The fact that hip-hop and jazz these days socialize with each other more and more frequently have benefited both parties. For Earl Sweatshirt it resulted in one of last year’s best albums. Following a couple of relatively non-productive years, he positioned himself on Some Rap Songs as a vital force within freewheeling, fragmentary, almost disintegrating, lo-fi-resembling and J Dilla-influenced rap music. Even though he may appear careless the album probably is his most personal, in many ways the result of the grief that followed on the death of his father – South African poet and activist Keorapetse Kgositsile. As a listener you get fascinated, confused, entertained or touched, sometimes all at once.
Back in the day, Earl Sweatshirt’s wasn’t perhaps the member of much hyped LA-collective Odd Future who got most headlines or attention, but in his role as linguistic equilibrist he became sort of a fan favorite. It feels like he’s been around forever, and in a way he has, despite the fact that he’s only twenty-five. He’s grown up within, and with, music. Luckily, he got a good start when he was a kid – his mother used to read aloud to him from Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, Jeff Chang’s classic book about the history of hip-hop culture.