The Coral Reef Academy, a therapeutic reform school right outside the capital of Samoa, is where Thebe Kgositsile, better known by his stage name Earl Sweatshirt, was sent to just before his final years of high school. After causing some mischief (like cheating on an English assignment) while also struggling with an addiction, his mother figured sending him to a reform school was best. Here he faced either conforming to the rules and regulations of their manner or not having any privileges for the remainder of his stay, and that includes being able to use the restroom in private.
Earl was placed in a six-level program that slowly allowed him to regain those privileges but it remained tough, especially at first. “I was terrible. I was awful,” he admits in an interview GQ. But to be fair, who could blame him. At 17 years old, being stripped away from his daily lifestyle, classmates, and barely sparked music career has to be shitty. Eventually though, he came around and things for him started to change.
Since Earl’s return, he has released three full length albums and collaborated on many of his group’s projects, featuring on Tyler the Creator’s Wolf and Mellowhype’s Numbers. The Hip-Hop collective Odd Future, shortened for the rather lengthy Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, sparked his career but he seems to be headed into a completely new direction. In 2018, Earl released Some Rap Songs. Instead of the over-sensationalized, provocative lyrics from his debut Doris, Earl looks deep to find himself calmly rapping through an abstract, sample-jumbled tape. As he departs from his original persona, catch a glimpse of a new, developed Earl at BUKU.