"Only so much can happen above ground."
That's one of many wise quotables tucked into a new Pitchfork interview with Earl Sweatshirt. The interview, conducted from Earl's Los Angeles home, sees the artist—real name Thebe Kgositsile—giving a bit more insight into how the excellent Some Rap Songs came together while also signaling that more outright experimentation is thankfully in his immediate future.
"Figuring out how you can be radical from within the system breaks your head," Earl, who dropped Some Rap Songs back in November via Columbia, said. "That's where I'm really at: that frustrating-ass place. And this is the best attempt I got. Only so much can happen above ground."
Moving forward without Columbia, he added, will allow more freedom. "I'm excited to be free because then I can do riskier shit," he said. According to a note in the interview, Some Rap Songs is indeed "the last Earl Sweatshirt album on Columbia." In addition to last year's 15-track album, Columbia also released Earl's debut studio album Doris in 2013 and I Don't Like Shit I Don't Go Outside in 2015.
"Peanut," a Some Rap Songs late addition about the artist's late father Keorapetse Kgositsile, was also discussed in detail in the Pitchfork piece. For Earl, the brief track's production inadvertently brings to mind a very specific feeling he was tuned into after his father's death.
"The way that was mixed, the fucking hiss—that song feels like when depression hugs you," he explained. "That moment was like engaging that hurt but still keeping the humanity intact by being really honest, getting myself to a point where it's not a wallowing situation."
Catch the full discussion here.
Some Rap Songs, despite arriving late into the year and literally right in the middle of all the end-of-year hoopla, ultimately bagged spots on multiple publications' Best of 2019 rankings. On the Complex list, Earl came in at No. 49. If what's next for Earl does indeed fall in line with the comments he gave to Pitchfork about the future, then this next chapter of the Sweatshirt story is going to be fucking biblical for fans.