“Old Friend” is the opening track on Earl Sweatshirt’s 2022 album ‘SICK!.’ The song sets the tone for the album which was penned when the world was undergoing the COVID-19 pandemic. The lyrics on “Old Friend” talk about preserving his own sanity from the psychological effects of the pandemic.
Earl Sweatshirt released his fourth studio album ‘Sick!’ on January 14, 2022. This is the follow-up project to his 2019 release ‘Feet of Clay.’ The new project had three singles prior to the album release. In a press release, Earl Sweatshirt expressed his thoughts about the album; “‘Sick!’ is my humble offering of 10 songs recorded in the wake of the worldwide coronavirus pandemic and its subsequent lockdowns.”
The only verse in the song talks about a few side effects Earl has been experiencing living through this pandemic and quarantine.
Strong spirit where the body couldn’t get asylum
The cost of living high, don’t cross the picket line and get the virus
The COVID-19 Coronavirus spreads through the body attacking vital organs such as the lung. When a human lung collapses, it shuts down the entire power system of the body. There is no real ‘medicine’ per se to this virus, other than injecting controlled doses of the virus itself to build up our own immune system. So, it comes down to a lot of mental strength to fight off this virus. And this applies to you despite you caught the virus or not.
Listen to “Old Friend” by Earl Sweatshirt
Earl Sweatshirt “Old Friend” Lyrics Meaning and Song Review
Earl does not seem to buy into everything that is happening around him, much like millions of others out there.
Wild cat has got ’em in a bind, stay inside
A lot of people have come forward saying the Covid-19 virus has been laboratory built and released to get the masses in order. Quarantines at will, vaccine mandates, transport restrictions, lifelong residual effects of the virus, and death.
They start hackin’ when they can’t shrink us
‘Shrink’ is slang for mental health professionals, including psychologists, psychiatrists, and therapists. Earl seems to suggest that they, whoever ‘they’ are, want to see people in line and blind. When they could not do this with some brainwashing, they pushed humanity to the edge–left no options open–the virus and vaccine mandates. The virus and the vaccine are ‘their’ way of hacking into humanity.
Next, Earl goes on to talk about the psychological effects of being locked down. ‘Cabin fever’ is a reference to the emotions of irritability, listlessness, and similar symptoms resulting from long confinement or isolation indoors during the winter–in this case, during the lockdowns.
And how did he treat his cabin fever?
By smoking marijuana and writing!
The ‘wolves’ in reference in the lyrics is the Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All (OFWGKT) hip hop group that Earl was a part of. Members joined and left through the years and nothing much has come out of the group so far–nil.
Let us hear what you think about this song in the comments below. Check out the complete lyrics on Genius.