Looking ahead to new material from Action Bronson and Earl Sweatshirt.
The internet is still buzzing over To Pimp a Butterfly but it’s not the only hotly anticipated release this month. Two critically acclaimed artists from opposite coasts of the US are also set to reveal their latest offerings later this week. From the east comes a larger than life persona bringing his own fresh take on that classic Big Apple sound. Representing the west is an extremely promising young rapper who’s been tipped for big things for a while now. Both have a strong track record so far and have built their own devoted but expectant fan-bases. They may have very different sounds but if they can both deliver on the hype then this could be a very good month for rap fans.
Earl Sweatshirt first became known to the hip-hop world as part of Tyler the Creator’s Odd Future collective. His compelling and warped debut, Earl, was released in 2010 to much acclaim. Earl’s rise was then interrupted by a three year hiatus during which he was apparently sent to Samoa by his mother to keep him out of trouble.
The gap didn’t appear to have much negative effect on his abilities however as his next album, Doris, was hugely successful, topping the Billboard rap album charts and garnering rave reviews.
With Doris nearing it’s second birthday, Earl’s third album is set for release next Monday. The album was apparently supposed to appear unannounced but the surprise was given away when Sony made it available for pre order on iTunes yesterday. Earl himself was clearly less than delighted by this development.
While it may have lost the element of surprise, this latest project is cause for excitement amongst hip hop fans. Earl is one of the most original voices in the genre. His ability to express deeply personal, dark subject matter in such an engaging way makes him a welcome addition to a scene that can sometimes seem repetitive and superficial.
The first glimpse of the album came two days ago with the arrival of “Grief.” Clearly Earl’s lost none of his readiness to address the darkness head on. The anger tinged with sadness is still very much here. Over a hallucinatory beat Earl paints a picture of paranoia and solitary existence: “N*gga, I ain’t been outside in a minute/I’ve been living what I wrote/And all I see is snakes in the eyes of these n*ggas.”
If you’re looking for upbeat fun this probably isn’t the album for you. Don’t expect to hear much of this in the RnB room of your local Liquid Envy. But this has the potential to be one of the deepest and most interesting hip-hop records of the entire year. If “Grief” is anything to go by then “IDLS,IDGO” could well be a stand out.
Artist: Action Bronson
Album Name: Mr Wonderful
Release Date: 24 March 15
Action Bronson is already a cult legend thanks to a steady stream of quality mixtapes and well documented on-tour adventures. An accomplished chef as well as a rapper, Action’s Youtube culinary series Fuck That’s Delicious showcases the same fun-loving attitude evident in his music. The Queens native has a distinctively New York style reminiscent of the city’s golden era. There’s enough of his own unique brand of humour and raucous energy however to keep things from getting too derivative.
That playful delivery combined with impressive lyricism and smooth production has made Action one of the biggest names in hip-hop still yet to release a studio album with a major label. Action’s last mixtape, Blue Chips 2, was well received by critics. A verse on ASAP Rocky’s epic collective track “1 train” and his inclusion in XXL’s freshman of 2013 alongside Joey Bada$$ and Schoolboy Q also helped boost his profile.
This upcoming record offers Action his chance to announce himself on the big stage. So far the signs are looking positive. A few tracks have been released so far and not one has strayed from the fun filled manic humour that we’ve come to know and love from the big man. “Easy Rider” gave us a great guitar riff beat along with the obligatory amazing video. “Baby Blue” saw a nice collaboration with Chance the Rapper. “Actin Crazy” meanwhile is probably the single that will grab the most mainstream attention with Action laying down his trademark luxurious bars over a pounding beat.
All the ingredients are looking good. Let’s hope Action manages to put them all together and serve up something worthy of securing a place at the top table.