Earl Sweatshirt is one of my favorite working artists because no one gives less fucks but cares more. He has zero interest in stardom, tedious negotiations with industry frauds, or anything resembling what most rappers engage with on their eventual path to co-headlining a tour with Lil Dicky.
Since coming home, Earl has basically dedicated his life to misanthropy, fighting for his own sanity in an insane world, and using words like reapers. You master the rules in order to break them as soon as possible. Rather than premiere new singles on whatever Lil Yachty fansite is most popular today, he’ll drop a mumble rap song that a bootlegger aptly titled “Death Whistles” on his RBMA show. And tell everyone that the rapping starts at 0:54, you “impatient fucks.”
In the monotone, possibly Ka-influenced style, he starts out trying to make a truce and ends up drinking 80 proof. He offers tangled strings of language: parachutes through the fog, streets full of sinkholes, streets full of nymphos. Slanted rhymes and bayonet thoughts. Earl always raps like he’s standing over the edge of the earth, bugged out and blunted, spitting on human fedoras. King Krule was rumored to make the beat — whoever constructed it made something that sounds like a body getting eaten by rats in a bombed out factory, eerie but strangely soothing. Summer is over.