Earl Sweatshirt's Tumultuous Career, Departure From Odd Future, and Disappearance

Starting young in music comes with drawbacks, including your mom pulling you out of stardom for school — just ask Earl Sweatshirt.

Alex West - Author

Mar. 25 2024, Published 8:16 a.m. ET

 Earl Sweatshirt performs on stage
Source: Getty Images

Thebe Neruda Kgositsil, more commonly known as Earl Sweatshirt, was on track to become a major name in hip hop, even joining Tyler, the Creator's alternative collective. An invite into that group came with benefits and likely fame. However, Earl sort of fell off the radar and everyone's wondering where he went.

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As high as Earl climbed, the star's fame plateaued. Although he still has a career as a rapper, it looks a bit different now, including a progressive and unexpected move.

 Earl Sweatshirt performing on stage
Source: Getty Images
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What happened to Earl Sweatshirt?

After Tyler, the Creator discovered Earl through MySpace, he mentored him and even produced much of his early work. However, there came a point when Earl stepped away from Tyler and the group he found himself in.

Earl was young and his mother believed that he was in a very troubled place in life. As a result, he was sent away to Coral Reef Academy, therapeutic retreat in Apia, Samoa.

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While Earl was away, fans certainly noticed which caused many to speculate about his disappearance. They didn't see his mother's choice as a move to his benefit, but one that was against his own will and prevented him from creating music.

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“I could have never imagined in my wildest dreams that this decision to send him away to a school that had the kind of support for his emotional well-being that he needed would turn into a story about locking him away,” she told The New York Times. She added, “I would’ve had to have talked about his personal life in a way that I think would’ve been really unfair.”

By early 2012, Earl was back, silencing the calls from the "Free Earl" movement. He returned to his work with Tyler and other high-level artists, including a feature with Frank Ocean.

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Earl's career progressed, but he left Tyler's group, Odd Future, in 2015 and confirmed the details by tweeting, "No sympathy for male virgins who're in their feelings about Tyler pointing out and solidifying the obvious." This came as a response to Tyler implying that the group had disbanded.

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Not long after, Earl left Columbia Records, but continued in his career with some music releases. After the end of 2019, though, he went silent again. This time, his mother hadn't sent him away.

After about a year of taking a step back, Earl returned to music with new releases. In 2023, Earl had a unique approach to promoting his work. A suspicious hyperlink on his website led to puzzles for fans to solve.

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The puzzles were teasing a new project and were hosted with Gala Music. Earl sparked controversy with that move due to the site's connection to NFTs and Web3.

Regardless, the album dropped accordingly. As for Earl's personal life, he has become a father and is in a committed relationship with Aida Osman. Overall, fans can rest assured that Earl Sweatshirt is certainly still active in music. While the next steps for him are unclear, he's still someone in the music scene to watch out for.

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