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Earl Sweatshirt & The Alchemist - Voir Dire LP

Earl Sweatshirt & The Alchemist - Voir Dire LP

Tan Cressida

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I’m not even going to pretend I’m any authority on hip hop, but I’ve had the latest Earl Sweatshirt & The Alchemist on repeat all morning!

More of Earl’s trademark woozy stitching together of slice of life recordings with old soul samples, this time in collaboration with The Alchemist. For such a short LP (only 26mins) this is a DENSE set of recordings, weaving histories of Black culture into the present with a playful and humorous touch (and is that a reference to Biden’s Corn Pop brain fade??).



The question of whether you want an MC like Earl Sweatshirt and a producer like The Alchemist to test each other’s limits is on some level an existential one: Like, isn’t the fact that the dreamlike flights of VOIR DIRE feel like comfort food a testament to how much they’ve already stretched our conception of hip-hop? Ten years out from his first “real” album (2013’s Doris), Earl sounds grateful, fulfilled, and yet no less enigmatic than when he was a kid, holding space for a history of Black diasporic art from Martinican poet Aimé Césaire to the Swazi-Xhosa South African pop legend Miriam Makeba without sacrificing the hermetic quality that made him so appealing in the first place. In Vince Staples, he continues to find the straight-talking foil he needs (“The Caliphate,” “Mancala”), and in Al a producer who can nudge him just a little closer to the hallelujahs he’s either too cool or evasive to embrace (“Mancala”). And at 26 minutes, the whole thing easily asks to be played again.