Earl Sweatshirt’s Dad, Famed Poet Keorapetse Kgositsile, Dies at 79
Update (Jan. 5):
After the death of his father Wednesday (Jan. 3), Earl Sweatshirt has broken his silence. The rapper tweeted, "thank yall for your thoughts and love," along with a photo of his late father sharing one of his poems.
Sad news has struck the hip-hop world as Earl Sweatshirt's father, Keorapetse Kgositsile, has passed away. According to SABC News, Kgositsile died on early Wednesday morning (Jan. 3). He was 79 years old.
A poet laureate, Kgositsile was an active member of the African National Congress liberation movement and was once urged by party leadership to flee the country in exile. Kgositsile then moved to the U.S., where he earned his MFA in poetry at Columbia University and published his first poetry collection in 1969.
Unfortunately, Kgositsile's relationship with his son Earl was a complicated one. The rapper has mentioned his father in songs such as "Grown Ups" where he raps, "Grew up in a home that papa wasn't in/Came up off of work that my conscience wasn't in."
The rapper also detailed their relationship in the song "Off Top," rapping, "What a bastard that baby was/Little mad nigga missing dad, never praying much/Right around the same time his grandmama drank a bunch."
In a 2011 interview with The New Yorker, Kgositsile said he was aware of his son's growing fame in the music world but had never listened to his music. “When he feels that he’s got something to share with me, he’ll do that,” he said. “And until then I will not impose myself on him just because the world talks of him.”
But while Kgositsile admitted to never listening to Earl's music, the poet was still a proud father, praising his son's intelligence. “He read even before he started school,” Kgositsile said of Earl.
Our condolences go out to Earl Sweatshirt and his family.
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