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The legendary Earl Sweatshirt is bringing back that vintage Odd Future feel with his new track “2010”, racking up over 1.1M views in its first week with an unheard-of 10% like ratio - a testament to the pent up demand for his iconic, gritty, and thought-provoking bars.
The opening lines of “2010” feel like an immediate breath of fresh air, with Earl Sweatshirt’s intricate wordplay and distinct, laid back-yet-fully-present delivery feeling like the first hit after an extended T-break as it dances over punching 808s and a wild, ethereal synth melody masterfully produced by Black Noi$e. Unbothered by trends, unsolicited opinions, or the need to stick to a conventional rhyming pattern, each line of Earl’s relentless flow is a fully-baked thought, equally hard-hitting as it is poetic.
The beautifully simple visual, directed by Ryosuke Tanzawa, perfectly matches Earl’s distinct vibe in that it somehow manages to feel raw and polished at the same time - cycling through artfully constructed shots of Earl rapping to camera in a beautiful house located nowhere-in-particular - creating the dreamlike effect of being plopped down in the middle of the action, with no real beginning or end.
Throughout the song, Earl gives us tiny glimpses into his world and the windy, tumultuous path he’s taken to where he’s at (“Made it by the skin of my teeth, thank god”). The opening line hints at his current objective in life: to create opportunities for others (“Ima need a bigger bag for my cohort / Tryna make a millionaire out of slumdogs”). A later line: “It’s a new day / Who got all the aces?” could be referring to his re-emergence, and the position of strength a thoughtful, lyrical artist with a long history and deep connection to his fanbase has in today’s watered-down musical landscape. The final line sounds like one of the strategies that got him to where he is today, and a reminder to himself how he’ll be able to continue moving forward: “I didn’t look back when I broke soil / Cuz every time it did it hurt more.”
Ever since his early days as a key member of Odd Future, Earl Sweatshirt’s magnetic personality, unique delivery and intricate wordplay combined with his decidedly unbothered attitude have made him a clear standout and fan-favorite. His 2013 album, ‘Doris’ is a certified cult classic - with classics like “Chum”, “Woah” feat. Tyler the Creator and “Sunday” feat. Frank Ocean. His later, uniquely-titled projects ‘I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside’ and ‘Some Rap Songs’ showcase some extremely interesting experimentation and both contain great songs - but never quite scratched the itch for that vintage Earl Sweatshirt.
Now with the release of “2010” (the title itself providing the biggest clue), it seems that Earl is returning to peak form doing what he does best: breaking soil and not looking back. His first order of business, releasing an Alchemist-produced project completely anonymously uploaded to Youtube, waiting to be discovered. Based on the response to “2010”, whenever he is ready to release new music (or whenever someone finds the hidden project) there will be a huge demand for anything Earl Sweatshirt related.
Check out the video for Earl Sweatshirt’s “2010” below - and if anyone does find his hidden Alchemist-produced project on YouTube, don’t keep it to yourself!