Since Odd Future first burst onto the scene in 2008, Earl Sweatshirt became a fan favourite. After the release of his debut mixtape, 2010's Earl, his mother sent him from LA to a school in Samoa, prompting the chant "Free Earl" to be yelled at their frenetic live shows. When Odd Future signed to Sony Music, many questioned whether Earl would be part of the deal. Luckily he was and with 2013’s debut Doris, named after his Grandmother, he cemented his place as one of the most exciting new rappers out there.
Since Doris, however, Earl Sweatshirt has gone back to basics on the ironically called “I Don’t Like S**t, I Don’t to Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt”. The production is as stark and minimal as anything an Odd Future member has released thus far. Apart from Off Top, the production was all down to Earl. And it shows. Like the title states, the music has a slightly woozy claustrophobic feel; as the lyric from lead single Grief backs up “Good Grief, I been reaping what I sowed/N***a, I ain’t been outside a minute/I been living what I wrote.”
While Doris was chocked full of guest spots, fellow OFWGKTA members Tyler, the Creator, Frank Ocean and Domo Genesis were joined by Wu-Tang’s RZA, this time Earl is pretty much on his own. While the tracks feel more coherent, there is a lack of texture to the vocals. Luckily the savvy lyrical content makes up for this. “I spent the day drinking and missing my grandmother/Just grab a glass and pour up some cold white wine” A more than subtle reference to Doris and later on the track Inside “My first apartment was/Really covered with roaches/Cause n****s was really smoking”. This is the power of Earl’s lyrics. Just when you think you understand, he throws in something at the end and the meaning is totally changed.
On previous albums Earl has come across immature and churlish. This has been stripped away on I Don’t Like S**t, I Don’t to Go Outside. Instead we find an artist brave enough to explain the world as he sees it and stand on his own and follow through with his musical convictions. Earl’s rhymes are erudite and razor sharp. The beats are game changing. Earl is definitely now free!
I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside is out now.