Since 2021, rappers Earl Sweatshirt and The Alchemist have teased the existence of a mysterious music album that has been hidden in plain sight for fans to uncover.
Sweatshirt, whose real name is Thebe Kgositsile, is most known for working alongside Tyler, The Creator beginning in 2009.
The Alchemist, whose real name is Alan Maman, kicked off his rapping and DJ career in 1991 (age 14) when he formed The Whooliganz, a hip-hop duo with Scott Caan – eventually making his way under the wing of DJ Mugg and eventually becoming mainstream and serving as Eminem’s official DJ and in-house producer for Shady Records.
2 Years of Mystery…Finally Revealed
When the rumors first started to circulate, a video posted to YouTube teasing this album under an anonymous account seemed to have traces of Sweatshirt, but never officially mentioned him by name. The video featured (a then) fake album name, tracklist, and cover. However, that album was never found, despite years worth of efforts.
That mysterious album was revealed on August 24, entitled “VOIR DIRE,” by both Sweatshirt and The Alchemist.
Gala Music, a decentralized NFT-backed music streaming platform, tweeted that exclusive streaming access to VOIR DIRE would be through its platform by means of an NFT.
The platform, a subsidiary of the hybrid Web3 entertainment platform Gala, is best known for its involvement in the release of ‘Mount Westmore’s Bad MFs’ last year, as well as its utilization of NFTs that afford Gala Music users/fans exclusive album access with limited ownership rights.
The iconic rap artists, known for their boundary-pushing approach, have finally embraced this digital format, albeit a bit belatedly considering the NFT hype’s earlier crest.
But it wasn’t that simple either, as fans were required to solve a number of puzzles and riddles that were embedded within Gala Music’s website in order to gain access to the hidden album. With each solved puzzle/riddle, another clue would emerge.
VOIR DIRE, which contains 11 tracks, also comes with 11,000 NFTs – 1,000 NFTs for each track. The tracks within ‘Voir Dire’ maintain the artists’ signature style, characterized by concise and dreamy compositions. New York rapper MIKE even makes a guest appearance on one of the album’s songs, adding an extra layer of intrigue.
The album’s tracklist features a series of evocative titles that hint at the artistic direction of ‘Voir Dire’:
- “100 High Street”
- “Vin Skully”
- “Sentry” (Feat. MIKE)
- “All The Small Things”
- “My Brother, The Wind”
- “27 Braids”
- “Mac Deuce”
- “Sirius Blac”
- “Free The Ruler”
The camaraderie between MIKE, Sweatshirt, and The Alchemist is well-established, as MIKE has been featured on The Alchemist’s projects in recent years. Their bond is also evident in their collaboration on the album’s lead single, “Sentry,” a track that exemplifies their synergy.
Throughout Sweatshirt’s international tour last week that celebrated the 10-year anniversary of his debut album “Doris,” clues as to where this mysterious album were spread – from QR codes on tour merchandise that would also lead them to Gala Music’s website and on posters throughout downtown Los Angeles, to additional cryptic messages from The Alchemist.
Clues even started surfacing in New York and Chicago as fans were celebrating the 10-year anniversary of “Doris.”
A subreddit for Earl Sweatshirt was definitely poppin’ with users speculating on what was happening from all different angles.
To many fans’ surprise, the sense of caution and hesitation about this was understandable. One user even said that “[they] didn’t want to get [their] hopes up.”
Even as fans were eagerly awaiting this collaborative project’s release, the revelation that ‘Voir Dire’ is accessible solely as an NFT may not align with everyone’s expectations, especially given the struggle the technology has had with mass adoption.
With the album now available in this distinct format, it remains to be seen how fans and the broader music community will respond to this artistic and technological convergence.