by Chance Chamberlain
Snap Reactions is a column where two new albums and one classic album will be reviewed briefly after just one listen through. This provides instant thoughts and feelings that are often lost with multiple listens of an album. This week’s releases are Earl Sweatshirt’s FEET OF CLAY and Westside Gunn’s Hitler Wears Hermes 7. The classic album of the week is Nas’s Illmatic.
Earl Sweatshirt – FEET OF CLAY
“FEET OF CLAY” came as a surprise to everybody. It came with only a day of notice from an artist who usually waits two to three years between major releases. Earl Sweatshirt’s previous project, “Some Rap Songs,” came in late 2018, so the quick turnaround had fans excited. “FEET OF CLAY” builds upon the sound Sweatshirt established for himself on his last record. Muffled flows spout from Earl’s mouth over unorthodox production loops and obscure samples. “FEET OF CLAY” is short and to the point, cementing Earl Sweatshirt as a front-runner of experimental rap.
Westside Gunn – Hitler Wears Hermes 7
Westside Gunn released his second solo project of the year with “Hitler Wears Hermes 7”. Gunn flows effortlessly over elegant boom-bap production. “Hitler Wears Hermes 7” sticks to the blueprints; Gunn continues to boast about drugs, violence, money and himself, much like previous releases. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing as it works for the Flygod. His sound is set in stone at this point and any straying from the path would startle longtime listeners. “Hitler Wears Hermes 7” delivers the message with little clutter and gets the job done.
Nas – Illmatic
Nas released “Illmatic” in 1994, and it’s been regarded as a staple in the rap genre since. Nas paints a picture of urban life in New York City that had yet to be displayed. He raps effortlessly over some of the most classic hip-hop beats of all time, helping establish the New York hip-hop sound. Nas’ words are poetic as he describes the hardships of living in the urban jungle. His rhymes about drugs, violence and the hustle to make a dollar in an unforgiving city are held in conversation with some of the greatest songwriting in music history. Nas gave a voice to the voiceless and raised the bar for all emcees clawing their way out of the Big Apple.