I like everything about this. The old man goofball glee that Letterman gets from saying “Earl Sweatshirt.” The Temptations back-up dancing provided by Tyler and Earl during Domo’s verse. Tyler’s air guitar solo. The St. Louis Cardinal’s Starter jacket. Earl’s return to become everything rap fans had hoped. Tyler’s purposefully corny tucked in shirt and mockery of molly-popping kids in leather. Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
It’s also funny how the would-be rap enfant tumblirible has tempered the message to tell kids to go play outside and enjoy the weather. This is the era in which Odd Future gets old fashioned. Bonus points for the mockery of 2 Chainz and Khaled and Diddy Riese references. The drop the mic and walk off the stage. Dave wandering around, begging them to come back. Tyler taking a selfie with Letterman, and Dave asking if he’s ever been to “Bend, Oregon.” It is all hilarious and easily my favorite late night performances in recent memory, along with Killer Mike on Letterman.
If you wanted to trace the evolution of the group, you could point to this and the original Fallon appearance. That was intended to terrify and baffle. Gnomes. Smoke. Wild jackal leaps. “Rusty” has Earl back in the fold and it reminds me of the early skits that they posted to YouTube talking about Keith Sweat concerts, before the media turned them into monsters. Of course, Tyler helped encourage this, knowing full well what would happen — more media coverage, more fame, more money. But this seems like the next step for them, ingress into whatever’s left of the mainstream without taking themselves seriously. Directing a Mountain Dew commercial but using it to introduce Felicia the Goat. For what it’s worth, Wolf is excellent. Even if you disagree, the packaging and artwork are more creative and inspired than any rap record released during this decade. Tyler might be constantly joking but there are things that he takes more seriously than any of his peers. He also understands the importance of a horse in a durag.