Following the trend of unexpected album drops, Earl Sweatshirt released “I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt” on Monday, with the only hint being a tweet that said “2 MORE DAYS TILL YOU FEEL ALL OF THIS,” which itself was even misleading.
The 30-minute album plays like a single track with interludes, intros, and outros that lead the listener along like they’re hearing an old story. Earl clearly has a lot to say, and doesn’t hold back.
In this album, Earl touches on his relationship with his girlfriend, missing his grandmother and how he feels about progressively becoming more famous.
The opening track, “Huey,” gives off a feeling of relief like discovering something that you didn’t know you were missing. Earl’s recognizable flow shows in the first few lines, with the classic slowdown spotlighting lyrics that he knew needed their own moments. “My bitch say this spliff take the soul from me,” he raps, and later, “I spend the day drinkin’ and missin’ my grandmother.”
He speaks to his audience, aware that it contains all different kinds of people, including the members of his record company, critics, fans, family, other members of his rap group Odd Future and even his competition. He does this by criticizing reactions to his music and telling stories about what his life has been like since deciding to pursue a rap career.
“Mantra” presents itself after “Huey” as the track that makes you mindlessly decide to go deaf from turning the volume up too loud in your headphones. Earl immediately comes in after the first beat with an aggressive, but unifying first verse that turns into the track you’ll be blasting in your friends’ cars throughout the summer. And he isn’t kidding when he says “Imma show you how it’s done right nigga,” as the beat drops.
Earl’s voice sits comfortably on top of the beat of “Mantra,” which contains the perfect amounts of echo, reverb, background sounds and fade-in/fade-out effects.
While ranting on Twitter about how Sony Music Global wronged him by changing the release date of his video for “Grief,” Earl explained to his fans that he wanted them to be able to focus on the video before having to handle “the hype of an album.”
After watching the video for “Grief,” it’s clear what Earl was trying to do. The video is entirely shot in negative, with Earl rapping and walking through an abstract environment. The slow and muddy beat moves along in a snail-like manner with Earl’s opening lines being: “Good grief, I’ve been reapin’ what I sow / Nigga I ain’t been outside in a minute / I’ve been livin’ what I wrote” telling you that this song contains most of Earl’s dark thoughts on the album.
In the video, he smokes while wandering around and rapping revealing lyrics, such as, “Step into the shadows, we can talk addiction / When it’s hard for where you goin’ / And the part of you that know it don’t give a fuck.” At the end of “Grief,” you’re left either thinking about what Earl could possibly be going through, or how he managed to put what you’re going through in a few verses.
Throughout the rest of the album, Earl shows off his ability to tackle any beat and make it an “Earl Sweatshirt thing.” He collaborates with fellow Odd Future member (and non-rapper) Na’Kel on “DNA,” which features an almost dirty-South-gone-West-Coast flow from both of them. On “Grown Ups,” the only track produced by fellow OF rapper Left Brain, Earl exhibits a stairway flow of going up or down with each word that makes it too easy to nod your head. Earl collaborates with Manhattan rapper Wiki on “AM” with tongue-twisting fast lines that he decided to use sparingly on this album compared to others.
“I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside” is Earl’s third album that leaves his fans anticipating what he will come up with next. His style is evidently maturing, becoming more adult along with the fans that were right with him at sixteen when his debut, “EARL,” was released. The anchor of the album, “Wool,” has a neo-‘90s-West-Coast rhythm and beat featuring Earl’s usual partner in music, Vince Staples. Vince’s intro verse is set up for Earl to pick up on and end his album on a note that makes you want to do exactly what he advised when people complained about it being too short: listen to it again.