In his most recent releases as Earl Sweatshirt, Thebe Kgositsile pondered death. “WHOLE WORLD,” one of two new songs featured on forthcoming vinyl pressings of his last project, Feet of Clay, finds Kgositsile reckoning with entropy’s slow approach. By contemplating personal loss as well as the world’s degeneration, he becomes both a gravedigger and an enemy of the state. “My effervescence lost, but not entirely, I shrug the venom off/And kept a tiny piece for times we in a war,” he raps. Alongside the more than game Los Angeles-based rapper Maxo, who turns doomsday prepping into self-reflection, Kgositsile puts a finer point on recent ruminations. The song hones in on FoC’s emphasis on requiem amid apocalypse, and examines how losing someone close to you feels like the end of the world, especially when the world is in crisis.
Kgositsile’s songs bear the imprint of his recently deceased father, and he fills “WHOLE WORLD” with powerful funerary imagery. Bones are stacked up like dominos, and Kgositsile moves at a pallbearer’s pace. “How much shrapnel can your soul take?/The visions wasn’t shabby at an angle,” he contends. With the Alchemist behind them, letting the slow-strutting soul sample speak for itself, both bare their souls; Maxo steels himself after tragedy and prepares for conflict to come, while Kgositsile digs into his own psyche. The former’s slinking flow sublimely complements the latter’s resolute rapping; Kgositsile sounds woken up from his recent groggy, punch-drunk state, and he sees clearly and speaks directly. Hard-earned epiphanies allow the thoughtful duo fortify themselves for whatever comes next.
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