Reviews

Earl Sweatshirt & The Alchemist “VOIR DIRE” Album Review

VOIR DIRE

Earl Sweatshirt & The Alchemist

  • Genre: Hip-Hop/Rap
  • Date: 06 Oct, 2023
  • Content: explicit
  • Track(s): 11
  • ℗ 2023 Tan Cressida, Inc./ALC, under exclusive license to Warner Records Inc.

In conjunction with renowned producer The Alchemist, rap superstar Earl Sweatshirt released their joint album, “Voir Dire,” on October 6. This happens after more than two years of mysterious messages and rumors about the record. Two additional songs featuring the rapper Vince Staples from California are part of the streaming release.

It would be difficult to find anything to criticize about this album. In order to give us a cohesive record, the duo contributed their talents and produced dope tunes with soulful music and sophisticated poetry.

Album Cover Art

Earl Sweatshirt &Amp; The Alchemist &Quot;Voir Dire&Quot; Album Review, Yours Truly, Reviews, June 17, 2024

The grim reaper is positioned behind what appears to be the defendant’s stand in a courtroom, but what somehow he has a lifesize gavel in his possession, which he bangs on the first letter of the album title.

Tracks and Features

Opening track “100 High Street” immediately plunges you into a sumptuous string section that conjures up visions of expansive island views. With languid guitars, jazzy keys, silky sophistipop, and vinyl-skipping vocal loops, Alchemist keeps illuminating the dark corners of Earl’s universe. Earl can still detect shadows, though, because of how dim his hearing is.

He lets his voice meander outside the boundaries of a conventional rap bar as he gets closer to 30. In contrast to Alchemist’s piercing, monotonous beats, his flow swirls as though it’s falling into a sinkhole. The album’s rhyme schemes are shaky throughout; choruses are either fictitious (like the drawn-out repeated verse in “Vin Scully”) or lack rhyme. On “Vin Scully,” Earl recalled his strategy for battling “the ghost inside the crib” and other mental monsters. Earl doesn’t spit bars in little pockets here, but his flows never come off as careless or sloppy. This is partly because of the writing’s suspense.

There are times when it seems as though Earl is picking up on the Alchemist’s warm optimism. He looks backwards while expressing a rare zest for life, echoing his beautiful ten-year-old confessional “Chum” on the nostalgic soul of “All the Small Things”: “Cherish every moment, let it go/The cherry on top, the weight offa my heavy soul.” It’s as though you could actually see him get happier.

It’s intriguing how Earl Sweatshirt seems to perform at his best on songs with uninteresting rhythms. Despite the uninspired beat in “Sentry,” Earl raps a determined and rebellious stanza that improves the song. However, it appears like MIKE’s performance on the track is lacking in both quality and vigor. Mike sounds unbearably monotonous on the song.

The Alchemist deserves credit for pairing “Mancala” with a stylish, incredibly effective church beat that will have you murmuring “amen” over and over. Also, kudos to Earl Sweatshirt for masterfully manipulating the track with incredible wordplay, complicated flows, and thoughtful lyrics. If you have one more kudos to whip up, give it to Vince Staples for delivering one of the year’s best rap verses.

Despite the album’s free-form composition, it has a satisfying conclusion. “Free the Ruler” sounds like it is dedicated to Drakeo the Ruler, a former collaborator of Earl’s who was assassinated in a backstage stabbing in December 2021, just over a year after his release from prison. The tragedy of Drakeo makes the previous “Free Earl” chants seem somewhat insignificant, and perhaps Earl feels the same way.

It’s unclear when the song was recorded, and the only overt Drakeo reference is Earl’s utterance of the song’s title in the final bar. Nevertheless, it’s a moving way to end the song after a verse in which Earl counts his blessings and encourages those who need it.

Tracklist

NO YOUTUBE TITLE TIME
1 Play 100 High Street 1:34
2 Play Vin Skully 1:53
3 Play Sentry (feat. MIKE) 2:16
4 Play Heat Check 2:29
5 Play Mancala (feat. Vince Staples) 2:41
6 Play 27 Braids 2:05
7 Play Mac Deuce 2:08
8 Play Sirius Blac 2:08
9 Play Dead Zone 3:07
10 Play The Caliphate (feat. Vince Staples) 3:50
11 Play Free the Ruler 2:26

Album Theme

Over the course of the album’s eleven songs, bare self-reckoning dominates. Earl appears resolute to improve, move forward, and heal despite everything.

Production Credits

The Alchemist produced the album.

Stream

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