future website, introducing one of the most exciting young voices in the game, the rapper whose real name is Thebe Kgositsile is finally ready to drop another set of songs.
One problem after another has led to multiple delays. He lost one particularly complicated song when a drive containing all the tracks crashed, and just let the ether take it rather than try to recapture the lightning. He wrote and recorded another track for the album, but then all the printing for the physical release had to be tossed because of an error that left the covers too grainy and dark to be read.
And don't forget the bout of pneumonia that forced him to cancel his Bonnaroo performance and a tour in Europe.
Bad things "just kept happening," Kgositsile said. "But now the date's out, so it's coming out then. So whatever the (expletive) happens along the way, it's coming Aug. 20. You have no idea. That wasn't even the in-depth description. That was just (expletive) ridiculous. After a certain point it just became really disheartening."
He tweeted the release date and track list Friday and revealed in a phone interview that he worked with Pharrell Williams, RZA, Christian Rich, Bad Bad Not Good, The Alchemist, Michael Uzowuru and Odd Future pal Tyler, The Creator.
He wasn't yet willing to match songs to producers or reveal any more details. Asked what else he might share, he said: "It's a great way to stay in shape."
Kgositsile will begin performing again this week. He kicks things off Monday at an unnamed Lower East Side location in New York for the "vitaminwater and The FADER present uncapped" summer series of performances by rising artists. Only 50 fans who apply through the social media of Kgositsile and the sponsors will gain entry. Videos will go up Tuesday at The FADER and vitaminwater YouTube page. Then Wednesday he'll join good friend Mac Miller on his Space Migration Tour in Connecticut.
Debuting music on the road will help the time pass as he waits for Aug. 20.
"I just want to put it out in a way that will be beneficial and will hopefully get some (expletive) sold," Kgositsile said. "But ultimately I just want people to hear it. Whatever. I want this album off my chest."