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After exile, career reset: Earl Sweatshirt Is back from the wilderness

AT Coral Reef Academy, a therapeutic retreat for at-risk boys in Vaitele, outside of the Samoan capital of Apia, your progress is tracked on a map with a bus. Around the island the bus goes, until eventually it lands at the airport, at which point you’re finally free.

Get in trouble, as Thebe Kgositsile did from time to time, and you end up spending your time in a separate house — the bus barn — more or less alone, waiting to be allowed to rejoin the group. Mostly he would get into trouble for sneaking onto the Internet, trying to check in on his other life, 5,000 miles away.

Before leaving his native Los Angeles he’d made a name for himself as Earl Sweatshirt, the most intense and talented rapper in Odd Future, the crew that in the last two years has helped upend hip-hop business models, remade ideas about the meaning of the rap underground and stoked the hip-hop culture wars as no act in recent memory has, thanks to its rowdy, outlandish and sometimes offensive content and its motormouth frontman Tyler, the Creator.



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