Monday, February 21, 2011

4. Album Review: Earl Sweatshirt-"Earl"

     Of Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All's entire catalogue and 11 deep membership, the most prominent contributors are Tyler, The Creator and his little brother on his mother's side, Earl Sweatshirt. Although he lacks the inscrutability of his enigmatic mentor, Earl can and is rapping rings around most major emcees out there. I can only imagine how he will have improved after being released from his current maternal imprisonment. He looks like this.

     That picture cracks me up. His debut album Earl comes in at a succinct 26 minutes, and every track is solid gold. Or at least some form of high-grade silver.
1. Thisniggaugly
Serves as introduction, by way of Tyler. Earl talks shit, and you're just beginning to harbor doubts and dismiss him to the void filled with countless juvenile rappers when…
2. Earl
Goddamn. Is this for real? A pulsating jungle beat drops, distorting your vision with each thump, and Earl begins to spit one of the best opening verses I've heard in recent months. His syncopated, delayed flow, mixed with a dirty, harsh synth contrasts against his youthful voice, which makes the subject matter at hand even more reverberating. Not as heavy on the references as Tyler, Earl prefers to weave intricate wordplay with constant rhymes about all manner of deviancy. Savage shit.
Memorable lines:
"Yo, I'm a hot bothered astronaut, crashing while
Jackin' off to bufferin' vids of Asher Roth eating apple sauce
Sent to Earth to poke Catholics in the ass with saws,
And knock blunt ashes into their caskets and laugh it off."
"Go on, suck it up. But hurry, I got nuts to bust
And butts to fuck and ups to shut and sluts to fuckin' uppercut"
"Stop screaming bitch; you shouldn't be that alarmed
When big lips is in the attic armed with an addict's arm"
Smoke break. How is that possible? How can a 16 year old kid from L.A. blow 70% of the competition out of the water within one deft track? Emcees need to step it up. I'd be worried if I were them. 
3. Couch
It's not so much that Odd Future's motifs or topics are fresh, uncharted territory. Rape, murder, drugs, etc. No big deal. Shock tactics. And it even sounds like kids are writing and rapping this material. The references and vocabulary are childish, not in an immature way, but rather inherently. However, they are such highly talented wordsmiths, their youth and approach does nothing to detract from the experience, but actually enhances it. Almost makes me angry. Tyler and Earl spit crazy verses. The beat is alright, but you're not focusing on that. You're hanging onto their every word. The animosity is palpable. You can nearly smell the fire and brimstone churned up by the friction between them. 
Memorable lines:
"Snapple fact: you rather wack
While I am popping like a snapping crack
So high, you could see Tallahass, the opposite of cataracts
Matter fact, I am Famer John milking cattle tracks"
"Flowing like the creampie inside of your daughter
Oughta eat the bitch with salt and wash it down with a gallon of water" 
4. Kill 
Turns out that Earl is fantastic with metaphors and double entendres. Basic beat, but it works. One thing you get used to with Odd Future is that their "choruses" can often be defined as something more akin to a mantra, or chat.
Memorable lines:
"Super Saiyan, with ruthless slayings
Eat puss, sweet puss, got my tooth decayin'"
Yeah, totally.

5. Wakeupfaggot 
Reading some of these titles is like looking at an Onyx track list. Interlude segueing into the next song. Earl is awakened by his cunt mother. Not really. I'm sure she's a nice woman. 
6. Luper
Slinky beat, that later comes in with some synth pads that makes this youthful love song more effective than it has any right to be. Pretty heartfelt words. The last line is goddamn hardcore. 
Memorable lines:
"Maybe if you just looked in this direction
I'd pick my heart up off the floor and put it in my chest, then
Feel the fucking life, rushing through my body
But you got a guy, it's not me, so my wrist is looking sloppy"
"See her face while you're fixing your breakfast
And know she's in my basement, objecting to sex with
Me, murder spree, surges on with the next bitch
Tombstone reads RIP, 'cause it's pieces they rest in." 
Basements must be common in California. It seems that at least 4-6 songs have mentioned them between Tyler and Earl. I guess if you're putting the moves on your next victim, a subterranean, difficult-to-escape cellar connected to your mother's home is the best place for it. 
7. epaR
Yeah, I don't know why it's spelled like that, or even what it means. But the song is awesome. Slick hook, great verse from Vince Staples and a good narrative, in a detached, out of context sort of way. 
Memorable lines:
In context:
"All the bad bitches boo when you rap,
I can teach you how to pull 'em like a tutor, in fact
A dead one in the front, dead cop in the back
And two live bitches screaming 'Odd Future is back'"
8. Moonlight
The whole "Dance with the Devil" thing's been overplayed, but this beat is pretty hot. Slight, funny jab at Nas from Hodgy. Properly creepy and has the feel of a dark romance to it. 
Memorable lines:
"Hang and bang, hawkin' loogies in a bible
Dancing with the devil, tonight's our first recital
His hands on my hips, he takes control of my movement 
A couple minutes pass and I don't know what I'm doin'"
9. Pigeons
Earl has put the image of Jean-Claude Van Damme orgasming in my mind, so this isn't my favorite song. But it still has moments. Wait, factor in Tyler's masturbating smack sounds as well. Nevermind, this song makes me ill.  
Memorable lines: 
"Pay him some attention, he's smart and he's genius
He ain't touchin' me like Martin Sheen's penis
Y'all niggas ain't clean as my team is meanest
Hitting amputees in the knees, Jesus"
10. Stapleton 
Solid, sentimental ending to this album. More of the same. But I can't help feeling that Pigeons would have worked better as a closer. 
Memorable lines:
"So if you thinkin' 'bout this then stop thinkin' it fast
'cause my wolves ten deep, and they knuckles is brass, bitch"
"Product of popped rubbers and pops that did not love us
So when I leave home, keep my heart on the top cupboard 
So I will not stutter when I'm shoutin' 'fuck you', son
Wolf Gang, 'bout it, we ain't waitin' 'til the moon come"
Worth the time?
Earl, and the rest of Odd Future, are among the few artists who are setting the standards for being "relevant". You kind of owe this to yourself.

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