WHOLE WORLD – [Earl Sweatshirt] ft. [Maxo]

Although I’m impressed by a lot of the unique up and coming artists in the current state of Rap music, it seems like less and less time is being put into lyrics. A lot of these artists rely on a unique sound or a different voice that sticks out to fans in order to gain more recognition, but virtually no one is really taking the time to truly write lyrics that are mind-bending and thought-provoking. That’s why I’m such a massive fan of Earl Sweatshirt because he takes his time when writing lyrics and although I might not understand references he makes after my first or even fiftieth listen, I seem to always unveil new messages or references after every single time I turn on one of his songs. I was a fan of him back in his Odd Future days because even if his lyrics weren’t the most meaningful, I could still understand the abundance of time and effort that went into his intricate wordplay and lyricism.

This effort and artistry have always been a constant throughout Earl’s extensive career, and it’s no different at all on his latest single “WHOLE WORLD” which features LA-based rapper Maxo. It’s clear from the moment you press play that this track is jazzy and mysterious, as the legendary producer Alchemist lays a simplistic foundation comprised of a tiptoeing melody, calm drums, and percussion that plays in an interesting loop. This is the perfect production for Earl as of late because although his personality isn’t nearly as loud and eccentric as half of the artists in the Rap world nowadays, his words are so much more calculated and intentional, so they deserve to be heard and not fogged up with an over the top beat that could overshadow the true meaning behind the song.

Maxo takes the first verse, boasting a toned-down demeanor that is very similar to his counterpart on this song. Since I’m not overly familiar with Maxo’s other music, I’m not sure if this is done intentionally for this specific track or if he always spits like this, but either way, he does a fantastic job without a doubt. As he seems to put just as much thought and effort into his lyrics as Earl, he discusses topics like second-guessing the choices he has made in his life, embracing how the things he’s experienced growing up have changed him, and the personal struggles he deals with as he typically tries to hide these feelings from the world.

Maxo also delivers the modest and disorderly hook, mentioning how the world around him is crumbling. He does so in such a way that he cuts himself off and background echoes sort of interrupting him while he’s trying to get his words out. Finally, Earl comes in for the very extensive second verse, and he surely doesn’t disappoint. His flow, although humble, is powerful and unbroken as he uses intelligent lyrics to get various things off of his chest. His verse discusses a myriad of macabre similes and metaphors, a lot of which can be hard to decipher exactly what he means after just one listen with relatively no context. He talks about how his heart is cold but also how certain people and experiences made him that way, questioning how much damage his soul can really take as he mentions reoccurring themes such as caskets and funerals.

While Earl’s most recent music, and by recent I mean within the last three to five years or so, is full of ambiguity and vague thoughts that really take a lot of effort to divulge through and figure out exactly what was going on in his world when writing his lyrics, it’s beyond admirable. I appreciate it because since it is so mysterious and not at all straightforward, it truly makes me want to go out and do some further investigation to completely understand what he is rapping about. In a day and age of music where what’s on the surface is pretty much what you get, Earl has been constantly pushing the envelope and making sure that lyricism isn’t completely dead in the Rap community. If you don’t believe me, check out his latest song “WHOLE WORLD” and see for yourself.