Earl Sweatshirt has progressed into a different artist than what was heard on his debut album ‘Doris’. The monotonous delivery that we were reluctantly becoming accustomed to has been cast aside in favour of a more passionate and natural style of performing on his latest effort I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside: An Album By Earl Sweatshirt. Many praised his premature level of skill that he introduced us to on his initial mixtape, now though, it seems like all the discussed potential has finally been realised and Earl has now evolved into the mature, intelligent artist we have been waiting to meet.
The production was handled almost entirely by Earl, aside from ‘Off Top’, which was headed-up by his fellow Odd Future member Left Brain. It is an altogether dark, gritty and fuzzy sound that takes over the whole album. Echoing drums are often accompanied by eerie synths and low bass lines, all of which aid in creating an atmosphere of perfected melancholy throughout. The only downfalls come in the form of a few ill fitting features; Vince Staples may introduce ‘Wool’ with vicious intent, but Wiki soils ‘AM/Radio’ with his weak appearance.
Earl’s recently acquired higher level of self awareness, both musically and personally, has allowed him to become more comfortable and confident in the studio. You can hear it in Earl’s voice that he is less doubtful of himself and he is far from the fidgety, withdrawn young man that we saw in the first interviews concerning his return from Samoa. It’s clear that the culmination of all his experiences has led to this album – a record that many have been waiting to hear from him for quite some time.
It’s not just his sound that has matured but the lyrical content and themes as well. Earl focuses on relationships with his friends, mother, family and record label and it is can be brutally honest at times. He goes into detail on very personal matters on tracks like ‘Grief’ and ‘Faucet’, resulting in two of the most personal tracks we may have heard from him yet. On ‘DNA’ he states he’s “here, there, up and down, low and peaking”, admitting that the new found confidence may not be fully instilled in the doubtful young artist.
Earl has stated that this is the first project he’s released that he can fully stand behind and it shows. The confidence Earl has in himself and his work, as well as the natural progression that comes with someone who started so young, was all he needed to finally justify all that hype and meet the expectations of those who have been waiting. While the album may only be 30 minutes long, there is enough buried content for an immediate second or third listen. The more you grasp, the more you want to listen again. It is an enthralling record from a rapper who is wise beyond his years and Earl Sweatshirt should prove to be one of the best emcees of our time if this is the standard set for his future releases.