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Live Review + Gallery: Earl Sweatshirt (REBEL / Toronto, ON)

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Live Review + Gallery: Earl Sweatshirt (REBEL / Toronto, ON)

It’s difficult for most rappers today to take an avant-garde approach to their sound and make it accessible and mainstream, but then again, not many are like Earl Sweatshirt.

Due to overwhelming demand, Earl’s show was moved from the Phoenix to the Rebel in Toronto to accommodate the ravenous fans who wished to see this cultural icon perform. Already halfway through his “Fire It Up” tour, Earl hit the 6 Friday night to an absolutely packed and rambunctious crowd. This is understandable considering how meteoric his rise to fame has been over the last decade.

Once a member of the collective Odd Future, Earl hit it big back in 2010 with his debut mixtape Earl. At only 16 years of age, Earl received critical and commercial fame for his efforts and was later signed to Columbia Records. Over the years, he has gone on to release a handful of EP’s and a few studio albums including his latest and most interesting line of work, Some Rap Songs. Dropping in late November of last year, Earl’s third LP was universally accepted as being a strong contender for “Best Rap Album of the Year”. Blending an interesting mix of both jazz and hip-hop, Earl’s signature lyricism and poetic genius is on full display throughout the course of the album. This was effortlessly showcased Friday night as Earl took center-stage.

Coming out with the same dopey smile and swagger many have come to associate Earl Sweatshirt with, the Los Angeles rapper opened with “Molasses” which the crowd greeted enthusiastically. Having what seemed like the entire club bopping to the beat and his flow, Earl segwayed into “20 Wave Caps”. Both being deep cuts from his first LP, it was apparent just how many dedicated fans were present as many seemed to know each verse by heart. From there, Earl dove into a whole mix of his work from past and present. Each track seemed to blend in with the next; Earl stopping the show only occasionally to add a well-timed joke, balancing the energy in the room. The highlight for many was when he closed out with the absolute banger, “Riot!”. Considering the songs name, it seemed that many on the ground floor took up the call to action and got the mosh pit swirling as Earl walked around stage and hit each verse with ease. Ending his set without an encore and thanking the crowd with a brief smile and bow, Earl’s set was everything one could expect from the West Coast rapper; professionalism with hints of his “not giving a fuck” attitude. Needless to say, he left the Toronto crowd extremely satisfied and has proven just how far he has matured. For more dates and information on Earl Sweatshirt’s current tour and upcoming shows with Anderson .Paak, hit the link here!

Jackson Fleming
April 5th, 2019


Toronto, ON