Earl Sweatshirt & The Alchemist 'Voir Dire' Album Review

Primavera Sound 2022 - Weekend 1 - Day 2
Primavera Sound 2022 - Weekend 1 - Day 2 / Jim Bennett/GettyImages

Earl Sweatshirt has been around for over a decade now, but it feels even longer. We have seen him grow up before our eyes, and he is still only 29 years of age. During his time in the game, we have seen different variations of the lyricist.

There was the Odd Future kid that was a great rapper with a fun side, which was followed by a more depressed and sinister version with his second album, I Don't Like, S**t I Don't Go Outside. After a three-year layoff, Earl Sweatshirt came back with a more pure underground rap style with minimalistic production.

On the other end of this album, we have The Alchemist, whom is labeled as one of the best hip-hop producers of all-time. The Alchemist has been around for several decades and has not slowed down one bit. He has had amazing collab albums with the likes of Boldy James, Freddie Gibbs, and much more.

Over the last few years, Alchemist and Earl have come together for a plethora of tracks with fans hoping a collab album would come to fruition one day. Well that day has officially come with their debut collab album, Voir Dire. The album is unique with it's rollout, as the album is not on streaming services and instead being sold as an NFT. However, the album still can be listened to on the website without a purchase.

Positive Takeaways from Voir Dire

First and foremost, Alchemist is a master behind this production. Every beat fits Earl Sweatshirt like a glove. The production is top notch, which is a surprise to no one; if you know who Alchemist is. The standout track has to be 'Vin Skully.' The beat is just so smooth, while Earl Sweatshirt finds his pocket with ease.

The duo just seem so comfortable with one another. Earl knows how to find the beat with no hesitation and it comes natural with this type of production. Another perfect production plus rapper combo was on '27 Braids.' Earl is a master at saying so much with such a stoic tone. His wordplay is a step above a lot of rappers, which can get you lost into trying to understand where he is going. However, once you just let the music ride, you can truly appreciate his artistry.

This combination is perfect, as Alchemist can truly adapt to any type of artist. Earl Sweatshirt seemed to be on search for something more meaningful within the rap game, which he has found with Alchemist by his side.

Negative Takeaways from Voir Dire

The one thing that can hurt an Earl Sweatshirt album, especially this variation of his artistry, is the repetitive nature of his songs. There are not many concise hooks with very intricate wordplay throughout. It can slightly come off as one long run-on sentenc3. Sometimes features can help break-up that feeling. This album only contains one feature with the track 'Sentry', which featured MIKE on it.

This type of hip-hop can be an acquired taste. It is so different than what other people are putting out there. Earl Sweatshirt has found his lane, which does carry a large enough fanbase, but can potentially close out some of his older fans along the way. That stoic vibe he gives can also be looked as him sounding lazy on some tracks. However, the album still maintains a good amount of replay value.

Overall Rating for Voir Dire

Overall Rating: 7/10

Best Tracks: 100 High Street, Vin Skully, 27 Braids, Mac Duece

Worst Tracks: Sentry, Sirius Blac