Song Review: 'Chum' - Earl Sweatshirt
They say a whole is considered to be greater than the sum of its parts. Fans of Odd Future, however, could make a strong argument for the opposite. The rap collective is praised, not for its success as a group, but for each of the individual members’ memorable contributions to the hip-hop narrative: Tyler, the Creator’s demented branding genius and Frank Ocean’s brave abandonment of machismo expectations via a pre-album release confessional letter are two examples, and the brightest jewels in Odd Future's crown.
With “Chum,” Earl Sweatshirt shines bright, too.
“Chum” is a short little masterpiece. Light piano chords mix with Sweatshirt’s gravelly baritone, creating a perfect symphony that draws a picture of ghetto life -- and Sweatshirt’s own depressing upbringing.
“It’s probably been 12 years since my father left/ and left me fatherless,” raps Sweatshirt. It is this resigned stating of facts, which include a memory of his mother’s helpless “peace offerings” to her wayward son, and his being a misfit -- “too black for the whites, too white for the blacks” -- that makes his situation bad, and his admission that “honestly, I miss this n*gga like when I was six” makes it sad.
Meeting Tyler, the Creator, raps Sweatshirt, is his only saving grace.
Sans the supersonic production that makes breakouts hits -- and stars, consequently -- “Chum” probably won’t make it onto any mainstream lists. But Earl doesn’t care. He’s just telling his story.
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