Finally, depressive rap I can emotionally identify with. Courtesy of the Tan Cressida-pushing OF dyspeptic. As someone who spent his early 20s using this album title as my mantra, it’s nice to see a snarling anti-social rapper who isn’t interested in stardom. The themes remind me of early Pharoahe Monch, but the style is like Screw Tapes meets Stones Throw.
This is the Earl that no one asked for. Tyler’s production gave him anarchist energy. It made that first tape gleeful and savage at the same time. Without his obvious influence, the best rapper ever named after a utilitarian article of clothing, went somber. He indulged his hate, made a weird fucked up, lethargic underground blunts-laced-with-Xanax rap record. And then he got Vince Staples to C-Walk all over it. It might not have been a classic, but it was the alienated moody bastard child shit that you had to admire.
For album #2, Earl appears to be doubling down on the gloom. It’s cult rap, not best-seller and the game needs more people willing to not play it. The “Grief” video is Earl as a human X-Ray, sparking blunts like a Buddhist about to light himself on fire. It’s a brilliant kid aghast at the con artists and frauds. He continued to play the role, lambasting Sony for announcing the album, which led to people being distracted from the video.
It’s understandable — the song scarcely works without the video. The beat sounds like a decomposing cadaver having a panic attack. He chants “Good Grief” like he was a disgusted Charlie Brown. He went from rape references to wondering what the fuck this all means in record time. This is some fun crush shit, sulfur in your ice cream, as good as grief gets.