EARTHGANG Invites Listeners to “Mirrorland” on Rhapsodic Debut Album


EARTHGANG just dropped their new album “Mirrorland.” (Courtesy of Twitter)

Within the first few seconds of rap duo EARTHGANG’s debut album “Mirrorland,” listeners know they’re in for something special.

On “Mirrorland,” EARTHGANG aims to express their individualism in their music.

Members Johnny “Olu O. Fann” Venus and Doctur Dot “Eian Undrai Parker” have always pushed for their music to be 100% derived from their own effort, without the overbearing influence of a record label. The two burst onto the music scene after signing with J. Cole’s label, which allows them to exert full creative control over their music.

Originating from Atlanta, Ga., EARTHGANG recognizes the importance of incorporating the influence of their hometown into their music. To them, “Mirrorland” is a dedication to the richness of black culture. In an interview with Pitchfork, Johnny Venus said, “Atlanta is the Land of Oz. It’s black people just being unafraid and unapologetically creative. Just running around being themselves.”

“Mirrorland” is a seamless blend of Southern-inspired hip-hop and soul. Inspired by the musical “The Wiz,” “Mirrorland” is a colorful, magical place that inspires the listener to look deep into a reflection of their soul.

The album welcomes listeners to its world with the upbeat track “Lala Challenge.” Johnny Venus opens the song rapping, “Come on/Sit down in here and get comfortable/Place your head on the mat” with an inviting piano tune echoing in the background. “Lala Challenge” is a standout on the album, expertly setting up the trippy journey that its listeners are about to embark on.

According to a July interview with Pitchfork promoting the album, Johnny describes the opener as “the intro to the whole record. It’s really colorful. It’s really dangerous. It’s really trippy.”

The following songs, including “UP” and “Bank,” have a much faster, trappy beat. The first half of the album culminates with “Proud of You,” a song that features fellow rapper Young Thug. The track expresses the pair’s pride in those who work hard for what they want.

The chorus, which repeatedly chants “I’m proud of you,” gives the listener a boost of self-confidence. It provides the comfort of knowing that they’re making someone out there proud.

Following “Proud of You,” the album shifts in a more relaxed, soulful direction. The slower the songs get, the deeper the lyrics are. “This Side” is especially notable; it is a trippy, sing-songy revelation of EARTHGANG’s paranoia that comes with their newfound fame. The song is slow for the first few moments, but suddenly jumps into a panicked rush of words expressing fear for their lives following the deaths of fellow stars XXXTentacion and Nipsey Hussle.

The lyrics found within “Blue Moon,” in particular, are relatable to every college student. Doctur Dot raps, “I been hustlin’, I don’t get no rest, once in a blue moon/Every time I got life figured out, I get bad confused/bad confused, bad confused, bad confused, bad confused.” The smooth jazz of the tune offers a relaxing mood despite its lyrics describing overwhelming feelings.

Other notable songs in the second half of the album include “Tequila” and “Trippin,’” featuring T-Pain and Kehlani, respectively. “Tequila” is a song that listeners would definitely dance along to at the beach. Its dark lyrics about drowning in a bottle of tequila in the face of overwhelming pressure are disguised by the song’s dip into the Latin genre.

The maracas and horns playing in the background give the song a unique feel compared to the rest of the album. Guest star Kehlani’s verse on “Trippin” is also worth mentioning — her sultry set of lyrics are especially memorable, considering it is one of the only “romantic” songs on the album.

The album culminates with “Wings,” which is an excellent closer. The song makes references to both Johnny Venus and Doctur Dot’s past in Atlanta. Johnny tells his listeners, “I’m still findin’ a way, spread my wings/Spread my wings, spread my wings/I’m still grindin’ today, spread my wings (Yeah)/Spread my wings, spread my wings.” The song summarizes the main message of the album as a whole.

“Mirrorland” advises all of its listers to keep “grinding” and spreading their wings. The theme of a continuous grind is found multiple times throughout the album. EARTHGANG reminds us that working hard brings struggle, paranoia and a desire to drown your sorrows. However, in the end, we will reap the rewards.

In order to recognize our own inner strength and grit, we must look into our reflection and enter our own mirrorland.