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EARL SWEATSHIRT Feet of Clay gets 5.5/10


Earl Sweatshirt
Feet of Clay
Tan Cressida/Warner

5.5/10

Less than a year since his last album dropped, Earl Sweatshirt is back again with a seven-track EP, Feet of Clay. He described the release as “a collection of observations and feelings recorded during the death throes of a crumbling empire” and one that is rough around the edges but conscious with lo-fi beats to carry the stream of thoughts. Coming in at just 15 minutes total, the release boasts short ramblings dripping with Sweatshirt’s iconic sound and an array of samplings. It is chaotic but deliberate.

East is backed by a circus-like accordion on loop, contrasted by the emotion-stricken phrases Sweatshirt raps over the top. It touches on social commentary, as well as speaking of personal grief. The standout lineI lost my phone and consequently/ All the feelings I caught for my GF” reflects on a modern reliance on technology to promote a perfect relationship when this isn’t always the reality.

Throughout the EP, he touches on the death of his father and close friends, as well as a running theme of alcohol abuse. OD is one such track that encompasses these themes. With a sample-heavy backing, Sweatshirt delivers one-liners fuelled by emotion and wrapped in meaning.

El Toro Combo Meal opens with 20-year-old feature Mavi’s quick but effortless rhymes, before giving way for Sweatshirt to do this thing. It’s an echoey and moody verse touching on his influencers as well as his legacy for the industry. The track ends with “Every time a n*gga didn’t spot me/ I had to figure out my own thing/ Now we at the precipice droppin’” leaving the listener to reflect on the young rapper who has curated his own unique style and is at the top of his game.

The longest track, 4N, sits as 4:47 minutes and includes a 90-second repetitive intro phase. This lo-fi track feels like an experimental inclusion that doesn’t match the other tracks on the release. With punchy and disjointed one-liners that somehow make the track strong lyrically, the backing doesn’t stack up. Maybe it’s a hint to what we’ll see in the future from Earl Sweatshirt, however, there are much stronger tracks on this release.

Feet of Clay has managed to compile a stream of seemingly incoherent but conscious thoughts and feelings into a release that allows the listener a spark of thought, without burrowing too deep. The seven-track EP is filled with what seems like pages straight from Sweatshirt’s notebook and is dripping with effortless flow while being busy and chaotic at the same time.

AMBER LILLEY

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