Earl Sweatshirt is back. That’s the sentence we’ve all been waiting to hear. Now, here’s some background on his new track, “Nowhere2go.”
“Nowhere2go” is as introspective as it is resourced. He borrows production from Adé Hakim Sayyed (f.k.a. Sixpress) and Booliemane (a.k.a darryl10k a.k.a. Darryl Johnson). Both producers belong to [sLUms], a progressive New York hip hop collective that Earl has inspired, mentored, and now collaborated with. Instead of passing the torch, dusting off his hands, and moving on, Sweatshirt sticks around to learn from his students.
Earl’s flow on “Nowhere2go” sounds a lot like MIKE’s trademark flow, which is a textbook technique in the [sLUms] realm. MIKE’s flow used to sound more like Earl’s, but it has since blossomed into an archetype of its own. Now, the [sLUms] sound is unmistakable and it sets the precedent for the new New York. With off-kilter chops, left-field sample grabs, rubbery snares, obscure signatures, and a thoroughly disguised rhythmic backbone, [sLUms] producers Adé Hakim and Booliemane craft enough swing to make you seasick - and it’s great.
“Nowhere2go” employs every aspect of this modern New York sound with stuttering vocal chops, warped rides, unpredictable toms and percs, and a stark absense of closed hi-hats. Earl shouts out his cross-generational collaborators: “I be with MIKE and Med (MIKE, Med) / Nowadays I be with Sage and with Sixpress, ya digg? / I’m in L.A. with Glen, please come and claim ya kid.”
Earl has hosted multiple episodes of “Stay Inside” on Red Bull Radio with Gio Escobar from Standing On The Corner. SOTC is an avant-garde art ensemble out of New York and a frequent collaborator of [sLUms]. MIKE features SOTC on his album May God Bless Your Hustle, and SOTC features MIKE on their album Red Burns, to name one of many overlaps. “Nowhere2go” is the first amalgamation of this creative lineage, from teacher to student, then back to the teacher.
Ever since I Don't Like Shit I Don’t Go Outside dropped back in 2015, dozens of leaks and fan-made Earl albums have been posted on YouTube. Most of the leaks have about thirty thousand views, and others have over a million. Since most of Earl’s unreleased songs have only been heard at his shows, many leaks are re-EQ’d reconstructions of phone clips from his concerts. This obscure process birthed a filthy, refried sound quality born out of necessity.
The twenty-three-second “New earlsweatshirt” interlude on Vince Staples’ FM! served as a mouthwatering teaser for “Nowhere2go.” It’s unclear whether “Nowhere2go” is a preview for something bigger, but it seems likely. For now, there’s no release date, title, track-list, or credit list announced for a new Earl Sweatshirt album. In awe of “Nowhere2go,” and in anticipation for his next move, all eyes are on @soapmanwun.