Earl Sweatshirt is back. Odd Future’s resident evil took the surprise release route when he dropped I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside on March 23. The album was released with no announcement much to the chagrin of Earl Sweatshirt who took to his Twitter to berate his label for their mishandling of the project’s release.
Earl has been extremely quiet since the release of 2013’s Doris, a darling of the critics and a notch in Odd Future’s belt along with Frank Ocean’s Channel Orange and Tyler, The Creator’s Wolf. The sore thumb from this album was the absence of the said crew. Apart from Na’kel the album was sans the crew minus production from Left Brain.
Earl dodges critical and mainstream acceptance from the get go on the album’s intro “Huey.” On his trademark “merry go round of doom” style production Earl returns with a new found vigor, gets personal, and speaks on his issues with fan’s acceptance.
It’s Early running with niggas who cold running shit
The wins like lotion, he get ’em he go rub ’em in
Critics pretend to get it and bitches just don’t fuck with him
I spent the day drinking and missing my grandmother, just
– Earl Sweatshirt, Huey
The album’s content falls in line with it’s title. Dark and gloomy, Earl stays inside of a self created bubble throughout the album, only opening the door to like minded rap friends like Wiki, Da$h, and Vince Staples to appease the rap fiends. Majority of the production is handled by Earl under the pseudonym of RandomBlackDude.
IDLSIDGO is marked by the aptly titled “Grief.” Earl approaches the melancholy instrumental with an attitude only comparable to Ebenezer Scrooge in it’s dismissiveness. The lyrics only stamp the feeling behind the music. Earl denounces those “eating off of hooks” and clues us in on his day to day lifestyle. While the females are plenty and the confidence appears to be at an all time high, Earl’s still dealing with depression, his grandmother’s death, and drug abuse. His demons appear to be eating away at him and have rendered him a sort of recluse if you will despite amassing success beyond what he could have imagined.
Despite Earl’s previous work Doris being a critical and commercial success, it appears that he’s become tired with the pearls of stardom. While many yearn to achieve what an artist like Earl has, Sweatshirt appears to have become disenchanted with his success which is a common theme in among artists in 2015. When he does acknowledge his success, he does it with a sharp tongue.
And when I’m cornered, it’s action
I was kinda’ out the game
Momma put the quarter right back in the slot
In 09′, we took the 7 to the Dussy 17 to the block
Bitch, if yo’ nigga had Supreme, we was the reason he copped it
– Earl Sweatshirt, AM//Radio
Earl’s rapping on this album is as good as it’s ever been. His delivery shows growth. We’re used to the slow drawling Earl Sweatshirt, but there’s an aggressiveness in his voice on songs like “Mantra,” “AM//Radio,” and “Wool.” On the latter two it appears that the features from Wiki and Vince Staples respectively are what bring out another side of Earl. Nobody wants to get washed on their own record. With the challenge apparently accepted what ensues are some fantastic verses from some of hip hop’s finest young emcees.
In all of it’s gloom, Earl’s I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside is a polarizing effort. Either you love it for it’s artistic merit and the rapper behind it, or you simply cannot vibe with it’s dreariness. The production is handled solely by Earl (save “Off Top” by Leftbrain) to further it’s personal element as the rapper tells the tale of life since Doris. It doesn’t aim to please, but from the album’s title it looks as if that is exactly how anyone listening should feel.