Like most teenagers, I decided to get out of town for spring break. LA seemed like the best option for me—it was the polar opposite of Salt Lake City—and one fateful mid-March morning I awoke in an unfamiliar UCLA dorm room with Earl Sweatshirt rhymes blasting in my head, a lyrical hangover from the night before.
I ate a banana, laced up my Converse high tops, and threw on my favorite Atlanta Braves sweatshirt (which, I hoped, was the sort of thing a member of Odd Future might compliment), and headed out the door. My quest had begun.
There was no direct road map or GPS tracker to guide me on this journey. I had no idea where I was going. All I had were Earl’s tweets from the day before, which I had already memorized but also saved on my phone just in case I blanked on any important details. He had posed a tantalizing offer to his followers, and I was determined to take him up on it. He had tweeted, “Hai. If you’re in la come to the 7-11 on Olympic and barrington and buy this jersey and meet me. I need lunch money. We’ll be there for 15.” My heart skipped a beat. My favorite living rapper, one who had been missing in action for more than a year, was now back and willing to reveal himself to anyone who would buy an article of his clothing so that he could get a bite to eat.
Minutes after landing in LA, I was once again feverishly checking Earl’s Twitter. “Back to School,” he wrote. “Damn. I’ll still sell this. Tomorrow same time at stoner doe. Maybe.” No one wanted Earl’s jersey, which was sad but worked in my favor. I had another chance. His somewhat cryptic tweet prompted me to google “LA stoner,” which, in addition to numerous references to an herbivorous counterculture, led me to a skate park near Santa Monica, just three miles from my friend’s dorm at UCLA. It was worth a shot.