LA rap is going through an incredibly fruitful phase, with MCs like 03 Greedo, Vince Staples, Nocando, YG, Busdriver, G. Perico, and, of course, Kendrick Lamar illustrating the depth and diversity of the city’s scene. And then there’s Earl Sweatshirt, who has a large and loyal following, can flow with any of ’em, and seems to exist entirely on his own island. Earl has always marched to his own beat, but never more so than on his third studio album, 2018’s Some Rap Songs. With 15 tracks that fly by in less than 25 minutes, it’s an unruly collection of jazzy vibes, unorthodox rhythms, noisy samples, sketchbook ideas, rock-solid rhymes, and very few hooks. It’s dark, disorienting, hopeful, and thrilling, all at the same time.
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