Earthgang take hard look at themselves on ‘Mirrorland’

Sunday, September 8, 2019 - 4:35pm

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Dreamville / Wikimedia Commons

How many releases these days have accompanying mobile games? In the early and mid 2010s, these types of things ran rampant, especially in the film industry — to build hype for a film, studios would commission a mobile game to be made to better explain said film. Blockbusters like The Dark Knight Rises” and Terminator: Genesysboth released mobile games in conjunction with each film’s release. Since then, however, mobile gaming has fizzled out and this trend has all but come to an end. Until it was time for Earthgang to release their latest album Mirrorland.

When Earthgang released Mirrorland, they also released a mobile game. How many other musicians have done this? The game, in which the goal is to defeat bad guys in levels themed after their latest albums from Rags to Mirrorland, won’t blow anyone’s hair back, but is enjoyable for a couple of minutes. The fact that the group decided to do this proves that members Olu and Wowgr8 aren’t interested in doing what every other rapper is doing. They aren’t just breaking the mold — they’re making a new one, and Mirrorland goes on to bolster this claim.

After countless delays and setbacks, Mirrorland is finally out this month, and it was well worth the wait. Its songs capture the energy and spirit from the group’s previous releases, but with a new level of polish and poise. Olu and especially Wowgr8 display astronomical growth, in both their vocal performances and lyrical ability. On the album highlight, “Top Down,” the two are at their breeziest, absolutely floating over a bombastic, bass-heavy beat produced by Childish Major. What is most noteworthy about this song and Mirrorland as a whole is the dichotomy between Olu and Wowgr8. Where Olu bounces, Wowgr8 slides. The two rap about similar things like running from the police and old flames, but hearing how differently each man attacks the same beat is nothing short of amazing. It’s like they’re two sides of the same coin.

Mirrorland’s first handful of songs are lighthearted and fun, but the album’s midsection begins to turn inward, beginning with “This Side,” a track that attempts to make sense of the group’s celebrity status and the woes that come with it. The men continue to build on these themes on “Swivel” through “Blue Moon,” climaxing at the fantastic “Tequila.” The song concerns the stresses of life and dealing with them with vices like tequila. It features a Latin-inspired beat and a guest verse from T-Pain in which he discusses his alcohol dependence and its downfalls.

After “Blue Moon,” the album begins to lull. The sounds get tired, and the songs begin to feel overly long, proven by the abundance of features that attempt to spice things up. “Stuck” is a stunning track, but at this point in the tracklist, its length and tempo make the album drag. However, closing song “Wings,” an uplifting cut about working hard and being proud of yourself, picks things back up and ends Mirrorland on a high note.

If anything, Mirrorland proves that Earthgang doesn’t care about their image. They want to do what they want to do, and it pays off. Wowgr8 and Olu have crafted an album that showcases their outer and inner selves, often doing so in the same song. While the setbacks and delays were a nuisance, the album was well worth the wait because Earthgang continues eschew the mold and stay to true to exactly who they are.