2017’s cup runneth over with good music, of all kinds.
From fun to enlightening. From singing to rapping.
From our hometown to yours and everywhere in between, we are dedicating the month of December to reviewing and reflecting on the music that helped make this year so important.
After questioning the need to review an Earthgang project prior to their full length album, it has become important if not essential for their latest EP, “Robots” to be discussed. This focus on “Robots” should not to take anything away from their previous EP “Rags” which is absolutely dope. “Robots”, as a follow up to “Rags” represents something much bigger than I ever expected. Also take note that “Rags” and “Robots” are the first of three EPs, the third “Royalty” is forthcoming; but I will get more into that in a bit.
With just 6 tracks, “Robots” is a display of lyricism, delivery and connection with listeners that should be wholly appreciated. Aside from their product just generally being top notch all around, Earthgang has an indescribable ability to make me laugh with their intros and interludes then turn around and make me question my current existence or get ready for war with their content. Their creative vision is also one of a kind. Everything about “Robots” is meaningful and appealing to listeners who may have missed out on it all had it not come from Earthgang. Listeners who need to hear it the most.
Artificial takes pretty much everything that is important, particularly for an artist these days, and shows it to be nothing more than artificial ends. Ends as in money and much more importantly, ends as in where all those things lead to. While establishing the general idea that most of this shit isn’t real, Artificial makes it clear that actually living in a way that uplifts what they know to be real is far more important than explaining it to those who don’t care to listen, anyway.
A comedic interlude takes a bit of the weight of Artificial off my mind before the title track lays it all and more back on me. “Maybe I’m just a machine, lately I just don’t feel anything.” Robots is a gut wrenching realization, for me personally, that there’s definitely something wrong with my tendency to numb myself and go through the motions of life instead of doing the work to understand it all. On a larger scale Artificial and Robots show Doc and Venus as artists who understand they’ve been misled, probably forever, and acknowledge it has conditioned many of us to walk through life robotically. During Robots, the repetition of “rain down on me”, paints a picture in my head of robots being rained on and short circuiting as only living, breathing humans with actual feelings are left.
After Robots, the interlude doesn’t seem as comedic as it does disconnected. I have yet to discover Earthgang’s true purpose for the interludes but I am positive there is one, I am going to keep trying to figure it out.
Just as the duo finished singing “rain down on me” my favorite track on the EP, Underwater (featuring SiR), slows everything down. In stark contrast to Robots, Underwater provides a cathartic look at what happens when it rains, it floods. Now the mental image that ended Robots is a reality. Even the production resembles the sound of electronics malfunctioning. Underwater. Left alone with your conscience. “Forever misunderstood”. Facing death, trying to figure life out. Everything that happens when it rains. Underwater leaves me with an overwhelming thought that real feelings, vision and purpose are all that separate life from robots and keep us from drowning.
For the first time on the EP, when Underwater ends, there’s no interlude. So Many Feelings takes me from the unsure place Underwater created and dumps a laundry list of things in my lap that I not only relate to, I care about. Or I should care about. Everything from a familiar childhood aspect of caring to happenings in life today that I have dulled my feelings about. Like, damn, I actually care about everything! I feel everything! I’m not a robot! But look at reality, the people in charge don't care. Look how I am living, do I care? Maybe I created some paradox where I care but live a life that shows otherwise. It’s hard to decipher an onset of feelings after spending so much time disregarding them. And feelings don’t equate to knowledge, so where do we go from here? "I think I don't know shit sometimes.”
Another interlude. And it is still unclear what purpose these interludes serve. I really want to know though, if either Doc or Venus got a minute.
Flickted is one of those soul shaking, “oh wow this is too much for me to take in” tracks. With jazzy production and really raw, emotional singing, Flickted peaks my curiosity then hits me with a depiction of addiction that I wasn’t ready for, at all. Hey, what else are you supposed to do with all these feelings you’ve uncovered besides find an addiction to mask them? “This gon do it for me...take the edge off.” Possibly the heaviest way to end the EP is definitely the most appropriate. In the same couple minutes it is established that we are all addicted, it is established that those addictions are no long term solution; “two minutes, two hours, two millenniums later. The comedown was greater.”
If you listen closely, “Robots” calls for an understanding and much deeper look into ourselves than most of us are prepared for. The fact that everything you’ve been told might just be Artificial is a tough pill to swallow. Once that is established, do we really want to discuss how all the artificial ends gave way to a population full of Robots? Either way, then it rains and suddenly everything is Underwater. Immediately after it rains, we are faced with So Many Feelings. Feelings that are hard to comprehend and even harder to deal with. Healing is hard and being Flickted humans, we are inclined to turn to our addictions, our afflictions, in a futile attempt to disregard our feelings. Which I am sure would just take us back down a path to artificial ends and robotic existence. Rinse, lather, repeat.
“Robots” is an immaculate example of utilizing music to breakdown the search for understanding and share what was found along the way. Earthgang has an intentional plan for their art that is something to behold, even before I’ve seen it entirely executed. From “Rags” to “Robots” to their upcoming EP, “Royalty”, as I mentioned before, followed by their full length album, Earthgang has setup a series of stories that will be hailed as important for a very long time to come. I suggest you take a listen to "Rags" to gain some perspective and honestly enjoy both products, they are dope all around.
“Robots” is important for everyone to listen to, right now. It is a reflection of where we are at, currently; maybe it’s time for an introspective look at the possibility you’re a robot, too.