It’s greater than 10 years since Thebe Kgositsile first skated into view as Earl Sweatshirt, the teenage enfant horrible of Los Angeles rap collective Odd Future. Since then, the Chicago-born rapper has largely turned his again on the provocative juvenilia that made him so chaotically interesting, as an alternative turning inwards for a collection of albums of inscrutable sermons that float over hazy, snipped beats.
Earl’s fashion and sauntering nihilism have discovered new context amid the lo-fi avenue philosophy of newer friends similar to Mach-Hommy and Westside Gunn – storytellers whose candour is matched by the nonchalance of their supply, sketching in scant however exact particulars, and occasional winking wit. Sick! continues on this vein. These 10 songs, not often greater than two minutes lengthy, are as fleeting as ideas had within the bathe or recollections of a fever dream – as within the twinkling roll of 2010 (“We acquired us a fireplace to rekindle”), the title observe’s discombobulating array of silver display screen samples or the run-on strains and homophone rhyme schemes of Lye. Musically, it’s an alluring mesh: all haunting organs, guitars soaked in reverb, and skittish, stoned drum hits.
Earl was recording a completely different album when the pandemic hit, his focus shifted and the pc containing the older recordings acquired misplaced. The intense strings of Outdated Buddy, and the dense, prolonged monologues of Tabula Rasa are the surviving remnants of the shelved venture. They provide the promise of one thing extra maybe sooner or later, with richer, bolder manufacturing: one other tantalising glimpse of Earl’s distinctive and enduring attraction.