Earl Sweatshirt, one of the most prominent members of the hip-hop collective known as Odd Future (which also features Tyler, the Creator and Frank Ocean, among others), recently released a new single, entitled "Grief". In its first week, the official Youtube version alone garnered well over one million views, attesting to the young artist's considerable popularity, despite his characteristic off-kilter esthetic. The song is attracting attention not only because of Earl Sweatshirt's dark and compelling verses, and its accompanying atmospheric video, but also for sampling DIY/Outsider Music pioneer Gary Wilson.
It might surprise some to hear that this isn't the first time Odd Future and Wilson have crossed paths. In fact, the group are professed admirers of him, and have spent time talking with the legend on more than one occasion in recent years. In my own conversations with Gary, he has always enthusiastically recounted their exchanges, and noted that they are "very respectful" and creative artists. For both new and established fans of Wilson and Earl Sweatshirt, the collaboration is a natural one -- both artists exemplify risk taking, intimate vulnerability, dark introspection balanced with humor, a strong sense of personal narrative, and a penchant for deep grooves.
The sample is an intriguing one, and far from overt. Even Wilson fans may find themselves straining their ears and brains to correctly identify the sample's origin (spoiler alert: it's "You Were Too Good to be True" from his classic album, "You Think You Really Know Me"). There are no Wilson vocals in the sample, and it comes unexpectedly at the latter end of the song (around 3:37), providing a sort of tension release after Sweatshirt's sustained, intense, and bare lyrical barrage. Enjoy!
And if you'd like to hear the classic Gary Wilson track, "You Were Too Good to Be True," here it is:
Thanks, as always for staying tuned in!