Within a few months of signing East Atlanta rapper J.I.D, J. Cole’s label Dreamville Records have announced the addition of duo Earthgang to their roster and simultaneously released their new EP ‘Rags’.
Frequent collaborators with the Dreamville camp and part of the Atlanta based Spillage Village creative collective along with J.I.D, the duo Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot formed EarthGang in High School. Debuting in 2015 with their ‘Strays With Rabies’, Earthgang have been on an independent grind for almost 6 years now, building up a solid level of critical acclaim. Now officially part of the Dreamville family, their next episode opens with their new 5 track EP featuring guest appearances from J.I.D, Childish Major and Mick Jenkins. It’s the first of three EP’s picking up the pace until Earthgang’s forthcoming album, ‘Mirror Land’.
The comparisons to Outkast have been inevitable with both being duo’s from Atlanta and often perceived as somewhat aliens in their own hometown. ‘Rags’ has an underlying elemental inspiration running through it, possibly the first instalment of a rags to riches story, threaded together with tales of self-belief, patience and determination, a meditation on those larger forces determining the fate of our endeavours – “The universe got a way of giving you that second win.” Melodiously rich and soulfully tuned, ‘Rags’ doesn’t distract from Earthgang’s lyrical philosophy, slanting more on the uplifting side than coming off preachy.
The duo first met Cole back in 2014 when opening for Ab Soul’s These Days Tour alongside Dreamville artist Bas, and over a two year period progressively built a creative relationship. Kicking off with recording sessions in Dreamville’s studio, ‘The Sheltah’ in 2016 with J.I.D, their first recording at the studio was also their latest collaboration ‘D/Vision’ featured on J.I.D’s album.
Their Dreamville label mate, J.I.D, recently co-signed by Yasiin Bey aka Mos Def, dropped his debut ‘The Never Story’ earlier this year. Not your typical Trap rapper from Atlanta, J.I.D is like a distant relative to Vince Stapes and the RZA, borrowing from that ‘Boom Bap’ shit but without letting his sound feel tapped out. Following up his breakout hit ‘Never’ which also featured in Insecure, J.I.D’s dropped the visual for ‘D/vision’ featuring Earthgang a few weeks ahead of their announcement.
Stream EarthGang’s new EP ‘Rags’ here and watch the video for ‘Meditate’ below;