Without question, one of the best albums of 2018 was Some Rap Songs by Earl Sweatshirt. In a new profile for Pitchfork, the rapper revealed that the album is officially his last project with Columbia Records because he wants to “do riskier shit.”
“Figuring out how you can be radical from within the system breaks your head,” he said. “That’s where I’m really at: that frustrating-ass place. And this is the best attempt I got. Only so much can happen above ground.”
In the interview, Sweatshirt also acknowledged that Some Rap Songs didn’t necessarily appeal to the label or his fan base for that matter because he made it for a “specific chemical equation”—black listeners. “I’m trying to communicate myself using sacred theme music for my soul and for people’s souls,” he said. “I’m trying to submit this as my contribution to the tapestry. I spent time making sure that it stands out but still fits into something that’s bigger than me.”
Scroll down for a list of highlights from the piece and read it in full here.
On returning to the mindset from his debut album Doris:
“It’s like that point when you was 16: It wasn’t to chart, I was thinking about the art of it. That type of awareness lets you do the experimental sh*t that you want to do. Between these two modes, quick-rhyming technician and experimentalist, a conversation is taking place about who Thebe Kgositsile is and what Earl Sweatshirt represents.”
On producing authentic music that is true to himself:
“I hope the internet is not God for kids… I don’t want to be sitting up piping all this negativity, bro. Because my heart is telling me, when I start to wander down them sentences, that n****s is figuring it out, and I can’t sh*t on they efforts. I’ve really been trying to infuse myself into my work, and a part of that self is the importance of family.”
On how “Peanut” was inspired by the death of his father, Keorapetse Kgositsile:
“The way that was mixed, the fucking hiss—that song feels like when depression hugs you. That moment was like engaging that hurt but still keeping the humanity intact by being really honest, getting myself to a point where it’s not a wallowing situation.”
On the experience of losing a parent:
“My dad dying was the most traumatic moment of my life, but grief doesn’t just work as sadness—funny shit happens in there. I’m depressed every day and I be having fun. I feel like the music feels like how the brain is wired to work: The most traumatic shit can happen and you could think how you need Lysol… I lost my father so that I could be reunited with my family.”
In other music news, Kanye West pulled out of headlining Coachella due to an absurd dome demand.