I know we’re only three weeks in, but it must be said that Earl Sweatshirt has already dropped an early album of the year contender with his latest album SICK!, the follow-up to his fantastic, critically acclaimed album Some Rap Songs.
Earl’s pen has always been in the upper echelon of today’s rapper, but he’s managed to once again come back even better than he did last time. Throughout his career, you get the feeling that Earl wants to be as concise as he can be and on SICK! He’s even more poetic and abstract than he was on the game-changer of an album that was Some Rap Songs. Just like on that LP, the lyrics on this album venture deep into Earl’s mind and touch on grief, trauma, and joy. However, on SICK! Earl sounds more hopeful, while still reveling in a world that makes no sense.
Duality is the driving force on the album, even down to the LP’s sonics. Half of the songs on this album sound like the same lo-fi, experimental sound that New York rappers like Mike have been pioneering for the better half of the last decade and the other half sound like the dark and muddy beats you might hear a rapper like Chicago’s Lucki to be on, both rappers Earl has previously worked with. At the same time, lyrically Earl is sounding more hopeful than previous releases, while still having the doom and gloom that fans of the rapper have always enjoyed from him. This could be because of the two major influences for this album: becoming a father and the ongoing pandemic. Either way, it makes for an amazing listening experience that is concise just like Some Rap Songs making it extremely replayable. Even if it doesn’t quite reach the same heights that LP did.