Earl Sweatshirt releases strong sophomore album


Artist: Earl Sweatshirt

Album: I don’t like shit, I don’t go outside

Label: Columbia Records

Release Date: March 16, 2015

Earl Sweatshirt of OFWGKTA, following in the footsteps of Kendrick Lamar and Drake, dropped an unannounced album titled I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. The rapper’s sophomore album follows the well-received Doris, which was released two years ago.

The 10-track album has a handful of features including his Odd Future (OF) cohort Na’Kel, Cutthroat Boyz’ Vince Staples, Ratking’s Wiki and Da$H. Earl was discovered by Tyler, The Creator and started out recording tracks for the Kitchen Cutlery mixtape.

Before the tape was completed, Earl Sweatshirt joined OF.

The album shares the same dark, brooding energy fans have come to love from the Cali-based rapper, while still managing to maneuver in the happy-go-lucky vibes of OF. The beginning track “Huey” – which might be connected to Adult Swim’s 10-year-old revolutionary Huey Freeman from the “The Boondocks” – is the embodiment of the iconic OF approach: lazy, happy vibes laid below gritty, aggressive rhymes.

The next tracks, “Mantra” and “Faucet,” move to classic bangers we’ve come to love from Earl. The rapping on it is heavy with a slow, understated beat in the background so the lyrics are the focus of the song.

The debut-single “Grief” comes into play midway through the album. The song touches on the lack of trust he holds for others in the industry, with lyrics like “I’m a target so it’s hard to even eye me in em / If he ain’t dying for me, then I ain’t riding with him.”

Deeper context for the track is found in a twitter rant Earl went on with the drop of the track’s video: “I WOULD LIKE TO PERSONALLY THANK @SonyMusicGlobal 4 ******* UP THE ROLL OUT PROCESS OF MY SHIT. SOMEONE GOTS 2 PAY 4 THEIR MISTAKES ! #SWEAT,” he said in a tweet on March 17.

The artist finishes out the album with his own style of bravado over tripping drums and sharp snares. With a progression that can at times go unnoticed, Earl and his cohorts manage to keep it fresh as a new pair of Vans. This is another opportunity for Earl to express his own style and put out his own work instead of just collaborating.

I don’t like shit, I don’t go outside is a strong follow-up to first album, Doris, if not an improvement in his skill and a fine-tuning of his style. Earl is proving he is out to make a statement, avoiding the all-too-familiar curse of having a sophomore album that falls short of its predecessor in the eyes of critics.

The album is short, clocking in at 30 minutes, so it’ll get more than a few replays in your playlist. It can only be hoped that label problems won’t affect future releases, as it has become more apparent that artists have gripes with their managing industry labels. Good “Grief.”

Kenneth Kashif Thomas is a staff writer and can be reached at arts@ubspectrum.com