We never expected Some Rap Songs to be a major label album release. Not because Earl Sweatshirt did not have his inventive lo-fi opus in him, but because releasing a skittering and blocky affair on a major record label seemed close to impossible. As Earl revealed in a new Pitchfork profile, it damn near was.
Per Pitchfork: “He acknowledges that Some Rap Songs may seem out of left field to some of his fans—or to Columbia, the major label that released it. ‘Figuring out how you can be radical from within the system breaks your head,’ he says. ‘That’s where I’m really at: that frustrating-ass place. And this is the best attempt I got. Only so much can happen above ground.’ He says Some Rap Songs is the last Earl Sweatshirt album on Columbia. ‘I’m excited to be free because then I can do riskier shit,’ he adds.”
The good news is that Earl did, in fact, figure out how to break the system within the system. Some Rap Songs brought to light the sounds and names of artists making a grimy and visceral subgenre of hip-hop that deserves major label celebration. Earl Sweatshirt did his due diligence, and he did well by his collaborators and fans with this record.
While Some Rap Songs is reportedly his final album on Columbia, it is rewarding to hear that Earl is excited about the future. His freedom should only spell weirder, more experimental, and more soulful by Earl standards music. Great things happen when we give Earl his space to grow and transform.