I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside (photo:: )
Album reviews
Artist:
Earl Sweatshirt
Album:
I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside
Release year:
2015
Label:
Columbia , Tan Cressida
08 April 2015 / by Jonathan Rodil (author)

Earl Sweatshirt is in a league of his own when comes to the business of putting words together. Aside from his exceptional rapping ability, what makes the music so appealing, is the thoughtful self-aware perspective that comes across as very honest and real. The quality of the music doesn’t really cater to anyone but the creative vision and standards he set out for himself. It’s this uncompromising set of artistic standards focused on making something that sounds like Earl and no one else, all the while having a fresh and progressive aesthetic. This is true here, as the music is an advancement from his debut album, Doris, and doesn’t sound like any other music being put out right now. It’s more minimal and utilizes discordant, melodic loops to a greater effect. The newest project, appropriately titled I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside is an incisive release, one that manages to craft a sound that’s darkly serious and funny, obviously complemented by some great rapping.

The window into Earl’s life is wide open here, not that he hasn’t done this before, but it’s all in the way it’s presented here, thematically more intent on being darker and sounding even more anti-social. But it is very much an engaging piece of work that manages to pull you into his world and with such attention to detail and ingenuity that gives the album, a distinct, personal feel. This one dives into Earl’s perspective of his growing fame, the melancholy dipped in vice, and the failed, declining state of his close relationships. Aside from the personal themes of the album, Earl still takes up the boastful, confrontational raps and lyrical exercises done with such wit and finesse that it’s such a joy to hear, despite its insensitive nature.

Progression is a key point for the album as it is a testament to Earl’s evolution as an artist. Doris is a great rap album and still holds up quite well, but here he’s handling all the production except for “Off Top”, a brilliantly knocking, glitchy contribution by Left Brain, and the features are limited. The effort here is Earl putting more of an individual stamp on his work and having more creative control over the album structure. The album feels like a reintroduction for Earl, a departure from the expanded production and monotone vocals on Doris. The production here is sparser, displaying a more unpolished feel, just raw and dirtier sounding, like bootleg, demo Mobb Deep tapes. The vocal delivery is stronger, confident and even more unapologetic.  To put this way, the airing of grievances is very real and deeply felt. To keep things in that perspective, it is complemented by the bleak, eccentric production and the aesthetic of rapping at a top-tier level, not only provided by Earl himself, but from all those who hold their weight considerably in the features. Without going unnoticed, it must be noted that one of the rawest, gut-wrenching verses on the album comes from Na’kel on “DNA”, who perfectly matches up with the somber tone on the beat.

The self-assuredness and concise quality of the music is tightly integrated to such a degree which makes this such a completely realized project from Earl. Note the running time on the album which clocks in at about a half hour, there isn’t really any time to indulge in anything outside the creative vision that Earl set out to pursue. The concise rap album is a rarity, and this lends itself to I Don’t Like Shit being a highly focused effort and holding strong replay value. The approach taken seems to be get in, get it off your chest, don’t BS it, say what you need say and that’s it, and on to the next. Worked well for Earl.

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The author

Jonathan Rodil

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