By now you have probably read 5-10 “Best Albums” lists compiled by your favorite music conglomerates. This list is different for several reasons. First, this is a list of my (Arjun’s) personal favorite projects from the year. I did not have to dilute my taste through a group dynamic. This is my unfiltered opinion, which I think makes for a more honest list. Secondly, I did not include any artists for political reasons, which larger sites are prone to do. Lastly, this list is a bit unusual in that it combines albums, mixtapes, and EPs under the blanket term “project,” which in the age of long EPs, free albums, and high quality mixtapes is a necessity.
I am not going to write about every album on the list. Nobody has time for that. Instead, let’s hit the highlights and the lesser known projects.
Summer’s gone, and school has started. It all sounds about as depressing as it feels, and as we embark on the ongoing cycle of school, weekend, school, etc. it almost feels as if something is being stolen from us. So we go out on weekends and wreck shit up and engage in behavior our parents’ would probably not be proud of. So this tape, like almost every Tape Tuesday before it, is sort of a toast to being young. It’s about the lasting effects of summer and lots about love. Also, I’ve totally been playing Grand Theft Auto IV again lately. It’s a problem.
- Obey City – Reflect Effect
- The Coopers – Summer’s Child
- Antonio Paul – Coloured Screens
- Zak Waters – Penelope (Radio Edit)
- Mikky Ekko – Kids (Max Martin’d by Djemba Djemba Trollmix)
- Drake – Hold On, We’re Going Home (ft. Majid Jordan)
- Budo – Barcelona
- Earl Sweatshirt – Sunday (ft. Frank Ocean)
- X Ambassadors – Power Trip (J. Cole Cover)
- San Mei – Brighter
- Thief – Broken Boy
- Whinnie Williams – Break Hearts In Your Sleep
- Mikal Cronin – Weight
- Party Supplies – Love Song
- Moonlight Mask – What’s That? (Gimme That)
- Jaymes Young – Northern Lights
- Enth Degree – I Heart You
- Seekae – Another Girl
I would tell her all these fairytales, the ones I tried to write
This is what we were hoping for three years ago when Earl Sweatshirt’s eerie video for EARL was uploaded to YouTube and we were all introduced to the dark, mind-bending style of a bizarre but undeniably talented young rapper. That video had a raw, grimy aesthetic that was impossible to look away from and featured ridiculous bars from a weird little 16 year old that we could barely wrap our heads around. We couldn’t help but want more.
We had to wait, though. We had to wait after he disappeared off the face of the earth when his mother sent him to Samoa. Then we had to wait some more after he returned to the country and worked to find himself as a newly famous artist with the weight of high expectations. Now the wait is over.
Since his return, Earl has released a few songs and videos (watch “Whoa” and “Chum”) but this is the closest he’s come to the magic of that EARL video. This is what we hoped would happen when a matured Earl Sweatshirt stepped to the mic and used his newfound fame, resources, and money to build on that promise he displayed on “EARL”. Even with all the fame, money, and pressure, Earl is able to channel the raw and original style of his early work and turn it into something that’s more polished and fleshed out. Something that’s better. Ask anyone who’s followed the careers of once “promising young rappers” and they’ll tell you how rare that is.
Watch below as he hangs out in dark alleyways with weird masked characters and delivers wild wordplay and striking imagery from his signature drawling flow over a heavy instrumental — then stick around for an impressive verse from Vince Staples that’ll be worth at least a few rewinds. Look for Earl Sweatshirt’s solo debut Doris on August 20th.
Earl Sweatshirt is back at it with a video directed by Wolf Haley, Tyler, the Creator’s alter ego. The song starts hilariously with Tyler saying that people think the Earl wouldn’t go back to his “vintage” sound now that he released Chum and got “all personal.” The thing that amazes me about Earl’s lyricism on tracks like this is how seemingly random the words maybe be, yet how deeply metaphorical they can be at the same time.
This video has all the makings of the Odd Future of old–ridiculous, unexplainable things (why is that old women in a tutu), disgusting, sickening actions, and an overall “I’m confused but that was dope” vibe. That, combined with Earl spitting the way he was after he released EARL back in the day, should please both new OF fans and those who have been there for years. I’m looking at you, Jamarcus.
The Misadventures of a Shit-Talker
Oh, this is dope. Last year, NY artist Kilo Kish came onto the blog scene (is that a real thing?) with her spellbinding HomeSchool EP. Since then, she’s made some really cool friends and with their help, crafted this 9-track (not including the intro) project. Who are these “cool friends” you ask kind of rudely? Well, Childish Gambino, Earl Sweatshirt, SBTRKT, and Star Slinger–just to name a few. Cop the awesome-weird, experimental project below. Really though it’s like the trippy R&B version of Royalty.
Speaking of Royalty, the CG feature…”Ghost”
We don’t know who Captain Murphy is, and I have a feeling that won’t change until Captain Murphy wants us to know who Captain Murphy is. Below are two cuts from a project entitled Du∆lity. “The Ritual” finds the Captain rapping over the instrumental of Jay Electronica’s “Dear Moleskine,” which was noticeably absent from the recently released tracklist of Act II: Patents of Nobility (The Turn), Jay’s debut album. “Mighty Morphin Foreskin” carries a distinct Madvillain influence. Check it out.
If you’re feeling extra wild, you can leave your guess for who CM is in the comments below.
Over the past year and a half, I’ve gotten increasingly into jazz music. My dad’s favorite album is Miles Davis’ magnum opus Kind of Blue, so I was introduced to the genre at a young age and I’ve always enjoyed listening to it when my family played it at parties and when I saw it performed live. However, I never really bothered to start my own collection of jazz music. That all changed when a friend of mine got a record player and we started to listen to old jazz records on an almost constant basis. Ever since then, I’ve gotten pretty serious into the classics, but hadn’t really found any up and coming jazz musicians that I really was excited about.
That all changed when I first heard BBNG. I’ll admit, I didn’t listen to them until they first started doing their Odd Future covers, but ever since then I’ve been really excited about each new release they’ve put out.
It’s really cool to me to see such a contemporary jazz group–a group that covers an incredibly diverse range of genres, spanning from Earl Sweatshirt’s “Earl” to Kanye West’s Flashing Lights to James Blake’s CMYK–get such independent groundswell. It’s been really cool seeing their progressing recognition–of course, the Odd Future members rep BBNG all day long, but artists such as Questlove have also taken notice of BBNG’s young talent. It’s interesting to see the clash of their style with the style of Odd Future–both acts have vicious, spitfire delivery, offering their art with no regrets and no reservations.
To put it in more direct terms, they give zero fucks; they’re here to make what they want to make, to play what they want to play, and they do it damn well.
Check out some of my favorite tracks streaming below, and head over to BBNG.com to download the entire album, free of charge. Best $0 you’ll ever spend in your life, I promise you.
No one above the age of 21 was involved in the making of thisalbum, it was created by a bunch of kids. This album wasrecorded in one 10 hour session with no song having morethan two takes, it was mixed and mastered completely byourselves. Thanks to our friends, family, loved ones and anyonewho fucks with us.
Tonight, after an interview with Tyler and Peter Rosenberg on Hot 97, Odd Future’s Earl Sweatshirt performed with the rap collective for the first time since returning from Samoa. He performed Orange Juice with Tyler as well as his song Kill off of EARL.
Lost an erection and found it in a Catholic nun. – Mr. Sweatshirt
It’s nice to have you back, Earl.
Just as D Prep speculated last week, Earl Sweatshirt has officially returned. He’s now caught up on social networks! Twitter & Tumblr. Earl tweeted that if he got 50k followers tonight on Twitter, he’d give us the full version to the snippet he dropped earlier today, which you can view here.
He hit 50k about 10 minutes ago and has given us the full version of his brand new track called “Home.”
Update: Tyler The Creator had some strange tweets yesterday. Arjun pointed this out to me and leaves us both questioning if Tyler is upset that maybe Earl is going on to do his own thing? Does Tyler have #whitegirlproblems? Is this Odd Future trolling their fans? Did something already happen with Earl? We can only play the waiting game to see what will happen with the return of Earl.
“And I’m back. Bye.”
Earl Sweatshirt is reportedly, finally, coming home. The young and allegedly troubled MC is coming back to Los Angeles, or so says Alternative Intervention Models. AIM is a group that specializes in aiding troubled young adults through the medium of art. Recently, AIM sent over representatives to work with the young rhymesayer, and apparently it went very well as they have announced that he is returning back home.
AIM had the following to say about the situation:
“Yes indeed, the allegedly lost and arguably most gifted young lyrical prodigy (known for over 10 million YouTube views before age 18), is on his way back home to Los Angeles where he will finish high school before launching the next phase of his widely anticipated rap career — under the wizened guidance of Leila Steinberg, artistic mentor who famously first guided music and screen icon, Tupac Shakur.”
I’m interested to see how this hiatus effects Earl–can we expect the same guy to come back, the artist who gave us videos such as the one below, or do you expect to have Earl return a changed soul? How do you think Steinberg’s presence will effect him? Sound off in the comments.
Shouts to Con over at P&P for the update.