Earl Sweatshirt – “Chum” | New Music

On the slow, piano-laden “Chum,” Earl Sweatshirt shows that whilst Tyler and Frank Ocean might be the faces (and voices) of Odd Future, it’s he who’s at the spiritual heart of the operation. Earl uses the track to reflect on his difficult relationship with his parents and his status as an outsider – “Too black for the white kids and too white for the Blacks” – and he does so in a way that speaks volumes to the OF fanbase and the group’s identity.

Although their weirdness frequently tends to play out in the form of cuts like “Radicals,” the musical equivalent of throwing your toys out of the pram, there’s a more melancholy side to Odd Future’s music (and personalities) which genuinely appeals to unhappy, unstable youngsters. It’s the same, maudlin quality that drew my generation to Eminem. Indeed, you can draw comparisons between Earl and Em, who once revelled in confessional (albeit more angry) moments like those Earl raps about on “Chum.”

“It’s been probably 12 years since my father left, left me fatherless, and I just used to say I hate him in dishonest jest/when honestly I missed this n—a like when I was 6…”

The differences are many, not least Earl’s frame of reference, which includes everyone from Mobb Deep to Edgar Allen Poe (if only Eminem had ditched some of the pop culture references and got in a few more nods to great writers, I hear you say), but I’ll let you explore them for yourself – listen to “Chum” below.