Earl Sweatshirt has declared I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside as his first album to really stand behind, "I've never been this transparent with myself or with music. I've never been behind myself this much." The ten-track ensemble is a treasured collection of the nurtured, the hoarded and the beloved. Standing at thirty minutes, it falls stubbornly between the fuzzy margins of the EP and the LP. Inspired by the counsel of Flying Lotus, Earl produced all but one of the sauntering, jazz licked beats under his alias RandomBlackDude. They are largely cohesive with the bleak nature of the album, yet his beats are inexplicably capable of producing a momentary mirage of elation. Although bleak, it cannot be disregarded that the album is shrouded by a dejected sense of fulfilment; it's clear there has been a vital discovery of purpose within this release. Asserting a matured voice that demonstrates his growth, Earl has become so sure and so undoubted of himself. This is something he is truly proud of. Something he is willing to stand for.
Earl exposes his audience to his melancholic saga. He traces the struggles of his life as he was growing up, his experiences in Samoa and his sceptical return as he found himself thrust into fame’s spotlight. After the funfair synths of the opener ‘Huey’ and the chilling slap-to-the-face of ‘Mantra’ comes ‘Faucet’, the first painful look in the mirror. Earl reflects on his most solemn experiences at home, the track is a confrontation of the woes of his past and ultimately a sad acceptance of them. Earl seems consumed by his most visceral relationships, giving particular focus to his inextricable relations with his mother. It seems Earl had outgrown all things maternal. Following this is 'Grief', the haunting collaboration of a spectral beat and some of the most sincere and heart-breaking lyrics of the album. Working as a final lament and epilogue, 'Grief' allows to Earl to express his will to leave behind the vices that have sought to hinder him. Producing the lament as a form of closure to the troubled start of his life.
Form this point onwards the album transforms, there is an innovative air of growth and disassociation from Odd Future. Where Doris was littered with needless celebrity appearances, Earl has produced something that seems utterly him, without the influence of his higher profile OF comrades. Instead he features obscure member of OF, Na’kel, who collaborates with Earl on ‘DNA’. The emcees bounce of each other succeeding the weight of the track’s content. I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside exhibits the revolution of the multi-dimensional emcee gifting fans an insight into his roots that have bound the audience to the artist, developing a globalised rapport. You feel like you know Earl by the end of the album although it is unlikely that anyone will ever truly understand him. Sadly at the end of album it is hard to foresee an optimistic future for Earl Sweatshirt, and yet his career has never looked brighter.
Words: Charlie Fyfe