Earl Sweatshirt
Feet of Clay


3.8
excellent

Review

by Rowan5215 STAFF
November 7th, 2019 | 54 replies


Release Date: 11/01/2019 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Little songs in the dark

Earl Sweatshirt is the greatest rapper of his generation. You're likely thinking I led with that just to get your attention – with all due respect, the hyperbole is the point. Earl's music rejects the empirical, the hypebeast, the consensus favourite and the reviewer-approved. Earl's music glorifies the intensely personal, the warped-by-subjective-feeling, the memory which informs the flash-flood of emotion informed by my own history that accompanies a line like, say, "I got my grandmamma's hands, I start to cry when I see 'em".

So when I talk about Earl Sweatshirt taking hip-hop and turning it inside out, understand I'm not just talking about the actual sounds he makes in his songs. That's important, of course, but it's been said before and more eloquently how I Don't Like Shit... moulded itself around transmission-like beats in gently decaying loops, or how Some Rap Songs rejected the maximalism and spectacle of the genre entirely for the small and shockingly intimate. But what I really mean is that Earl makes music for the furtive, glancing moment of self-examination in a whirlwind of anxiety. There are of course other rappers making minimalist, short, lo-fi rap music; Earl is the first one I found who could deliver a strange little song in the dark that sounded like it was made just for me.

Yeah, whatever, so I hear sheer brilliance in a minute-long loop where someone else hears mumbling over what YouTube would poetically dub a 'Spongebob-ass pirate beat'. Of course the presence of an interesting style does not, in and of itself, guarantee quality. The blunted-out "4N" or Alchemist-lite "MTOMB" feel like throwaways, not inherently interesting enough to justify the experiment. But for each of these is a moment like "OD", where Earl's ever-calm monotone threatens to spin out of control for the first time as he frankly reassesses his life since "Chum"; or "74", where the man spits bar after bar in that locked-in flow you wish could just go on forever, like Vince on "Norf Norf"; or "TISK TISK / COOKIES", where his ever-growing talent for flipping a sample pairs with a psychedelic edge a la Madlib. The only real thing separating this from Some Rap Songs is the lack of duration and inter-song flow; Earl's last album deserved those slightly silly Abbey Road nods as much as Jeff Rosenstock's WORRY. did, whereas FEET OF CLAY plays as self-contained little musings that seem to flutter in and out as a radio channel changes. It's hard to look up after these 15 minutes have passed and feel like you've been taken on any sort of journey or along any narrative. Then again, I don't know why that would be a surprise. We should know by now Earl favours little slices of life so cutting, or horrifying, or even funny that they leave a permanent scar – he doesn't believe in stories, lessons or morals any more than you or I do.



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user ratings (118)
3.3
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2019


42700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

ayo

unclereich
November 7th 2019


4922 Comments


Smae

Digging: Whirr - Feels Like You

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2019


42700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

ahrd

unclereich
November 7th 2019


4922 Comments


the macabre finish

unclereich
November 7th 2019


4922 Comments


I know the beat is weird but east is one of the best showcases of earls pure rhyme talent

rabidfish
November 7th 2019


5513 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

This one is as soporiphic as SRS but it doesnt even have cool production most of the time.





*SoporiFic

Digging: JP Bimeni And The Black Belts - Free Me

unclereich
November 7th 2019


4922 Comments


Props to row for keeping hip hop alive on sput with these reviews

unclereich
November 7th 2019


4922 Comments


Is that how you spell soporific overseas?

rabidfish
November 7th 2019


5513 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Sorry, english has shit rules... As in, no rules lol

unclereich
November 7th 2019


4922 Comments


No don’t be sorry i was actually curious

rabidfish
November 7th 2019


5513 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Eh? No lol. But now that i think about it, its the same as terrific, so it figures its written w an f.

unclereich
November 7th 2019


4922 Comments


English is sooo weird hence my multiple useless degrees in it 💩

NOTINTHEFACE
November 7th 2019


1893 Comments


The first two paragraphs are a perfect distillation of why I can't get enough of this guy even though I'm not a big hip hop listener. Really awesome review.

Rowan5215
Staff Reviewer
November 7th 2019


42700 Comments

Album Rating: 3.8

appreciate the kind words lads



"Props to row for keeping hip hop alive on sput with these reviews"



think back 3-4 years and this is a very, very funny sentence lmao

garas
November 7th 2019


2408 Comments


I won't listen to this, but I wanted to say:
This cover is reeeeeeeeeeeally metal.

Digging: Vaa - Ur sgen och hvd

NOTINTHEFACE
November 7th 2019


1893 Comments


That final track tho... completely breathtaking on first listen.

WatchItExplode
November 7th 2019


7275 Comments


was not aware of this...will fix

Digging: Great Grandpa - Four of Arrows

JayEnder
November 7th 2019


5805 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

El Toro Combo Meal is so fire

Digging: Counterparts - Nothing Left to Love

Conmaniac
Contributing Reviewer
November 7th 2019


25005 Comments


Really good review. This is prob a 3 for me tho

Winsomniac
November 7th 2019


8664 Comments


You wrote well and made your point well. I respect that, but I definitely disagree.

That being said, Earl has sick flow and a truly unique storytelling style. Not sure how I'll end up feeling about this album as a whole.

"Best rapper in the game" might be the most played out genre trope out there for me. What does it matter who we rate as 'best' aside from personal taste-based preference? We have access to a dumbfounding number of excellent artists these days. Sample to taste imo.



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