Earl Sweatshirt’s Surprise EP Packs Alchemist Production For A Bold Artistic Trip

Yesterday (October 31), Earl Sweatshirt took to social media to announce a surprise seven-track EP dropping. In a statement to fans, he elaborated on the project with one sentence: “[Feet Of Clay] is a collection of observations and feelings recorded during the death throes of a crumbling empire.” With less than 24 hours notice, Feet Of Clay arrives.

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Today’s brand new project shows Earl diving deeper into his newfound love for off-kilter and abstract lo-fi raps. Aesthetically, the entire EP is shrouded in warm vinyl crackling, soulful basslines, and jarring vocal samples, while Earl’s rapping seems deliberately off-beat in places. The EP features MAVI and Mach-Hommy, as well as production from The Alchemist and Ovrkast. At just 15-minutes of length, Feet of Clay begs listeners to dissect its workings with multiple listens.

Despite the project’s upfront abrasiveness, a standout cut from is “TISK TISK / COOKIES,” which begins with a short intro/re-frame: “F*ck, ni**a, Promise I’ll never forget / And I promise I knew what it is / When I knew you, you wasn’t a snitch, snitch / Tisk-tisk, ni**a“. After the short verse is repeated, “COOKIES” begins with the mark of a glitchy, dusty piano loop. Here, Earl continues the theme of a loss of friendship: “Run for your life, I took the cookies, put ’em to the side / Sunny day, but I’m cooking inside, Muddy path, but I’m taking my time / I need cash money, baby we live, I remember they ain’t save me a slot / Back up when ni**as hit the jackpot / I got sense, I’m tryna get me some guap / I need the tint, just like my daddy skin, dark / I see your ni**a, too bad he a mark / I see real ni**as just jab, they don’t bark / I see you try’na rekindle the spark.” The song is warm and nostalgic and clearly showcases the rapper’s new carefree, free-flowing style of rapping. The veteran notes on Apple Music: “This is the oldest joint on [Feet Of Clay]. I made ‘COOKIES’ and ‘TISK TISK’ and another song that’s not on the album all in one little sitting. The transition [from ‘TISK TISK’ to ‘COOKIES’] was cool, and also it just makes the joint make sense. The math is there. Like, ’tisk tisk,’ run for your life. Sh*t be making itself sometimes.”

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Last November’s Some Rap Songs marked Earl’s last contractually binding album to major label Columbia. In an interview with Pitchfork published earlier this year, the triple-threat MC/producer/DJ shed light on the situation, saying: “I’m excited to be free because then I can do riskier sh*t.” Feet Of Clay is undoubtedly yet another step toward music that challenges listeners to understand it, for better and for worse.