Earl Sweatshirt packs a surprise with new release

Dom Brazeau

Earl Sweatshirt’s fourth studio album release, “FEET OF CLAY,” came less than a year after 2018’s “Some Rap Songs,” a lo-fi, experimental album that was viewed as one of the best rap albums of the year. 

With a three year wait between his second album, “I Don’t Like Sh*t, I Don’t Go Outside,” and “Some Rap Songs,” fans were expecting it to be quite a while before they would hear from Earl again. Unexpectedly, he announced his newest project on Oct. 31 and released the album just a day later on Nov. 1. His album features two underground artists, Mavi and Mach-Hommy, who both had great projects in 2019 like “Let The Sun Talk” and “Wap Konn Jòj!,” respectively. 

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“FEET OF CLAY” is a very short album, with only seven tracks, and has a run time of a little over 15 minutes. This album matches the style of “Some Rap Songs” but doesn’t feel like leftovers from the previous album. The intro track, “74,” has Earl rapping about how he has been living since his last album, with a simple and dark beat that matches his voice.

The song “EAST” has one of the worst beats I’ve heard in a long time. With a looped accordion blaring throughout the track, this appalling beat is still one I can’t stop listening to. It’s like a car accident; it’s so bad I can’t look away. Over the twisting beat, Earl raps about the loss of his father, grandmother and his girlfriend, as well as his budding alcoholism.

“MTOMB” also discusses his father’s passing over a laid-back instrumental with a vocal sample. “OD” is similar to “MTOMB” both in beat and in topic. “OD” has a few lyrics that have jokes embedded in them.

“EL TORO COMBO MEAL,” featuring Mavi, has a long verse about similar morbid topics that Earl has been rapping about continuously on this album. Upon first listen, Mavi sounded a lot like Earl, but after a few more listens, it was easier to tell them apart. Earl’s verse is, again, depressing and meaningful. 

“TISK TISK / COOKIES” is two songs put into one. The second part of the song seems to reflect on the loss of friendships, which could be related to his former rap collective, Odd Future.

The final track, “4N,” features Mach-Hommy. The hip-hop artist delivers only chorus on the entire album, and it repeats with a chill beat that is played in reverse. Earl’s verse reflects on gun violence, which is one of the few times he touches on this topic in any of his work. 

Overall, “FEET OF CLAY” is a strong project. Earl goes for a mood that sounds dark and depressing, and it seems to match where he is in life. He doesn’t overstay his welcome with quick, hard-hitting songs that don’t feature a chorus. Similar to the rest of his albums, I will continue to play this front to back often.

Rating: 8/10

Favorite: “4N” and “EL TORO COMBO MEAL”

Least Favorite: “EAST”

Dominic Brazeau can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter @DomBrazeau.