On the 31st of December, Earl Sweatshirt tweeted the following: “new chunes 2018, don’t think i wasn’t at work”. The Californian rapper, former member of Californian rap group Odd Future, was out of the spotlight for a while after the release of his 2015 album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. Even though he released a few tracks here and then, including the King Krule produced Death Whistles, he stayed in the shadows for almost 3 years. Considering the fact that his last album has quickly received the status as a cult classic and the fact that he’s one of the most talented lyricists out there, let’s take a look at what we know about his next album and what we can expect:
When you think of Earl, you think of his introvert, dark and gritty style and, on the basis of the songs he played at concerts, it’s very possible that the album will be rather dark again. Even though he has stated in interviews before that he’s no longer as depressed as before, lyrically his songs haven’t changed much. On a track that’s apparently called Head Heavy, he raps: “I’m watching my step and holding my head/but home where the hopelessness sit, whereas he laments the death of his grandmother and his strained ties with his mother on the Knxwledge produced Balance. Nevertheless, the sleepy flow that characterized much of his older material at times seems to have been changed for a more active style of rapping and even though most beats have the same dreadful darkness as before, there seems to be an energized trap influence here and there.
Considering that his last album was almost entirely produced by himself under his RANDOMBLACKDUDE moniker, it seems likely that at least a few songs on the album will be produced by himself. It seems unlikely that Balance will be on the album, but his close connection with Knxwledge will probably be utilized for the album. One of the unreleased songs he performed live, a track called Mothership, was rapped over a beat of the D-side of Knxwledge’s main Stones Throw release, Hud Dreems. Moreover, it is clear that Earl has been in the studio with King Krule, The Alchemist and Brainfeeder member Samiyam.
Earl has always been relatively picky on which featurings he appears himself so it’s hard to predict who will feature on his own album as well. Pigeons and Planes reported that Mick Jenkins will most likely appear on the album. Other than that, we can only speculate. In the past few months, Earl has produced for rappers such as Wiki and underground favorites Mach Hommy and Tha God Fahim. On top of that, he has built up a good friendship with new acts such as MIKE and Standing On The Corner. Nevertheless, bigger artists such as Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar have also voiced their support of Earl’s music. On top of that, it was reported that Earl was in the studio with Kanye West prior to the release of The Life of Pablo, so perhaps we can expect some big names as well. Finally, long-term collaborator Vince Staples has appeared on every Earl project so far – it definitely wouldn’t be a surprise if he appears here as well.
So far, the songs that have been performed can be categorized into two main groups: dark and moody jazz productions and dark trap bangers. Prepare for the same type of hypnotic piano loops that also appeared on Solace but also the type of no-nonsense darkness that you’d expect on a Vince Staples project. For any Earl fan, this won’t come as a surprise.
Now, this is a long shot, as Earl has not mentioned anything in relation to the name before. Some fans have speculated that the name of his new clothing line, Deathworld, will also be the album name, but this is nothing but a wild guess. Considering Earl changed the name of his first LP from Gnossos to Doris just a few days before release, no one knows what he’ll come up with this time.
Tyler, the Creator?
Ever since Odd Future disintegrated, the relationship between Tyler and Earl seemed to be troubled, with both rappers sending (subliminal) shots in each other’s way and Earl distancing himself from any Odd Future or Golf Wang affiliation. In the past few years, the two seemed to be getting a tad closer again, performing a few old songs together at a few occasions and also appearing together on an Instagram photo. Nevertheless, Earl didn’t appear on Tyler’s Flower Boy nor do they seem to be very compatible stylistically these days. I personally doubt we’ll see a collaboration between these two anytime soon but perhaps we’ll be surprised.
It will be interesting to see what Earl’s third album sounds like. Will it be another depressed and introvert project or can we expect something different this time? Only time can tell. Check out Death Whistles below: