Earl Sweatshirt’s new album Some Rap Songs comes with some unique language on its promotional material, much of which reads that the record is presented by “Thebe Kgositsile, professionally known as Earl Sweatshirt.” Combining his artistic identity and his real self was a priority for Sweatshirt on the record, and he told NPR about what it was like to do so on tracks such as “Cold Summers” and “Eclipse.”
Sweatshirt referred to those songs as “more selfish” than some of his previous work, likely alluding to the way they marry the two sides of who he is, and said that in the past he struggled to feel rooted in his identity.
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“You see a lot of people in purgatory if they can’t really be their self, you know what I mean?” he said. “Based on who I’m standing in front of, that is such a wildly different person. Not having my identity stamped out for myself early on really had me like on some tofu shit, like just taking on the flavor of whatever.”
In the interview, Earl acknowledged that “Eclipse” is a song he might not perform while touring because it is a heavy load for him to rap and has something of a niche appeal given its specificity and unconventional rhythms. He said:
‘Eclipse’ is a fucking song, man. I was just talking to my friend and DJ about this the other day. I was like, ‘Bro, I don’t know if I’m gonna perform "Eclipse,’ because it’s so… It is so much for me, and like for the niche people that can like catch the bop of ‘Eclipse.’‘ Because there is nothing that tells a large group of people like what to do with their neck on that song. It’s very… It’s just advanced me. It’s just very in a chamber that is not… It’s like a language that’s not trying to talk to necessarily everybody.
On “Eclipse,” Earl raps about feeling withdrawn and the toll that bottling up thoughts and feelings takes on him:
Say goodbye to my openness, total eclipseOf my shine that I’ve grown to miss when holding shit inOpen my lids, my eyes said my soul is amiss (Soul is)The signs say we close to the end (Close)My mindstate sober, I’m bentOver the pit, pokin" the flamesHopin" I don’t total my shit, that’s me though
On “Cold Summer,” he opens up about numbing his emotions with drug use, rapping:
Three spliffs had my wing tips clipped, I was stuck in a hangar, niggaMuffle my pain and muzzle my brain up
Sweatshirt also elaborated on the unique wording of the Some Rap Songs promo material, calling it his “favorite part” of the record.
“My favorite part about this shit is my whole name, and then differentiating Earl Sweatshirt as a PKA,” he explained. “Because this
Elsewhere in the NPR interview, Sweatshirt discussed the track “Playing Possum,” which samples both of his parents and was originally intended as an olive branch to his father before he unexpectedly passed.
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Read the full lyrics to “Eclipse” and the rest of Earl Sweatshirt’s discography on neurosoup.org now.