Earl Sweatshirt is back, that much is certain. But as excited as the rabid Odd Future fan base is to have the young rapper back from Samoa, the rest of the music world is waiting to see how this all pans out. A lot of what was in question was answered when Jon Camaranica‘s profile of the rapper went to print today in the New York Times. It’s a surprising look at an artist whose changed immensely from what his listening audience last heard.

Among the most surprising news that came out was the fact that Earl does seem, by his own admission and the tone of the piece, genuinely changed by his time in Samoa. That’s evidenced by the fact that he won’t be rapping about rape anymore after volunteering with victims of sexual abuse, and doesn’t listen to or want to hear his signature track “Earl” anymore. Additionally, and potentially most impactful, he’s signed his own solo deal with Sony that gives him his own imprint, “Tan Cressida.” His label will be distributed by Columbia, but is still under Sony Records so he will be able to distribute his music with the Odd Future Records imprint on the CDs.

Although that’s a lot of change, he is maintaining a bond with OF, just not in the same capacity he was before. For those that expected him to slot right back into the mischievous crew might be disappointed in the shift in relationships going on. All that being said, Earl’s next planned projects are all promising in concept: A mixtape with OF producer Matt Martians, his solo, major label debut, and the long-anticipated collaboration album with Tyler, The Creator: EarlWolf.

Check out the full profile below to get more info on Earl’s relationship with Tyler, how touring is going to work and where else Earl plans to go from here. It’s worth the read.

NYT: Earl Sweatshirt Is Back From The Wilderness