Earl Sweatshirt is at the point in his life where most people go through a peak of being anti-social. While this point for a lot of people seems to be just a phase, Earl’s may be a lot more than that. As part of Odd Future – a group that seem to love going against everything in an extremely teenage way – Earl is the member whose debut album got delayed because he was sent to a camp for naughty teenagers. A story that will probably stay with him for a long long time. Earl Sweatshirt is probably the only member of Odd Future who has a genuine amount of angst and frustration in him all the time.
Instead of embracing his more energetic side and distancing himself from the MF Doom comparisons he’s had since day one, Earl has sunken even deeper into this subdued atmosphere. He still sounds like he’s influenced by DOOM, but at this point, it’s starting to just sound like him. It sounds like he’s harnessed this influence to the point where it’s barely noticeable. The lead single off of this album is the best precurser for the way that the album sounds in terms of atmosphere. ‘Grief’ has one of the most murky hip-hop beats this year so far and Earl spits over the top of it with a slow motion flow, slurring every syllable of his words along the way. ‘All I see is snakes in the eyes of these niggas’ he spits as he becomes more disillusioned with the people that surround him. Now he’s growing up and fame has found it’s way to him, he’s decided to sink back into himself judging from afar and self-deprecating along the way.
‘I Don’t Like Shit…’ isn’t as blatantly self-aware as ‘Doris’ was. He still doesn’t like his Dad but the lines about him are a lot more subdued than before, as is everything else that surrounds this record. The guest list on this album only contains four guests compared to the host that were on his first album, yet every single one of them supports his moodiness fantastically. Wiki from Ratking sounds surprisingly good over the extremely Lo-Fi production on the track ‘AM// Radio’, something that could hopefully see him expand as an MC in the future. This record was written amidst a break up at a time where Earl seems to just want to sink into weed and Xanax, and after long useage realising that he’s not even enjoying either of them. Even though Earl subdues everything, he still manages to pack in some serious attitude into his verses like on ‘DNA’ where he’s spitting insults with each word having some serious menace in the delivery.
Earl Sweatshirt produced nearly this entire record himself and proves that he’s easily one of the most creative and serious artists to come out of the Odd Future camp. Sonically this record captures the essence of sitting in a smoky room while people surround you having a good time yet you can only sink into yourself. Nothing that should help does. The production is so sparse taking influence from Jazz music and then just stripping the music of any fat and leaving us with these thin skeletal beats. Every song has these little instrumental passages that are thrown onto the back-end and go into the next track. Some of them are a drastic mood change from the track itself, yet they never seem genuinely happy. It’s like they’re the equivalent of putting on a smile in front of people at a time where you just want to be on your own.
The way that his label butchered the release of this new album could cause a few things within Earl. It could mean he could sink into himself even more giving us more passive aggressive bars. It would be nice to see a bit more proper aggression coming from Earl every now and again though, and many of his fans will miss that from him. But what he’s doing he does well. Although ‘I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside’ is an extremely lean project coming in at just over half an hour, its solid evidence that Earl is a character that’s here to stay and is taking his art seriously and doing what HE wants to do.
Best Tracks: Huey, Grief, Faucet, DNA