The Album That Made People SICK!

Although met by harsh backlash from fans, “SICK!” by Earl Sweatshirt is currently one of the hottest topics in the hip-hop community.


Eli Watson

Earl Sweatshirt’s album “SICK!” debuted with a single titled “2010,” the year his debut mixtape released, showing his growth in his style and in the music industry.

Jackson Mitchell, Staff Writer

“SICK!” by Earl Sweatshirt, released Jan. 14, begins explosively. Starting with the track “Old Friend,” a strongly eerie yet melancholy song, Earl pushes his main message of trying to stay together during the pandemic while struggling with mental health.

Taking a sharp u-turn following “2010,” the album hits the listener with an insanely experimental beat from the first second. “2010” rolled out as a single prior to the release of the album; this track is important because his first mixtape “Earl” was released in that year. The song portrays a feeling of remembering where you started. He mentions his mom and his family’s financial struggles as a child, when he didn’t know when his next meal will be.

“Titanic” is a great portrayal of not only Earl’s evolution in music, but also the unique production throughout this album. One of the primary sound effects on the beat is a pitch-warped water drop sound that demonstrates how Earl can truly do whatever he wants. He uses less of his normal experimental flow and goes with a more organized rap style. The song would make more sense for artists like JPEGMAFIA or A$AP Ferg, two artists that make songs nothing like what Earl normally releases.

The rest of the tracks keep the strange and far-out feeling of “2010.”  Only 24 minutes long, this album is easily digestible and enjoyable; it brings the feeling of riding your bike through the warm summer wind in the evening. The album represents staying positive through a time where almost everything felt negative, and brings the feeling of enjoying the last week of summer as much as possible before it ends. The unique electronic beats that we’ve never heard from Earl combined with smooth flows make this album a true piece of art. 

I see this album as a 9/10 because he uses his return after a two year hiatus as an outlet for his mental problems and genius with producing. He doesn’t shy away from  his usual experimental style in this album, and instead goes incredibly far out from what his fanbase is used to, which feels like a breath of fresh air in the rap scene. In the Tikok rap community, otherwise known as “raptok,” I’ve seen most people’s ratings of sixes and sevens going around. 

People aren’t appreciating the album for what it is: a dive into the brain of Thebe Neruda Kgositsile throughout the pandemic. He’s using the album as an area to transfer his thoughts onto not only the lyrics, but also the beats.  He reflects  his own obscure thoughts in the pandemic onto the tracks to properly portray his mind through his music. Fans should be looking at this as a piece of art in its entirety, rather than just another rap album.