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Earl Sweatshirt Wrecks Rap’s Rules on ‘Sick!’

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For a certain strain of rap fan, Earl Sweatshirt’s elite lyricism has made him a god among men. But rather than coast on that deification, the California rapper (whose real name is Thebe Kgositsile) has spent his career defying expectations. His response to listeners seeking replays of his 2010 mixtape Earl, which introduced him as a devilish lyrical wunderkind, has been relentless reinvention. On his first two albums, those revisions were muted, taking place mostly on the level of subject matter and sound. But on 2018’s Some Rap Songs and 2019’s Feet of Clay, he directly pushed against notions of rap greatness as merely the sum of one’s verbiage, embracing the clipped rhythms and nonlinearity of the hip-hop margins. His elliptic, woozy songwriting, crammed with texture and motion, yet shunning structure and cogency, subverted ideas about how rap songs could sound and be arranged. Sick! continues that trend, charting new territory for Earl while continuing to subtly dissect rap conventions.

Sick! came together in the aftermath of another planned album falling apart due to the pandemic and Earl’s uneasiness with his writing becoming showy and mechanical. “I was rapping, rapping, on every single song,” he said in an interview. “The album I was working on before had a really optimistic energy towards it, but it felt gross. It felt political, like a mayoral campaign.” That hesitance, plus planned tracks being lost in some sort of computer snafu, seems to have pushed him toward more urgency and directness, a reset that reorients the mechanics of his songs. 

On previous albums, Earl treated music as a refuge where he could probe his aching psyche and voice his darkest emotions. Sick! is decidedly outward facing, the rapper breaching rather than tunneling. A sense of artistic renewal guides his music as he navigates the pandemic world and its ambient horrors. The single “Titanic” is almost trolling in its breezy free associations. “Iceberg, MAC kinda slim/What they couldn’t see sink the ships/Capsize mean you’s a flip/Send a postcard from the depth,” he deadpans, zeroing in on the Titanic as a disaster parable, yet remaining wry. On “Vision,” he addresses the pandemic directly: “Everything we in the midst of/How long you waiving the rent?/Moratorium extendo/I’m just evading the pit,” he raps, his flow springing off Black Noi$e’s hypnotic piano loop. He’s constantly finding ways to play with words without trivializing them, a balance that has eluded many of rap’s preeminent lyricists in recent years.

It helps that his words are more sonically foregrounded compared with past releases. The album is mixed by vaunted Jay-Z engineer Young Guru, who renders the vocals crisp and clear, and Earl, a lover of murky, waterlogged sounds, notably has no production credits. The beatmaking is instead delegated to longtime collaborators like the Alchemist, Black Noi$e, Samiyam, and Sage Elsesser (as Ancestors), all of whom provide conventional production with discernible drums and pristine samples rather than an “Earl Sweatshirt-type beat.” Leaving behind the corroded and abrasive soundscapes of previous releases gives him space to rap “straight, no frills,” as he puts it on “Titanic.”

The trick to that self-assessment, of course, is that, fittingly, it’s also a misdirection. Earl remains an oddball writer who parachutes into ideas from peculiar, oblique angles. Thematically, he focuses on forward motion, frequently adopting imagery that melds the earthen and the bodily, the cosmic and personal. “Foot shook ground when I stepped on it/I didn’t look back when I broke soil/‘Cause every time I did it would hurt more,” he raps on “2010,” one of many moments where he interrogates the past to reaffirm his commitment to the future. “Fire leaping up out the hole/Deep breathing only make it grow,” he deadpans on “Fire in the Hole,” unfazed by the flame.

Throughout the album, his lyrics evoke eruption and heat, images that cast his cryptic revelations as both painful and cleansing. “Lye,” built on a chipper horn loop, invokes the scene in The Autobiography of Malcolm X where X first gets his hair conked. “Sometimes the pain sit and fester in the hate, beloved/I’m working on it /It’s worth the time,” he offers, his voice eerily composed, almost relieved. On “God Laughs,” he again refers to fire in a reflective, thankful way, rapping “Operating on an empty tank spanked me/Fumes fueling the flame,” over Alexander Spit’s feathery beat. It’s dazzling how purposefully he can rap, avoiding filler while still sounding commanding, playful, and spry.

Earl never turns Sick! into a polemic, but it doesn’t feel accidental that on his most legible album, he’s actively engaged in dismantling what it means for rappers to go in, and to evolve as artists. Without punchlines, hooks, eccentric beats, and flashy flows, he finds ways to astound and delight, avoiding gimmicks as well as grandstanding. As rap’s newcomers, legends, and fans spin in place, Earl Sweatshirt reminds us the genre has always thrived not on deities or empty spectacle, but on humble tools and the imaginations willing to put them to work.

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Why Fans Are Convinced Pete Davidson Snapped Kim Kardashian’s Latest Bikini Shots

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Kim Kardashian & Pete Davidson Get COZY on Date Night

Nothing says amore like getting all your right angles.

 

At least that what’s fans think when it comes to Kim Kardashian and Pete Davidson, all thanks to one of her latest bikini pics. Kim had her Instagram followers buzzing on Jan. 17 when she posted three photos of herself frolicking alongside a beach in her two-piece swimsuit, captioning the series of snaps, “Mother Nature.”

 

But it was the third photo itself that seem to catch everyone’s attention since there was a noticeable shadow in the photo behind the lens, and for fans—that could only be one person.

 

“The shadow is Pete, we all agree right,” one person wrote. Another added, “Tell Pete to not get a shadow next time.” A third follower commented, “Not me zooming on the shadow of the photographer to see if it was Pete.”

 

All small social media investigations aside, the assumption of boyfriend-turned-photographer wouldn’t be that far-fetched considering the budding romance between the two seems to be going pretty strong.

Ever since the couple confirmed their relationship last November, there have been several low-key dates between Kim and Pete. Not to mention, the couple took their date nights beyond their local spots, most recently jet-setting for a getaway in the Bahamas—where he likely could’ve snapped those bikini pics.

However, the relationship between the SNL star and the SKIMS founder goes beyond palm tree and pictures, with a source telling E! News in early January that “Kim and Pete are getting very serious,” adding that Kim is “smitten and the relationship is very exciting to her.”

 

As for whose shadow that was for sure? Well, social media seems to be keeping up with the clues. 

Can’t keep up? Get every update, exclusive clips and more from your favorite family.

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Jamie Lynn Spears glosses over Dan Schneider scandal in her memoir

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January 18, 2022 | 8:00am

Jamie Lynn Spears heaps praise on “Zoey 101” creator Dan Schneider in her new memoir but fails to acknowledge the allegations of misconduct that have been leveled against him.

When Spears, 30, first mentions Schneider, 56, in “Things I Should Have Said,” she credits him as the person who “recognized [her] talent” and “was the driving force” behind her landing the starring role on the Nickelodeon dramedy.

“The show attracted some of the best professionals in the business. The creator and director, Dan Schneider, was exacting and insisted on professionalism,” she writes.

Spears then applauds Schneider, who infamously had a habit of tweeting photos of young actress’ feet, for knowing “how to get just what he needed from a rambunctious group of teens who thought that they were all that.”

But any mention of the embattled showrunner ends there.

The cover of Jamie Lynn Spears' memoir,
“Things I Should Have Said” hit stores Tuesday.
Worthy Publishing

Schneider was once an unstoppable force at Nickelodeon, creating children’s sitcoms including “The Amanda Show,” “Drake & Josh,” “iCarly” and “Victorious.”

But in March 2018, the network abruptly cut ties with the producer so he could “pursue other opportunities and projects.” Page Six broke the news at the time that he walked away with a $7 million payout.

Deadline reported soon after that “for years Schneider had been under a cloud of suspicion over the treatment of some younger stars of his shows,” while the New York Times revealed in June 2021 that an internal investigation at Nickelodeon had found Schneider was verbally abusive toward co-workers. (The review found no evidence of sexual misconduct.)

Dan Schneider accepting the 2014 Kids' Choice Award for Lifetime Achievement.
Schneider is the sole recipient of the Kids’ Choice Award for Lifetime Achievement.
FilmMagic

Schneider denied to the Times that he had ever acted inappropriately at work, saying in part, “I couldn’t and I wouldn’t have the long-term friendships and continued loyalty from so many reputable people if I’d mistreated my actors of any age, especially minors.”

He also insisted that his photos and videos of kids’ feet were “totally innocent.”

Schneider was most recently credited as the creator of Paramount+’s “iCarly” revival, which premiered in June 2021, though he had no creative involvement.

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Jodie Sweetin is engaged to Mescal Wasilewski after 4 years

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January 18, 2022 | 7:49am

She said “yes” — for the fifth time.

Jodie Sweetin announced on Instagram Monday that she is engaged to Mescal Wasilewski after four years of dating.

The “Fuller House” alum quoted famed author Maya Angelou before leaving fans with a romantic caption of her own.

“I love you Mescal, for always,” Sweetin wrote. “You’re my person. I can’t wait to see the life that lies ahead for us.”

Sweetin’s photo included a close-up look at her marquis-style engagement ring, which Wasilewski gave to her two days before her 40th birthday.

“Here’s to us, @ghostfacelito and our life of adventures. Together,” she continued. “I think I’m really gonna like turning 40 ❤️❤️❤️💍.”

Wasilewski shared the same photo on his Instagram and added, “So that happened…”

Sweetin has been married three times. Her first marriage to Shaun Holguin lasted four years, from 2002 to 2006. The “Finding Santa” star then married Cody Herpin in 2007. The former couple, who split in 2010, share daughter Zoie, 13.

She shares daughter Beatrix, 11, with ex-husband Morty Coyle, to whom she was married from 2012 to 2016.

The “Love Under the Rainbow” actress then became engaged to Justin Hodak in 2016, but the two never made it to the altar.

Sweetin’s engagement comes just over a week after her “Full House” co-star Bob Saget died unexpectedly at age 65. The cast released a joint statement in the aftermath, saying they were grieving “as a family.”

Jodie Sweetin and Mescal Wasilewsk
Wasilewski popped the question just days before Sweetin’s 40th birthday.
jodiesweetin/Instagram

“Thirty-five years ago, we came together as a TV family, but we became a real family. And now we grieve as a family,” they said in the statement released on Instagram last week.

“Bob made us laugh until we cried. Now our tears flow in sadness, but also with gratitude for all the beautiful memories of our sweet, kind, hilarious, cherished Bob. He was a brother to us guys, a father to us girls and a friend to all of us. Bob, we love you dearly. We ask in Bob’s honor, hug the people you love. No one gave better hugs than Bob.”

The statement was signed by stars Sweetin, John Stamos, Dave Coulier, Candace Cameron Bure, Lori Loughlin, Andrea Barber, Scott Weinger, Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, as well as series creator Jeff Franklin. 

More than 100 stars turned out to remember the late comic at his funeral.

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