Earl Sweatshirt is a pedigree rapper, with his father a famous South African poet and his fellow Odd Future members Tyler The Creator and Frank Ocean part of hip-hop royalty, Sweatshirt has both inherent and acquired skills that set him apart from his contemporaries. After a number of collaborations within the Odd Future collective and associated acts, Sweatshirt was presented with an unexpected break from music after his mother felt it was best that a then 17-year-old Earl escaped the trouble that is so often generated within his chosen musical genre. Sweatshirt returned to the US, and to his recording career, at the start of the year and began springing up as a featured artist on a number of singles throughout the year. 2013 will see Sweatshirt’s first solo release for nearly three years, and will feature his new track ‘Chum’.
With a seductive beat partly produced by duo Christian Rich, ‘Chum’ opens with a soft mixture of drums and keys which loops throughout, fluttering in between lines and pausing for hooks, creating a purpose built canvas for Sweatshirts bars. A mature and reflective return sees Sweatshirt talk about his father, his relationship with his mother and his close friendship with his ‘brother’ Tyler, witty lines concerning drugs and booze lighten the verses but thankfully the heartfelt inclusions are just as tight. The tempo set by the beat is perfectly matched by the considerate messages Sweatshirt puts across, the emotive piano leaves the listener to dwell on his problems, his strained relationship with his mother and his disillusion in regards to the music business are particularly poignant. The focus of the track remains throughout and the sentiment only grows, concluding in a sensation comeback. If ‘Chum’ is to epitomise Sweatshirts forever improving approach, then 2013 should signal a massive year for the LA youngster.