Earl Sweatshirt was first introduced to us as one of the members of the left field rap collective Odd Future Wolf Gang. He was touted as the most lyrical of the group and some even said he was the next Nas. I guess this was an optimistic projection because I found this to be a hyperbolic comparison upon listening to his earlier work.
Earl’s last two projects (”Doris” & ”I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside”) received positive reviews and grew his fanbase but I didn’t find myself returning to these projects. Although I could acknowledge that the rapping on these projects was good I wasn’t compeled to listen to them more than a few times because of their depressing mood. Which is more reflective of my taste in music than the quality of these albums.
But when I heard Nowhere2go the ”single”, if we can call it that, for Some Rap Songs, my interest was reignited. the abstract sound of the record reminded me of Shabazz Palaces’ Black Up album, a project that I loved. But more importantly the song sounded like Earl coming out of depression, or atleast coming to terms with it.
My first time pressing play on Some Rap Songs was just after listening to the triumphant Championships album by Meek Mill. The sun was shining and I was in a good mood. The Earl’s album was hard to listen to. I was kinda groovin to the beats but Sweatshirt’s low energy delivery was making his voice dissapear into the instruemental for me. I thougt maybe this was due to some less than stellar mixing. And my thought at this point was; nothing has changed Earl Sweatshirt still isn’t for me.
But I kept trying to listen to the album in different settings and noticed that I was enjoying the album a little bit more with every listen. This morning I woke up feeling melancholic and went for a walk listening to the album. And I was really liking it. It’s as if the album was at my level and was walking me through a scenic path through melancholy. Slowly making our way to the exit but not without smelling the beautiful black and white roses first.
1. Shattered Dreams
Earl sees that his entourage is keeping him in a dark place and decided to make a
”I said peace to my dirty water drinkers
Psh, nobody tryna get it clean
Why ain’t nobody tell me I was sinkin’?
Ain’t nobody tell me I could leave”
5. Decmeber 24th
Earl realizes that dark times he went through had a purpose in making him the better
person he is today:
Bad apple, daily clashin’ with my kinfolk
Bad acid did damage to my mental
Show you right, it took some passages to get grown
They been called me savage from the get go
Sweatshirt focuses on his career to avoid dark thoughts:
”My mood really swinging, I peruse like a native would do
What I’m thinking I should do for the sake of myself
No games with this cash, go play with yourself”
Near the end of the album Earl plays audio clips of his mother and father. His father passed away a year before the release of the album. This is a subject Earl alludes to throughout the album. This album is very emotional and very abstract. The experimentally chopped and screwed samples on the beats, most of which are produced by Earl’s producer alter ego RandomBlackDude, are a breath of fresh air compared to the trap sound that is so prevalent today. The lyrics are also very abstract. This is probably why the album gets better with every listen as you either catch or
interpret something new in each listen. Or you could cheat and read other people’s interpretations on Rap Genius. Some Rap Songs isn’t n album that you can throw on to have a good time but I do think it is highly creative and worth being experienced. Good job Earl this is probably your best yet.
This was my second rap review. I would appreciate your feedback as to what you thought about the review and/or let us know what you thought about the album. For spam reasons I have disabled the comments on my website but you can comment by clicking on the video version of the review below