EP Review | Earl Sweatshirt – FEET OF CLAY

This extended play was released on November 1st this year. I was super nervous about this project. Earl Sweatshirt is one of my favorite rappers ever, which is why Some Rap Songs is the most disappointing album I’ve ever heard in my life. The fact that almost every single other person on the planet who listened to it seemed to love it made it much more frustrating for me. I wanted to like it so much, but I just couldn’t. As a result, I went into this particular EP with a lot of apprehension; my biggest fear was that it would just be a retread of the aforementioned album. However, unlike Some Rap Songs, this project actually has some really cool cover art, so that was a good sign. Obviously that doesn’t really have anything to do with how much I’ll enjoy the music itself though, so I was still worried. Even if I ended up not liking this project—and bumping Earl from my list of favorite rappers as a result—I was still hoping that I’d at least enjoy some of the material on this project. Anyway, every track is self-produced, except where noted.

1. 74

Spoiler alert: I’m disappointed. I feel like I dislike this song for different reasons though. I didn’t like SRS because I thought the beats were wack and I didn’t care for Earl’s apathetic delivery. I like the beat on this track though. If it was just an instrumental I’d probably dig this a lot. I don’t even mind Earl’s delivery on this song. I really just don’t like the way he’s flowing at all. Let me start from the beginning. First of all, the beat sounds like they recorded the droning hum that you hear when you’re in an airplane and then just laid that over a separate instrumental. I’m fine with that though. It doesn’t affect my enjoyment of the song at all. I like the beat. It’s not amazing production or anything, but I do like it. I think Earl rapped well too. His verse is dope. The lyrics were cool, and I liked the way he was rhyming. I just don’t think it fits well over this beat. To me it sounds like he recorded the verse a cappella and then just laid it over a random instrumental. This would’ve worked better for me if the beat didn’t have any percussion at all. If that were the case Earl’s flow wouldn’t have sounded as awkward to me. However, as it is right now, I can’t fuck with this. It’s not a bad song, but I can’t say I enjoyed it personally. It’s mediocre to me.

2. EAST

This is where it took a nosedive. To be fair, I wasn’t really expecting this song to be that great because a lot of people were saying the beat was trash. Even the people who fuck with this project were saying “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS BEAT?” and it wasn’t really clear whether they actually liked it or not. I was very intrigued because the idea of super weird, off-kilter production is pretty enticing for me. It ended up being way worse than I ever could have imagined though. My first words after starting this song were “WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS BEAT?” just like everyone else. I literally died laughing for like 3 minutes straight. This beat is fucking terrible guys. I’m sorry. It hurts to say it. But it hurts even more to listen to this unbearable production. It literally sounds like a joke. It sounds like he laid a bitcrusher effect over an accordion loop, and it’s painful to listen to. The instrumental itself was already hilarious to me, but then I imagined other people listening to it and nodding their heads like it was a fire beat, and that made it 10x funnier. For some reason this song made me think of Jarreau of Rap. I’d much rather listen to that bullshit than this though. This is deadass one of the worst beats I’ve ever heard in my life, and y’all know me; I’m generally pretty lenient when it comes to production. I’m not hard to impress. This is far worse than anything on SRS though. Shit, I might’ve been too harsh on that project because compared to this it might as well be To Pimp a Butterfly. This song is an atrocity. I didn’t even like Earl’s rapping on this track. It was really awesome lyrically, but, once again, I didn’t care for the way he was flowing at all. This song is fucking dogshit.

3. MTOMB produced by The Alchemist

I actually had a lot of hope for this song because I really liked the track that Earl & The Alchemist did for that Bread EP that came out last year. Thankfully, I actually did end up thinking this was very good. The production from The Alchemist is really dope, and I liked the way Earl was flowing over it a lot. There’s really not anything I dislike about this song honestly. I just wish it was longer. I feel like this song gave me musical blue balls. I was really enjoying it, and then it ended without a climax. I like this song more than anything from SRS, so I guess that’s a good thing. I don’t know. Since I think the preceding song is worse than anything from SRS this project obviously has more extreme highs and lows. I was just glad that there was at least one song I enjoyed personally. This shit is dope.

4. OD

This is another song that I actually ended up liking. The beat is weird as hell; it sounds really glitchy and almost Electronic influenced. I like it though. Earl’s mispronunciation of the word “pugilistic” in this song is a bit…

Rohno

However, the verse itself is really fucking good. Once again, Earl’s flow sounds like a run-on sentence, but it kinda works due to the minimal percussion. The way he was rhyming was awesome too.

Healing cuts, but really I’m refilling the pump; no concealing it
The enemy up in arms bearing snubs; they just break to see the cup
My memory really leaking blood
It’s congealing, stuck
Pieces in slums, one
Peaking in the dust, weaving

I don’t like this track quite as much as the preceding one, but it’s still very good. In terms of the actual rapping from Earl, I think this one’s better. I just prefer the production from The Alchemist. I fuck with this song though. It’s a good track.

5. EL TORO COMBO MEAL featuring Mavi produced by ovrkast.

This song is really fucking good, but I didn’t love it quite as much as I wanted too. First of all, that first verse from Mavi is fucking amazing. Rappers from NC have really been killing it this year. He spazzed on that shit. That’s definitely the best verse on the whole project. I love it. The production is really great too. The one thing that really tarnished this song for me was the weird vocal effect on Earl’s voice. That shit is annoying as fuck to me. It’s really frustrating because aside from that, I think Earl’s verse is dope. It’s nowhere near as fantastic as that of Mavi, but he still did a really good job. The lyrics are great, and I liked his somewhat melodic delivery too. This’d probably be my favorite track on the whole project if it wasn’t for that annoying vocal effect. I still really like the song though. A shitty vocal effect certainly isn’t enough to prevent me from replaying that glorious Mavi verse. This shit is dope.

6. TISK TISK / COOKIES

The first part of this track, TISK TISK, is really glitchy, but I like the beat a lot. Earl’s flow is catchy too. It sounds like he’s using another vocal effect, but it’s not nearly as annoying as the one on the preceding track. This one just makes it sound like his voice is coming from a phone. TISK TISK only lasts like half a minute before transitioning into COOKIES. It’s pretty abrupt. I don’t really mind it though because COOKIES is dope. The beat is great, and I really like the way Earl is rapping. His flow is tight, and the lyrics are fantastic.

Reelin’ from loss
Inner remorse; divorce your spirit and corpse
I tell you I’m hearing it all
The wisdom that’s in your remarks
The silliness in you, I mourn
The moments that’s tender and soft
I’m in ’em, the memories got strong
But some of them lost

Overall, I think it’s really good. It’s actually one of the better songs on the project in my opinion. I haven’t decided on a favorite track yet, so this might be it. I’ll have to give it some more thought. It’s dope as hell though. I really like it.

7. 4N featuring Mach-Hommy

Much like Westside Gunn, Mach-Hommy is another one of those artists who I don’t care for at all, yet who seems to have a shit ton of hype from backpackers. I don’t think he’s a bad rapper at all. He just rarely ever impresses me. I tried listening to his Haitian Body Odor project, and I actually couldn’t get through it. I was so fucking bored that I literally fell asleep, and I didn’t see a point in trying to listen to it again when I woke up. At that point it was pretty clear that he just wasn’t for me. I have heard some features that I’ve really liked from him in the past though. I thought he was great on Evidence’s last album. I was hoping that this’d be one of those rare occasions where he really impressed me, but that unfortunately wasn’t the case. I think his verse sucks ass. Some of the lyrics were kinda cool, but the dude’s flow and delivery were really wack to me. Earl’s verse was definitely better, but it wasn’t amazing or anything. I mean, it was good. It’s not enough to save the song for me though. I also really don’t like the longwinded intro and outro on this track. The mixing also seems shittier on this track than the rest. It’s obviously an intentional decision, but it’s one that I don’t care for. I don’t even really like the beat on this track. I think it’s a wack song personally. The only thing I like about it is the verse from Earl. This shit sucks.


So obviously I didn’t really care for this project overall, but I think it’s a big improvement over SRS personally. Earl’s rapping is just as good as it was on that one, but the difference here is that I actually like a lot of the production. I think the project is mediocre as a whole, but I probably would’ve loved some of these songs if they were slightly tweaked. A song like EAST can’t be saved though. Well, that’s not completely true. The verse itself wasn’t bad. That beat was a mistake though. That shit really brought this project down, especially since it’s so short. There are only 7 tracks, so there really isn’t a lot of room for error. A song that bad has the power to destroy a project this short. I don’t think this is bad, and I’m actually kinda surprised by how much I ended up getting out of it. I’m really just ready for Earl to ditch this sound. I think this is a little different from SRS, but I want a drastic change. The real dream would be for him to give me a full album worth of Solace material. I love that EP. One thing I’ve always appreciated about Earl is that he never gives us the same product twice. None of his projects sound the same. I mean, this is pretty similar to SRS, but I don’t think it sounds like leftovers from that project like a lot of other people have been saying. If SRS never happened and this was the follow up to Solace I’d probably be a lot more disappointed. I was apprehensive going into this project though, so I ended up being uh… Well, I wouldn’t use the word “satisfied.” This isn’t what I want from Earl. This is easier to accept though. If I don’t end up liking his next project, I’ll seriously have to reconsider his placement in my list of favorite rappers. I’m just glad I didn’t end up thinking this was legitimately bad.

Favorite Song: TISK TISK / COOKIES
Least Favorite Song: EAST

58

Watch the videos below for more thoughts on this project.

C Minus
Grade: C-

2 comments

Tell me if I'm trippin'

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s