EarthGang is an upcoming force in the hip-hop world. Made up of rappers, Johnny Venus and WowGr8, the duo from Atlanta has one of the most unique sounds in the game right now. Beaming with creativity, EarthGang really puts heart and soul into their music, and it shows.
Besides the out-of-this-world sound and existential lyrics, what really sets EarthGang apart from the rest is how they create musical experiences for their listeners. To them, music isn’t something you throw on in the background while you’re studying or making dinner. It’s something that you feel, and something that you invest yourself in. They proved how well this can be done with their debut studio album Mirrorland, and all the other releases, easter eggs, and media that came along with the album.
The Mirrorland Saga began with three EP’s; Rags, Robots, and Royalty. These projects serve as the “Road To Mirrorland”. Rags represents life before the money, Robots demonstrates that money can’t satisfy your soul, and Royalty shows that even success comes with its own troubles. All together, they create a sense that this is what EarthGang had to go through to get to Mirrorland. Each has their own distinct sound, and are tied together by a series of skits where we follow an Atlanta Lyft driver as he rides around the city picking up a variety of people. In Royalty, he actually picks up EarthGang and drives them to Mirrorland. This is our first indication that Mirrorland is a “real” place.
Along with their EP series, they released a mobile video game where players can travel through the worlds of Rags, Robots, and Royalty, with the objective of reaching Mirrorland. Within the different levels, players encounter characters from each of the EP’s, and even some of their Dreamville label-mates make an appearance. A perfect addition to the series itself, the game was released just before the album to pull fans even further into the world they have created.
On top of the video game, EarthGang came out with a “surprise” song and music video called Ready To Die, just days prior to the album release. But should we have been surprised? A year earlier, the duo released a clue that went over nearly everybody’s head. In 2018, rapper JID, label-mate and long time friend and collaborator, released his album, DiCaprio 2. On the intro track, a faux news reporter rapidly says “I’m on DiCaprio lane adjacent to the Mirrorland Casino where there seems to be two guys about to jump, ready to die”. This little snippet provides a wealth of imagery that helps listeners further immerse themselves into the Mirrorland world. Again, an example of the level of detail EarthGang puts into their projects.
EarthGang is pushing the envelope of what can be done within the music world. Could they have dropped Mirrorland alone and received the same amount of streams and billboard ratings? Maybe. But for the listeners who have followed along with the saga, EarthGang created something so much more than an album. They created an experience. Rather than being something to listen to, Mirrorland become a place to go.