By Jarris Jones
2023 has been a great year for rap music, releases from Travis Scott, Lil Yachty, Tyler The Creator, Teezo Touchdown, Veeze, and LUCKI just to name a few, have been blasted in my headphones. As the year comes to an end, I thought big releases were over and any new projects from the artists I listen to frequently would be held off until next year, but I couldn’t have been more wrong. The dark horse to release this year would be none other than Earl Sweatshirt. Not only were we getting a new album, but a featured production including The Alchemist as well. For those who need new music…look no further because VOIR DIRE is here for you.
I knew of The Alchemist’s work from albums such as Alfredo with Freddie Gibbs (2020), No Idols with Domo Genesis (2012), The Great Escape with Larry June (2023) and his own work such as Flying High EP (2023), Bread EP (2018) and This Thing of Ours (2021). The list goes on and on, but it is safe to say The Alchemist has a lot of experience in the game and beats that artists yearn to rap on.
Earl Sweatshirt has been on the scene for a long time too, I didn’t expect another album from him for a while, especially with five albums already in his discography and the release of SICK! last year. With classic albums such as Doris (2013) and I Don’t Like Sh*t, I Don’t Go Outside (2015) Earl has made a name for himself in rap and a big following. Earl and The Alchemist have worked together in the past and mesh well, underground music listeners have been waiting for this, it was only a matter of time before we got a collab album and on Oct. 6th, 2023, this would become reality.
Entering the world of VOIR DIRE listeners are treated to 11 songs and 27 minutes of soul-touching production and lyrics that are so nice you have to play them twice. The meaning of the title for the album “VOIR DIRE” is defined as telling the truth and that’s exactly what Earl does. Lyrics such as “She said I got a son on the way, made my bed so that’s where I lay, my worried bones, my heavy head I carry home every day” give the listener insight into some of Earl’s personal life and big news as he uses this bar to announce having a child to the world.
The album also features guest appearances from Vince Staples and MIKE, I’ve only had a day with the album, and I can already tell the songs that have been blessing my ears for the last 24 hours won’t be leaving my rotation anytime soon. Songs such as “Heat Check”, “27 Braids”, “The Caliphate” and “Vin Skully” have given me new life. This is the Earl Sweatshirt I have been missing and for those who follow the artist, you would agree, that the last time I heard Earl deliver something as amazing and creative as VOIR DIRE was back in 2018 with Some Rap Songs. The production of The Alchemist and the tone in which Earl raps is a match made in heaven.
There is no timetable for when we will get another project from Earl, but if he and The Alchemist decide to work together again you won’t hear any complaints from me. A huge thanks to the duo for not only making music together but also providing an album that will surely be carried into the next year.
Written by: Danielle De Lucia