Earl Sweatshirt’s Stream of Consciousness Lyrical Style has Transformed into Pure Poetry, Watch Earl Sweatshirt's Entire Pitchfork Music Festival Performance On Blurred Culture
“… Next up on the Red Stage was a comeback performance by Earl Sweatshirt. The rapper/producer dropped out of last year’s lineup after his estranged father, activist and poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, suddenly passed prior to their planned reunion in South Africa. Keorapetse never had the chance to hear his son’s most recent project Some Rap Songs, which was meant to mend their relationship.
In a candid discussion with Vibe, Earl explained that he’d nixed upcoming shows in order to avoid performing in a compromised headspace. “That’s some dice I’m not trying to roll. I need to process and heal some things for myself before I can be presenting myself.” Considering the depth of emotion his forlorn lyrics and dismal beats tap into, it makes sense that he’d pace his return to the stage.
To say that Earl has soul would be a massive understatement. At certain points during the performance, it seemed as if he was so consumed with intensely personal lyrics that he’d forgotten about his audience altogether. Fans knew every word of Some Rap Songs, proving that they’re here for his evolution from crass teenage internet sensation to mastermind musician. I know mastermind musician is a lofty statement, so let me back that up. Earl’s stream of consciousness lyrical style has transformed into pure poetry, and influence from Pitchfork Music Festival’s own Standing On the Corner and MIKE has only enhanced his intricate production.
Ethereal textures stacked over cyclical drum patterns give a repetitious nature to his beats, and expertly cut and looped samples are woven together developed a sense of nostalgia and displacement. With audio snippets from the likes of James Baldwin, Black Dynamite, Western Electric Company, and his own parents as well as samples from obscure 80s composers The Ghostwriters and a number of 70s soul artists, Earl created a sonic collage on Some Rap Songs. Ranging from lullaby-like “The Mint” to nightmarish “Peanut,” the densely layered project is an inside look at Earl’s mood swinging mind.
Is it obvious who my favorite Friday artist was yet? Let me cut my Earl Sweatshirt fan-girling short and say that even with a plain stage devoid of any flashy backdrops, I was enamored with his set purely off the strength of his talent …”