20 year old lyricist extraordinaire Earl Sweatshirt has had an eventful four years. From the dark immature doldrums of his first eponymous mixtape Earl to the Free Earl movement and from the highly anticipated debut album Doris to this release, it’s obvious that the Odd Future rapper connects with a large audience who yearn to hear his existential yet widely relatable struggles.
This release follows up the consistently enjoyable Doris. An album that highlights a depressed Earl who criticizes the world around him for the majority of the project and the same can be said for I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. It illustrates the social problems faced by Earl and the album’s subject matter is dominated by darkness. All tracks apart from ‘Off Top’ are produced by Earl operating under the pseudonym ‘randomblackdude’. This personal touch and subject matter leaves room for a lot of subjectivity. Regardless of personal connectivity, this attitude is admirable as it sticks two fingers up to the middle man of the music industry and the archaic nature of an ‘album’. The album contains a lackluster single titled Grief and there aren’t any stand out bangers on here. Yet there are multiple good songs that deliver. [That is, if we leave out the awful song DNA which features OF member Na’kel; let’s not even go there]
We’re given a look into Earl’s mind once again on this project and this is provided on Grown Ups and the opening track Huey, both are dominated with the image of a defiant, determined Earl and brings beautifully crafted, typically Earl beats which are executed with deeply personal and impressive lyricism throughout.
“I spent the day drinking and missing my grandmother”
“My father ain’t my mother f—-ing friend”
The track Faucet is a different story, depicting a depressing realization with a slow instrumentation and furious outbursts from Earl. This really projects the darkest side of Earl’s apathetic view towards life in general but in spite of this, it’s a very relevant and hard-hitting number for today’s culture. The same sentiment is provided on the short but sweet track ‘Inside’. This is my favourite song on the record as its theme of success’s woes are amplified in the most ordinary fashion.
Overall I personally enjoyed this album. Most of its themes came close to my heart, but I do understand its critics. It’s not Earl’s most quality-filled piece and although it may be condemned as lazy and lackluster, I believe Earl has successfully created a platform on which to build and master. I’m scoring it a 7 out of 10, I feel that’s an objective marker which allows for a little personal bias from an album filled up with existentialism.