Album Review: “Some Rap Songs” by Earl Sweatshirt

by Julian Orozco

A three year-hiatus from solo projects had many fans thirsty to hear some new content from the poet they call Earl Sweatshirt. In a follow up to his second studio album, I Don’t Like Sh*t, I Don’t Go Outside, Some Rap Songs follows the same pattern of a handful of brief songs, none lasting longer than 2 minutes and 45 seconds. He released two singles of this album, “The Mint” and “Ontheway!” that were perfect nuggets for what to expect with the whole album. Concise songs filled with rich one-liners and punchlines that reminded us that bar for bar, Earl is at the top of the food chain. Even though this is a neatly bunched group of songs, after one listen, you can’t really put it together. The intricacies of his lyrics leave you having to rewind in order to understand the bars he is laying down for us. The beats, also provide a sort of chaotic yet soothing vibe that only Mr. Sweatshirt (and MF Doom) can masterfully rap over. Very rarely did I catch myself bobbing my head to these songs, not because I wasn’t feeling it, but because I thought that if I didn’t move, I could concentrate on the lyrics better and not have to read the script off of Genius.com. This album reflected Earls’ current mental state with the recent passing of his father and the recent passing of frequent collaborator and friend Mac Miller. In the dark way that has always made Earl standout amongst his peers, he offers his most emotional work. He features both of his parents, Cheryl Harris and Keorapetse Kgositsile on what I believe to be the most emotional track of the album, “Playing Possum”. With his messages blunt and attitude gloomy, Some Rap Songs is Earl’s most raw album yet. Earls work leaves us feeling as scatter brained and as isolated as he feels. Although he has avoided the spotlight as of late, Earl lets us know that he still misses being around his friends and fans. In “Veins”, Earl says:

It’s been a minute since I heard applause

It’s been a minute since you seen or heard from me, I’ve been swerving calls

It’s been a minute since I heard applause

We really get a sense of the pain and anxiety that Earl has gone through. We get lost in the sadness of his lyrics and the pain of his beats the same way he feels lost in his own mind. His album cover says it all. We are given a blurry picture of someone who looks like Earl, smiling, I think. The cover shows us that Earl doesn’t know if he is happy and doesn’t know if he is still himself. Although this might be Earls best work, it pains me to realize that this might be his best work because he is at his lowest point and needed an outlet to be heard. Hopefully, I’m wrong.

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