November 2, 2012

Song Review: Earl Sweatshirt's "Chum"

When Earl Sweatshirt went amiss at the peak of Odd Future's self-made breakout, it put a bit of a damper on the young hip-hop collective's success story, seeing as Earl's flow and rhyme skills not only rival those of its defactor leader, Tyler, the Creator, but were an integral part of turning the world's ears in their direction. After being sent away by his mother to an all-boys academy in Samoa to straighten up his behavior, it turns out the short-term sabbatical may have refined the gruff-voiced rapper's skills as an artist instead of stunting them as well. Earl is reportedly working on his debut solo album, due out sometime next year on his very own imprint Tan Cressida (distributed via Columbia,) and while it's unclear whether the new track "Chum" will appear on it, it's obvious that Sweatshirt has more to say about his life than making crude threats and tackling other immature-minded topics. The simplicity of the sinister piano loop and street beat production has a powerful effect as well as Sweatshirt gets all emo about his relationships with his 'rents and friends since returning home, marking a throwback of sorts to OF's pre-Internet famous days, but without all the shock-and-awe words attached to them. What has partially gotten away from OFWGKTA as they've become larger than life is this grounded, DIY feel to their music, but "Chum" is a reassuring sign from the collective's most bewildering figure that growing pains can lead them back on the straight and narrow as hip-hop's future.

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