Rapper Earl Sweatshirt recently released a 15 track album. Photo Credit: Anna Hanks.
By Marc Torres
On Nov. 30 rapper, Earl Sweatshirt, released his third album titled Some Rap Songs. The album, which features 15 tracks, was mostly written and produced by Sweatshirt and a few of his close friends. The album has only two features: one by rap group Standing On The Corner, and the other by rapper Navy Blue.
The album sounds dirty and extremely DIY. Instead of sounding like it was recorded in a million dollar recording studio, it sounds like it was recorded on a laptop using Garageband. This isn’t a bad thing, because every track sounds like pure hip hop. The production while being very simple, is sample heavy. Earl Sweatshirt and his friends sample songs from the 70s, and put their spin on those samples. This album is very similar to early MF Doom albums, which is what Sweatshirt seems to be going for, since MF Doom is one of his biggest influences. From production to the actual rapping, Earl Sweatshirt is clearly MF Doom’s rap child.
Sweatshirt’s rapping while being similar to MF Doom, is also close to Jay Z. The best way I can describe the rapping on this album is, that if MF Doom and Jay Z had a baby, this would be it. There are songs where Sweatshirt is intentionally rapping off beat, much like Doom, and there are songs where he flows like the legendary Jay Z. Earl Sweatshirt shows he’s in control of his rapping like he’s in control of his production, and puts the two together to create a masterpiece.
The album starts off feeling very dark, and almost hopeless. However, the production becomes less dark and the rhymes become more hopeful as the album progresses. We get an album that feels just as bright, energetic, and vibrant as it feels dark, gritty, and hopeless. It leaves us wanting more than 15 tracks because it’s so well balanced with emotional undertones and intelligent punchlines.
My only complaint with this album would be about the cover art and actual rollout of the album. The cover art looks like a badly taken selfie, and there were two singles that were released before the album’s actual release that didn’t seem good by themselves. It seems like Earl Sweatshirt isn’t trying too hard to impress anyone. I guess that is sort of the point as he is one of the biggest and most influential “do it yourself” kind of artist. The selfie cover art is meant to say that he isn’t trying too hard because he did almost everything on the album. It’s not like he’s a manufactured artist who had everything handed to him. It shows how creative he is, and how he used the skills he learned on his own to create a completely new album by himself. His cover art says he’s not trying too hard because after all, all he’s releasing are “Some Rap Songs.”
Overall, this is one of the best rap albums of the year and possibly of all time. It is pure hip hop and breathes new life into the old boom bap style of rap. I think this album will go underappreciated for a while, but with time it will be recognized as one of the best albums ever.