EARL SWEATSHIRT Whole World (ft. Maxo) gets 7/10

Earl Sweatshirt feat. Maxo
Whole World
Tan Cressida/Warner


The former Odd Future prodigy returns with up-and-coming Maxo for this downtempo release. Whole World is a song from last year’s Feet of Clay mini-album sessions, and will make it onto the forthcoming vinyl pressing. Feet of Clay had mixed results after the classic Some Rap Songs released the previous year. Compared to the Feet of Clay tracks, Whole World benefits from having a clearer focus, although the vibe is certainly downbeat.

The Alchemist-produced track features a slow minimalistic drum and bass rhythm and single guitar notes sounding lonely as they ring out into the empty spaces without reply. The feel is definitely that of a funeral march, and this is born out of the lyrics as well.

Both Earl and Maxo share similar approaches to the track, with Maxo starting things off with some dark self-reflective rhymes: “I had to face what the man in the mirror says/ Grew complacent with the human that I was/ Angels sittin’ on my dome/ Had to recognize all the feelings I disguise”.

Earl piles on the melancholy with his abstract poetry such as: “Catacombs, after the glow, the battle carry on/ Get all that malice out your soul, the efficacy strong/ I finish what I start, the funeral was hella long/ I fell asleep, the effigy was short”. He touches on the lost naivety and joy of childhood, family matters, war and death. One senses these series of tunes over the last few years mark a significant time for Earl, as he leaves the euphoria of his Odd Future days as a teenager, and matures in public as he grapples with the dark realities of living in his new grown-up world, including the recent death of his father.

Not a party starter by any means, Whole World showcases two young beat poets working out their demons over a beat that’s so slow you can’t even really nod your head to it. Nevertheless, it’s a fascinating look into both these rising artists’ continued evolution.