Earl Sweatshirt‘s return has been long overdue, as the ever-evolving artist shared his latest album Sick! with features from Armand Hammer and Zeeloperz on Jan. 14.
The Alchemist, Black Noise, and Ancestors are just a few of the producers Earl recruited on his fourth studio album. Instead of the looping, murky beats found on his past two projects Feet of Clay and Some Rap Songs, he goes for a more straightforward approach — swaying from the aggressive, bass-heavy “Sick!” to smoother, serene sounds on the Zelooperz-assisted “Vision.”
The ten-song, 24-minute album is another addition to Earl’s potent discography, as the poetic wordsmith doesn’t waste a single second of our time. On the album’s latest single “Titanic,” Earl raps with a more aggressive delivery as he reflects on his life and his “Sick!” experience as of late. The unconventional beat sounds more in line with “2010” than the more cleanly Alchemist-produced “Tabula Rasa,” yet feels more disorienting.
Earl easily finds his pocket and tears through each track, rapping as well as he ever has. Striving for versatility, the glitchiness and wavy nuance found on “2010” is nowhere close to the sound heard on “Titanic.” The same could be said for the shimmering, smooth production on “Tabula Rasa,” leaving the project drifting somewhere in between all three.
While the album itself is a collection of different sounds, one thing remains the same throughout: Earl is as hungry as ever, evidently curing listeners on SICK!
Listen to ”SICK!’ by Earl Sweatshirt below!
Earl Sweatshirt announces new album ‘Sick!’ with new song ‘Tabula Rasa’
After a relatively low-key year, Earl Sweatshirt has announced his latest album Sick! to much excitement to his die-hard fan base. Earl’s announcement came coupled with the second single and video for the project “Tabula Rasa” featuring underground duo Armand Hammer.
In a statement released alongside the announcement, Earl said:
“SICK! is my humble offering of 10 songs recorded in the wake of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns,” Earl said in an official statement. “Before the virus I had been working on an album I named after a book I used to read with my mother (‘The People Could Fly’). Once the lockdowns hit, people couldn’t fly anymore. A wise man said art imitates life. “People were sick. The People were angry and isolated and restless. I leaned into the chaos cause it was apparent that it wasn’t going anywhere. these songs are what happened when I would come up for air. Peace and love to Zelooperz the enigma, The Armand Hammer, and my good friends Alchemist and Black Noi$e. Peace and love to u.”Earl Sweatshirt via release
“Tabula Rasa” (produced by Theravada & Rob Chambers) features all three rappers spitting over a heavenly sample and delicate piano keys, speaking on their life experiences up until this point. The term tabula rasa is Latin for “blank state” and in the context of the song, the lyrical trio dictates what they’ve been through looking forward to their own fresh starts.
In the newly-dropped video filmed in one continuous take, one-half of the Armand Hammer duo ELUCID begins his verse in the studio. The camera then transitions toward the backyard where his other half Billy Woods is taking pictures and working on the grill. Both verses feature their unconventional, off-kilter flow but the imagery and overall poetic nature of their rhymes remain intact. Woods talks about coming from a place where they drive foreign cars on empty and ELUCID mentions how some people talk like they’ve never been hit in the face before. It paints a gritty picture over this shimmering beat, however, their contrast works wonderfully as Earl closes out the track rapping next to one of his idols, The Alchemist.
While Sick! is just a month away from release — and based on the two singles — it’s gearing up to be another shift in sound for the always evolving Earl Sweatshirt. The 10-track project will officially drop on Jan. 14 and will feature his previously released single “2010.”
Listen to ‘Tabula Rasa’ featuring Armand Hammer by Earl Sweatshirt below!