Ed Sheeran delivered fresh new ÷ (Divide) track “Eraser” leading up to his much-anticipated third album release, and some fans may have been pleasantly surprised to hear him lay down some British accent-laced raps. But what those fans may not realize — and what fans of Sheeran’s older music may have forgotten — is that this is definitely not the first time he’s busted out the rhymes in his songs.
In fact, one of Sheeran’s most shining rap moments was on + track “You Need Me, I Don’t Need You,” which he premiered on the same website (SB.TV) he debuted “Eraser” on Tuesday (Feb. 28). And if you enjoyed those bars, there’s plenty more where that came from.
It’s unclear whether Divide will feature other raps similar to the ones in “Eraser,” but for now indulge in Sheeran’s best lines up to this point.
Perhaps Sheeran’s most unexpected raps, this + track actually starts out rather soft and slow but quickly packs a punch as he manages to whip out some seriously fast verses. All the while, it’s still a melodically beautiful song overall… and meshing soothing acoustics with rap isn’t an easy thing to do.
The first single from Sheeran’s x merges his rap skills as well as his falsetto abilities to create perhaps his most radio-friendly track — that is, of course, until the chart-topping “Shape of You.”
“All About It” (Hoodie Allen feature)
This isn’t as high-speed as some of Sheeran’s other raps, but it’s one of the only chances fans get to hear him paired with a fellow rapper — and instead of being outshined, he keeps right up.
A lot of times when Sheeran really gets into rap mode, he’s actually getting the most honest as he possibly can in his music. This is extremely apparent even upon first listen of “Eraser,” as he starts out rapping about his childhood and includes an entire montage of things he wishes he’d done — but in a way that comes off more masterful than heartbreaking (i.e., “Wish I told more people that I love ’em but it’s in the music that I’m known for”).
“You Need Me, I Don’t Need You”
As great (and personal) as “Eraser” is, it’s hard to top the final two Ed raps on this list. One of the tracks from his debut album, the fast-paced “You Need Me” really introduced Sheeran’s ability to fuse his singer-songwriter facade with an unexpected rapper side. And the lyric “They some I’m up and coming like I’m f—in’ in an elevator”? Even someone like Busta Rhymes would be impressed.
“Take It Back”
Even though Sheeran starts out this tune by declaring, “I’m not a rapper, I’m just a singer with a flow,” “Take It Back” is certainly one heck of a rap showcase. Between lines like “I was Macy Gray, I tried to say goodbye and I choked” and his ability to switch from rapid raps to passionate belts in the chorus, it’s pretty hard to not refer to him as a rapper/singer-songwriter.