Album review: Earl Sweatshirt returns with “SICK!”

Earl Sweatshirt is, in my humble opinion, a hip-hop powerhouse. His last solo project was an EP released in 2019, so this full length album is a solid return. His return to the rap game also led to a world tour combined with Action Bronson and The Alchemist, both big names in the music world. After this album, there is no doubt that I will have to secure tickets to the trio’s concert. 

Just like Earl’s previous projects, this album is darker, more real, and very sample-heavy. Having a rather edgy start to his career with his work with Wolf Gang Kill Them All and the hit Adult Swim show “Loiter Squad,” Earl moving into a more concrete style and his verses having real connections to his life feels satisfying for me to see.  

I decided the best way to fully digest this record was to listen to it in my 2005 Honda Civic with standard speakers. This was a very good idea. The mixture of unique samples and heavy hitting beats, verse or not, each track holds water. Right off the bat “Visions (feat. Zelooperz)” instantly became a favorite. The cascading piano in the beat along with the steady “Ohhhahhh” vocal sample creates the perfect musical canvas for Earl and Zelooperz melodic verse structure.

Earl could be described as a “vibe artist”, someone who excels in their certain genre, but he isn’t necessarily an artist I would play at a party, or with a group of friends that don’t listen to him. The vibe he creates is not entirely depressing, but definitely lower energy, an almost magical form of nostalgia. This record is a hip-hop album, built around heavy beats and sample use.

Having Earl back feels like a good omen in 2022. I loved “SICK!” and plan to keep digesting as time goes on. Maybe WhoSampled, a website that sources samples, can update with this record and I can listen to some of those OG tracks he skillfully used here. I give Earl Sweatshirt’s new record a solid 4.1 out of 5 Mikey Heads.

 

Welcome back from break, and welcome to the new semester. I’ve been loving writing for The Concordian and supplying my fellow Cobbers with some hot music takes. This semester, I am hoping to hear what music YOU have been listening to! 

If you have a single, EP, or a full length album you want to see reviewed that’s been released in the past month, shoot an email to mikeyalbumreviews@gmail.com. Make sure to check if your submission has been chosen by reading “The Concordian,” released every-other Thursdays via print, or online weekly at theconcordian.org.

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