#24. Earl Sweatshirt: I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside: An Album by Earl Sweatshirt
Earl Sweatshirt turned 21 years old just one month before releasing I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside. Despite his young age, this is far from his first project. He’s been rapping professionally since his mid-teens, putting out solo music and performing as part of hip-hop clique Odd Future. His 2013 studio debut Doris proved he could stand toe to toe with the rap heavyweights of his generation, and I Don’t Like Shit confirms that his first album wasn’t a fluke.
Earl has previously rapped about battling anxiety, but on I Don’t Like Shit he takes us to the front line of his fight. The bright harmonies and layered production of Doris are stripped bare, replaced with brooding, murky instrumentals. His beats evoke a different shade of darkness from the anger of Vince Staples’ or the syrupy brooding of Drake’s. They have a glazed-over moodiness that’s less aggressive than those of his counterparts and more apathetic.
Due to the gloomy vibe and consistent production from Earl himself, all thirty minutes of I Don’t Like Shit tend to blend together. The album functions better as a whole than any of its tracks do individually. This is music meant to be listened to on repeat on a rainy day, staring out of a foggy window as beads of water roll down the glass. On lead single “Grief,” Earl’s angst is highlighted as he raps about wallowing in grief after his grandmother’s death, rapping “I just want my time and my mind intact / when they both gone you can’t buy them back.” He seems to carry the brunt of his anxiety alone behind closed blinds, having trouble coping with his problems as he raps “good grief, I been reaping what I sowed.” “I ain’t been outside in a minute,” he continues, “I been living what I wrote.”
To be completely honest, I Don’t Like Shit is not the best listening material if you’re feeling depressed or vulnerable. It’s earnest enough to not feel dramatized, but catchy enough to toss it on repeat only to find yourself wallowing alongside Earl. He struggles with a lot of stress on this album, and poses many more internal conflicts than he offers solutions to. Hopefully, the release of this music into the world was cathartic for him, and his next album will steer his talents down a more sunlit path.