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The 30 Most Lyrical Rap Songs of the Last 5 Years

9. Earl Sweatshirt "Earl" (2010)



This ignited the wrath of Odd Future, possibly even moreso than anything released by Tyler, the Creator. It was "EARL" that hip-hop heads were passing around links to during summer 2010. In a post-Eminem climate, it wasn't so startling to hear a 16-year-old rap about cannibalism and rape as much as it was to hear someone so young with such a handle on dexterous lyricism. The song is front-to-back multis, with a relentless onslaught of intricately rhymed syllables.

Within the first six lines of the song's opening verse, Earl rhymes words and phrases as seemingly distinct as "astronaut, "Asher Roth," "apple sauce," and "laugh it off." That type of verbal flexibility is Earl's signature and the running style of the song that introduced him to the world. That talent on display here is why it was a big deal when he disappeared to Samoa, and why his follow-up, Doris, is so eagerly anticipated.  —Ernest Baker

RELATED: The 25 Best Rappers 25 And Under

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