Earl Sweatshirt is the type of rapper who sneaks his skill in like a sucker punch. You don't know you're being setup until you've hit the mat. His delivery lulls you into a false sense of serenity. There’s heaviness, something torrid and torrential in his spirit that he shares with every song. His tone belies someone with a deep ache. The nonchalance in his style is the perfect image of a man who’s surrounded by chaos so much that it’s become a way of life not worth much more energy than it’s already been given.
Combined with the (deceptively) effortless brilliance of The Alchemist’s production, Sweatshirt has created an album that soothes the hurt of a too hard existence. Voir Dire is an apt title. Sweatshirt is taking his time to dig into the details of his malaise-masked melancholy. If you want evidence of his trials and tribulations, if you want to know the evidence behind his bold proclamations of self, look no further than the easy way in which he delivers lines about the cost of living too hard too fast (“Dead Zone”) or the consequences of lust masquerading as love (“27 Braids”). The only judge in this court is Death himself, and his word is final. If that’s the case, might as well accept what is; to hell with anything that isn’t.