Odd Future's Earl Sweatshirt returns home, releases new song
Long a source of Internet speculation, the question of Sweatshirt's whereabouts took on a new twist after the rapper -- whose real name is Thebe Kgositsile -- appeared to post a message on Twitter Wednesday (2/8), reading simply "home," with a link to a YouTube video which showed the performer in his bedroom, promising to release a new song if he gained 50,000 Twitter followers that day. A few hours later, after achieving that goal, he released the new song, as promised, on his website.
Speculation on Sweatshirt's situation had grown to a fever pitch among Odd Future fans in recent months, after the rapper went missing following the debut of the then-16-year-old's debut album, "Earl," in 2010. Although he later confirmed that he was enrolled at Samoa's Coral Reef Academy -- a residential school for troubled youths -- Odd Future seemed to embrace and even willingly agitate the brewing controversy, crossing out his name on a flyer for the group's first proper hometown concert in July 2010, at West Hollywood's Key Club, and scribbling in "Will not be there due to mom." The group's "Free Earl" crescendo reached its peak just before the New Yorker piece appeared in May of last year, when Sweatshirt claimed he was at the school of his own volition and asked fans to stop vilifying his mother.
Perhaps merely to fan the flames and see how high they could rise, the group and its associates began publicly expressing doubt that the words in the New Yorker article came from Earl himself, a situation not particularly cleared up by an overly complicated explanation/update from the New Yorker the following month.
Odd Future is currently preparing, with or without Sweatshirt, for a run of U.S. dates later this spring, as well as four U.K. shows next month. Tickets for the 11-member collective's U.K. dates sold out in a matter of hours.
9 - Tempe, AZ - Marquee Theater
11 - Boulder, CO - Fox Theatre
13 - Minneapolis, MN - First Avenue
15 - Toronto, Ontario - Sound Academy
17 - Miami, FL - Fillmore Miami Beach
20 - New York, NY - Hammerstein Ballroom
21 - Boston, MA - House of Blues
23 - Philadelphia, PA - Electric Factory
25 - Atlanta, GA - Tabernacle
28 - Birmingham, England - O2 Academy
29 - London, England - Brixton O2 Academy
31 - Manchester, England - Academy
1 - Glasgow, Scotland - ABC
2 - Dublin, Ireland - Olympia
7 - San Bernardino, CA - Paid Dues Festival
9 - San Francisco, CA - The Warfield
11 - Seattle, WA - Showbox SoDo