In one part of rap right now, lots of rappers are publicly expressing their disappointment about MTV's recently issued top ten "Hottest MCs" list, which is specifically designed, each and every year, to make rappers publicly express their disappointment. So, in the manufactured-content and conversation-fodder department, job well done, I guess. In a different part of rap, one that has more to do with things that I think should matter to people, Odd Future's prodigal son Earl Sweatshirt continues to make the argument that he is about as skillful a lyricist as exists in the world right now. With an elevated visual sense, too. That shot [...]
I wish there was more close-up footage of a frog's eye blinking in Earl Sweatshirt's new video. But there is some of that and it is very good! I think I would like to watch a full 3:10-long video of a frog's eye blinking to a soundtrack of Earl reciting his intricate tongue-twister rhymes about his life. As emotionally moving and in-depth as they are astounding from a technical perspective. "Mama often was offering peace offerings…" he says, and your jaw drops at how the simple transposition of those two words, "often" and "was," can open the door for a line so beautiful.
I didn't even know that Thebe Kgositsile, a.k.a. Earl Sweatshirt, went to my elementary school before I started leafing through old copies of "The Poet Tree," the poetry collection from our alma mater, Community Magnet School in Los Angeles.
His poem "Mummies" (my favorite of the two here) needs no explanation, except to note that it's incredible to see a five- or six-year-old with the swagger of Biggie or the like. This bigger-than-the-world-and-all-the-scary-things-in-it mentality is something that many rappers front, but what makes Earl Sweatshirt so amazing is that he's genuinely had it since he was a tot (just compare his poem to the one below his to see the [...]