I’m baa-yack you beautiful audiophiliac motherfuckers. And with all these great tunes popping up like insecurity and pimples at a high school dance, there’s no time to fuck around.
Let’s dig in.
Back at the turn of the ’10s, Earl was part of the rap supergroup Odd Future. For those that don’t own a colour TV, Odd Future is a rap version of Buffalo Springfield or Cream. But instead of motherfuckers arguing who’s better between Stills vs. Young, or, Clapton vs. Baker, most of the Odd Future debate fan forums revolve around Tyler the creator vs. Earl Sweatshirt. Sure, like in these other examples, there’s always some crazed fan painting their face with, what you hope is, organic dark chocolate and screaming, “What about Frank Ocean, Richie Furay, or Jack Bruce?!” My answer? Who gives a fuck? It’s like these motherfuckers still asking people who their favourite Beatles is. Really? Are we still doing this shit? Music is not some Michael Bay movie. There’s no reason to gather supergroups to blow up a musical astroid.
With each release, Earl digs deeper into who the fuck he is. His first release in 2010 (Earl) was made up of a lot of fictional stories of rape, murder, and violence. You know, that kind of rap subject matter that used to be edgy as fuck at some point in the ’90s but is now the equivalent of a thick pasty yawn in an old folk’s home. Earl himself even addressed this. But, credit where credit’s due, the motherfucker was only 16 at the time and he spit like Sylvester with lines like, “I’m a hot & bothered astronaut, crashing while jacking off to buffering vids of Asher Roth eating apple sauce.” With Doris (2013), Earl got honest, “Get up off the pavement, brush the dirt up off my psyche”. He still kept those thick, juicy, and sticky rhymes that his fans loved to chew through, but now this shit wasn’t just for show. It’s with I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside (2015) that Earl really opened the fuck up. He talked about his depression and social anxiety and expressed this shit in unbelievably beautiful ways. Check it:
“After this, mind in the trash next to where my fuckin’ passion went
Dodge fanatics, half-a-Xanax when i’m traveling six hours or more
Brick out on the tour, got kicked out of the morgue
Spit cattle manure shit, shit, rally the Horsemen
Tally the corpses”
Just look at how thick that shit is. That’s as dense as diamond and as dark as coal and addresses subjects like: lost passion, hatred of fame, drug dependency, social anxiety, depression, and the apocalypse, all of that in the time it takes to swallow pills. Motherfucker gives William Blake a run for his money.
Now that we’re all caught up, we’ve got Some Rap Songs. Earl isn’t just lyrically thick on this shit, he’s structurally thick. Check it: The title of this album is as inauspicious as fat-free yogurt. The album rings in at under 25 minutes with 15 songs. The beats and production are low-fi and slow. Earl structures this album like Vonnegut does with a novel. Why is this structure fucked? Because the subject matter is fucked. The Structuring mirrors the subject matter. Now that’s some high-end dope ass artistic shit. On top of all this, Earl doesn’t need to spit fast and dense to get his point across. Dude seems to have grown the fuck up at 24 years old. He remains honest with lines like, “I think I spent my whole life depressed. Only thing on my mind was death. Didn’t know if my time was next.” But now he’s got succinct with his thickly webbed lines like, “Noose on my chain is gold” and “Stuck in Trumpland, watching subtlety decay.” Shit is dope as fuck.
Watching Earl continue to grow and live is more compelling than a soap opera gang bang. He’s an artist that has all the tools for success but hates fame. He’s a master of words but hates presentation. He’s bigger than life but he’s more relatable than the postman. If you step back from the magnifying glass we tend to throw on famous folks, Earl’s just some guy. And with each album release, Earl continues to strip off the layers of grandeur that rap music has gathered as armour to protect itself from its public. The world needs more motherfuckers like Earl. He’s the antithesis of this showboating narcissism made famous by fuckers like Kanye and Trump. Music like this can cure this strange modern disease. When time and focus are power, put yours into something that actually matters. Put that shit into someone that might actually care. Fuck crazy. The world doesn’t need more crazy. Let’s give honesty a chance.