I’ve been holding back from writing a post about Earl Sweatshirt’s latest album, partly because I initially wasn’t sure how keen I was on the record as a whole, and partly because it’s taken me a bit of time to get my head around some of the ideas and topics that the album explores. However, after listening to a couple of interviews, I have gained a bit more of an insight into the work and a better understanding of where the album comes from. This has really helped me appreciate this dark and introspective record.
The subtly entitled I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, sees Earl take full control of the album’s aesthetic, production and overall structure. The fact that more of the beats are produced by Earl himself, suggests that the rapper is taking more artistic control of his work. In fact, a growing awareness of ‘responsibilities’ in general is a theme that runs through the entire record.
The rapper confronts some very personal issues on the album: he explores his relationship with his mother, the difficulties he has experienced in adapting to the fame that has been thrust upon him, and his changing attitude towards life in general. A very mild sense of disgust for some of the inconsequential and brutal rhyming he has done in the past is also present on certain tracks, and is suggestive of Earl’s gathering artistic and personal maturity.
The album still feels raw and at times brutally detached, but this moral detachment is not as much of a focus as it has been in a lot of OF material. In fact, this sense of detachment appears to be just one consequence of Earl’s troubled personal life.
One gets the impression that Earl is moving in a positive direction in his own life and that, despite a chaotic few years that have seen him suffer from chronic fatigue amongst other things, he is gradually enriching the content of his music. This record lacks some of the upbeat and aggressive lyrical playfulness that we heard on Doris, but is, in a way, much more exciting due to the fact that it indicates the rapper is realising the value and potential power of his work.
There’s my two cents… what do you think?