Excellent vocals and strong instrumentals give unique personality to Earl Sweatshirt’s new album ‘Sick!’

Excellent vocals and strong instrumentals give unique personality to Earl Sweatshirts new album Sick!

On Friday, Nov. 19, a single song by the name of “2010” hit streaming platforms and became an instant hit. This single kicked off various teases for an album by Chicago rapper, Thebe Kgositsile, better known by his stage name, Earl Sweatshirt. “Sick!” is Kgositsile’s fourth studio album and first time working with legendary producer, The Alchemist. Kgositsile called the album a “humble offering of 10 songs recorded in the wake of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns,” in an interview with Clash Music. He accomplished everything he sought after.
A rap album with no skips is hard to come by. You’ve got iconic albums like Kanye West’s “My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy,” Kendrick Lamar’s “To Pimp a Butterfly,” and Biggie’s “Life After Death,” considered by many to be perfect. “Sick!” is close to joining that esteemed list.
Kgositsile brings in a plethora of talent from around the rap world. Track 4 “Vision” features the routinely exquisite vocals and rhythm from Kgositsile but starts off with a smooth intro by lesser-known artist Zelooperz, who featured Kgositsile on hit single “Easter Sunday” in 2019. His voice draws aspects of confusion and a person who is lost. Zelooperz is looking for love. One of the final lines is “Lookin’ for someone to fly with me, get high with me, no Visine.” Zelooperz tells Genius he wants to find a girl who he can be himself around.
Track 5 “Tabula Rasa” explores the hardcore and strong lyricism of hip hop. Rapper Elucid, of hip hop duo Armand Hammer, delivers powerful rhythmic vocals whereas his other half, Billy Woods, backs up Kgositsile with angelic ad-libs. Both “Visions” and “Tabula Rasa” are seen as the two best songs on this ten-track album.


“2010,” is a reference to the late rapper and Kgositsile’s close friend Mac Miller’s hit “2009.” This makes the album more than just a collection of music. It turns “Sick!” into a touching tribute to an icon in history.
The theme of the album is, in many ways, duality. The name of the album, “Sick!” has a dual meaning. It can be interpreted as meaning both “sick” as in “dope”, or “rad”. But, it could also refer to “ill”, referencing Kgositsile’s battle with drug addiction and depression. In the title track, “Sick!” he says “You’ll fall and slip again, I heard life’s a trip/Get it how you live, I guess it’s all you get/Take it on the chin.” The phrase, take it on the chin, means to accept what life throws at you and life has thrown a lot at Kgositsile.
Overall the album is fantastic. There are excellent vocals; vocals that range in tone and rhythm. There are phenomenal instrumentals that fit each song perfectly and give its track a personality. Kgositsile’s unique flow and voice shine more than ever in this album. It seems that he is finding himself in “Sick!”.
In 2018’s “Some Rap Songs,” Kgositsile’s second studio album, there was more experimental music, including the instrumental-only track, “Riot!” that features music sampled from four different jazz artists.
In this album, Kgositsile strictly uses beats from producer The Alchemist, aside from a few samples, which clarifies him as his own artist.
“Sick!” will go down as Kgositsile’s career-defining album.
Link to the album on Spotify below: