Earl Sweatshirt Launching Columbia Imprint, Planning Future Albums
Earl Sweatshirt Launching Columbia Imprint, Planning Future Albums

Earl Sweatshirt seems to be free at last.

Chants of "free Earl!" accompanied much of the early buzz and mystique surrounding Odd Future, the Los Angeles hip-hop collective that broke big in 2011. The teenage MC, whose "Earl" video became a viral hit, disappeared as the group began to draw national attention and performances in New York and Los Angeles.

Last year, Complex magazine claimed to have tracked the MC to a boys' school in Samoa, and the New Yorker shed additional light on the situation through an apparent email correspondence with the MC.

"I miss home. I don't have any definite date though. Even if I did I don't know if I'd tell you. You'll hear from me without a doubt when I'm ready," Earl reportedly wrote in response to the email queries.

Odd Future: The Billboard Cover Story

Odd Future's Tyler, the Creator, announced the next release from the collective, "Odd Future Tape Vol. 2," on Tuesday, stating the collection of new material would arrive Feb. 20 -- but without Earl.

"Sweatshirt Will Not Be On The Tape," he tweeted, before unveiling his fellow MC's new Twitter account, @earlxsweat.

In his return to the web, Earl promised to release new material, if he reached 50,000 Twitter followers. His count stood at nearly 27,000 on Wednesday evening.

His future with Odd Future is unclear: Tyler's Twitter page alluded to a dramatic situation, while Hodgy Beats wrote on his Twitter page, "Nowadays people have personal intentions tryna use my ni**a earl… Earl isn't free."

Odd Future, however, are notable pranksters -- it may take a more public appearance to prove that the MC has finally returned.

Questions? Comments? Let us know: @billboard

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