A solid argument can be made that the last three months saw more successful albums drop than the entire last year did. With Drake, Action Bronson, Kendrick Lamar and Big Sean all releasing chart-topping music this year, Earl Sweatshirt’s latest I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirt is yet another addition to the round-up of excellent hip hop this year has seen thus far.
While Doris was his official debut studio album in 2013, Earl considers I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside as his first studio album, telling NPR it’s because he feels he can back up everything he says, the good and the bad.
While the album adds up to an even thirty minutes, it’s a lot of content packed into one punch, with dark, industrial downbeat production and seemingly stream-of-conscious rapping.
With Doris, Earl received criticism that his vocals were delivered with too much indifference and were all over the place, and in this latest release, the energy in the delivery shifts from a balance of bold and confident to slower and conscientious that shows the artist is growing into his talents.
Earl Sweatshirt, known from Odd Future fame and his mixtape Earl in 2010, is an ambitious rapper, even more so factoring in his young age and his early exposed contributions to the rap scene. His verses pack a lot of rhymes and he stretches his vocabulary and patterns like that of a prolific poet. On first listen, it’s a lot to digest. On second, third and fourth listens, this album truly accomplishes a lot, and its short length is appropriate, working in favor of the album’s overall moody vibe.
It’s coherency holds a complexity to it, with tracks blending into one story, touching on fame, youth, responsibility, drugs and being anti-social by nature. Then, once you factor in the impressive fact that Earl handled majority of the production in addition to having successfully captured moodiness and grittiness in his lyrics, this album is quite a feat.
The artist is in a state of transition and his recognition of that, as an individual with a vision and voice to share, helps the album to be relatable and worthy of its successes. While it could fall into a “coming-of-age” category, it remains unique in a way that helps it to be a memorable, experimental release.
Overall, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside is angsty without being written off as a display of haphazard immaturity. In fact, the opposite reigns true. A solid album and one to be listened to and digested as a whole, and on repeat.