The first track from Earl Sweatshirt in three years paints a new, ever changing picture of the poetic Odd Future alum.
It has been a rough year for the 24-year-old rapper. In January, his estranged father and established South African poet, Keorapetse Kgositsile, passed away from a sudden illness. In June, he cancelled his European tour, citing anxiety and depression. But after his rough and relatively quiet year, Earl Sweatshirt is back in the hip-hop spotlight with his new song, “Nowhere2go”, which was released on November 11.
The song packs an emotional and layered punch in just under two minutes. It features a particularly glitchy, kaleidoscopic instrumental that is left field compared to the generally smooth, somber beats of his previous work. Like his fellow Odd Future collaborators Frank Ocean and Tyler, The Creator, Earl is on track for a sonic shift in his music.
While it isn’t clear if the track will be a part of his new album , which hasn’t been officially announced, it surely sets a tone for what is to come. There is a significant change in attitude with his lyricism compared to his previous works. While he portrays himself on his classic 2015 album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside as a relatable young adult in the deepest pits of depression, “Nowhere2go” illustrates a wiser, enlightened narrator who is in the process of learning to cope with darkness.
Earl’s lyrics portray a more in depth look into his state of consciousness. He acknowledges the depression and anxiety he’s dealt with and highlights his current state of coping, while proving himself to be more content and grounded. He seems more at peace.
Earl Sweatshirt emphasizes that he has learned to let these feelings drive and motivate his artistic process. He has learned to reconcile his darkness with the things he is grateful for in life, like his friendships and his spirituality.
While the track may not instantly gratify his fans that have been waiting for new material, the short track unloads an entire array of ideas from the rapper that is as much exciting as it is mysterious. Listeners will need patience; it’s a personal, experimental track that trades Earl’s classic sound for something less immediate and more intimate.
Track Rating: 9/10
Track Review By: A.J. Frigoletto