To say Doris is really good or even great is an overstatement. The instrumentals were jazzy, lively, and dark and he’s a damn good lyricist. But his monotone flow didn’t want me to go back to it much. Yet, this new Earl album is a good different from Doris but at the same time it still has it’s discerning problems.
During the winter season I feel like this album’s title would have more relevancy, but that’s because it’s too damn cold, like Earl on the album.
Jokes aside… let’s be serious for a moment.
Earl handles most of the production under his producer moniker Randomblackdude, with one track produced by Odd Future member Left Brain. The atmosphere they give us throughout the album, are very dark, negative, depressive, or like we are in a dark room being suffocated by ambient noises in our head. The instrumentals are different in their own way but at the same time it’s the tone that makes it feel redundant after a while. Not to say it is a bad thing, but it doesn’t really help the album’s case. I do like that it is consistent, but without variety in some simplistic instrumentals I just feel like he was missing something.
Not everyone is perfect, but here there are some positives about this album, like how it’s better then Bronson’s Mr. Wonderful.
The track Grief is a real standout. Earl produces this track with low synths and cymbals, very simplistic, but it embodies the atmosphere perfectly. Earl goes personal on the verses, and on his second verse he raps as if he was high. It sort of correlates backs to Earl’s old flow on Guild off Doris; this is a good thing though. And when Earl raps, “Chasing dragons, tryna make it happen, on a mission/Step into the shadows, we could talk addiction,” I get that tingle from clever wordplay and metaphors. The track then ends with a jazzy drum loop to spearhead it in a different direction like the ending of Chum, also off Doris.
Another fresh surprise was to hear Wiki from Ratking featured on the track AM // Radio. This track is weird instrumentally. The instrumental has some kids cheering at random points through the first verse of the song. It’s a good weird due to the irony in it. The kids cheering represent joy, while Wiki raps about how he’s always been a troublemaker and a druggie rapper with guilt. The track transitions to a simplistic instrumental that feels like it’s only there to imprint the ambiance in your ears.
Throughout my multiple listens of this album I’ve come to notice that Earl has matured lyrically, but at the same time he’s more personal. I’ve heard of rappers being personal but this is much.
At least his flow got better. In some tracks he shows more emotion in his voice. He’s not as monotone and that has me excited for his next project. His flow is exceptionally well on the pen-ultimate track DNA featuring skater, and the other half of Hog Slaughter Boyz, Na’Kel Smith. These two go off each other well, and each have distinguishingly great flows.
The album is very short, but it doesn’t feel so short. Since the album embodies ambiance and slow beats, it can’t really feel fast. It’s a pretty good album in all, but to say it’s a great album is really pushing it. Don’t forget to keep the last track Wool on a loop; the Vince Staples feature is phenomenal.