The album I review this week is a departure from the album I reviewed last week. Both albums may be hip-hop albums but are very much diametrically opposed. The album last week “Oxnard” by Anderson .Paak was very much a musical tour through Southern California this week’s album Earl Sweatshirt’s “Some Rap Songs” is a stripped-down no-nonsense view into Earl Sweatshirt’s psyche.
“Some Rap Songs” isn’t going to wow people with the musicality of this very raw and gloomy album. In fact, none of the songs have a real hook or chorus to grab the listener. This album also won’t hold your hand and make you feel comfortable. “Some Rap Songs” has extremely somber low key musical production that was mostly produced by Earl Sweatshirt himself. With nine of the fifteen tracks with samples from old blues and jazz songs that were slowed down and dirtied up to mimic the very downtrodden introspective rhyming on “Some Rap Songs”.
The entirety of Earl Sweatshirt’s discography is very stripped down with the artist preferring to let his rhyming and emotions do the work. “Some Rap Songs” is no different. All but two tracks on “Some Rap Songs” are under two minutes long. With the way that Earl Sweatshirt constructs songs as the listener, you can tell that he something to say and isn’t beating around the bush. “Some Rap Songs” is a much more self-reflective album than most hip-hop albums and as whole tracks feel more like diary entries than actual songs.
This album isn’t without its potential hits. The track “NOWHERE2GO” is likely to be the song that will propel “Some Rap Songs” up the charts and on to playlists. The track with its relaxed beat and very matter of fact rhyming make it easier to listen to than many of the tracks but also still fit in with the rest of the songs on “Some Rap Songs”. Another track that really stood out for me was the song “Eclipse”. The track also had no hook or chorus to speak of but the rhyming was soul-searching and with the chime loop in the beat of the song just grabs you and refuses to let go.
As a whole, I enjoyed “Some Rap Songs”. It was a no-frills deep dive into the mind of Earl Sweatshirt. It had a very definitive sense of pace and direction. When listening to “Some Rap Songs” I had no question what the artist was trying to achieve and where he wanted me the listener to go. Many musicians struggle to get to the point and tell their story. Earl Sweatshirt on his album “Some Rap Songs’ shows that is definitely not a problem for him.
Photo by Eli Watson