Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt opens up in his second album, released digitally Monday March 23, and gets deep into the tiny corners of his mind. Even though the album was originally planned to be a “surprise,” fans were ecstatic to finally have new jams, either way. So I, in my haste to listen to the album, bought earphones at the University Student Center– mine sat on my bed back at home–since I was also ecstatic to explore Earl’s new work; his work is “out-of-the-box” and much more chill compared to other Odd Future artists. My jam sesh began. First, I am welcomed by the first track, “Huey,” with the sound of an organ as Earl confessed “Foot and hand on the gates/We was jumpin’ em, f—, I’m like quicksand in my ways.” As the album begins its trip, he vents on fame and his ex-girlfriend in “Mantra” followed by “Faucet” which literally fills one’s ears with Chef Sweaty’s braised imagery and sound of running water, a jam with words you want to soak into. “Grief” slowly wakes us up with sounds of slow motion, creaking gears as Earl hisses “I been living what I wrote/And all I see is snakes in the eyes of these n—-s” sending chills up your spine; the music video for this song only adds more to its eeriness with x-ray like images.
Earl coughs into the next song, “Off Top”–apparently he needs to “stop smoking backwoods”–but other than that, he’s clear he doesn’t trust many females which could stem from a rough upbringing he says; a song that’s short and to the point. Rapper Da$h joins Earl in “Grown Ups” as they switch off verses to a chill beat that puts you in a deep trance, it almost feels like a ride through his conscious. Wiki, a rapper from New York, jumps in with Earl afterwards in “AM//Radio,” a track that is half instrumental with skipping sounds and pounding bass. “Inside” touches on the loneliness that comes with fame and touring far from home. At the end of the song Earl says “I blow a spliff before the ink dries on the paper/And lately I don’t like s—, I been inside on the daily” expressing this inward seclusion, a common theme in the album. Next in line, “DNA” links up Nakel Smith and Earl once again, the pace picks up a little here along with a faster beat, a nice change that wakes you up from the trance induced by earlier tracks, To wrap the album up, Vince Staples joins in and ends the album in “Wool” with Earl saying he doesn’t “Give a fuck about the moves all these loser n— making now.” UHH!
Overall, this album was pretty straightforward, blunt and chill that had the ambiance of seclusion that you could feel. A much different style from typical hip-hop that, in the end, is refreshing. Maybe not an album to get pumped to before going to work or going out on a Friday night, but definitely an album to sit back and relax to as you dive into Earl’s world. Enjoy the trip!
By Hazel Ramos