I Do Love This, I Will Not Go Outside

I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, Earl’s third full-length to date, continues the upward swing the L.A. native has been cultivating since he and Odd Future first exploded on the scene in early 2010. His latest release is at once a fleshing out of the musical motifs and lyrical themes that make Earl so mesmerizing and accessible. Still representing a huge step forward, it is for certain the most intimate, personal piece he’s yet released.

I Don’t Like Shit is tight, but more than being tight, it’s loose. Tight lyrics, tight beats, tight final product. The production, however, and the structure, are as loose as it gets — more jazz than R&B, though it’s very R&B, reminiscent of Shades of Blue and Madvilliany.

Earl is almost scatting, giving us little in the way of concrete melody. Gone are the days of simplistic hooks or leaning on trapish simplism. Instead, what Sweatshirt offers is at once brutally honest, incredibly hard and flowing like butter— and at times enveloping and totally aural in its atmosphere, an amalgamation of the wavy, dreamy sense of a Flying Lotus track, with the mindful control of Sweatshirt through it all.

You won’t find more interesting juxtaposition of jazz elements, R&B and trap offered in a more riveting way so far this year. Everything about this record causes obsession — Sweatshirt’s intonation, the math nature of the beats — everything. Odd time signatures abound, with never a predictable moment, Earl switching easily amongst several different analog and digital recording techniques.

An analog feel certainly wins out, though, with a tape hiss between most tracks, and the beats occasionally sounding as if underwater, juxtaposed with Earl’s signature keyboard melodies and modulated harmonies. The final product feels like it was made to played on vinyl, just like an MF Doom record.

Despite all of that, though, what shines through the most on I Don’t Like Shit is the genuine honest nature of it all. The lyrics, the intonation, the passion — Earl is not fucking around on this record.

Even for Earl, who is definitely known for his Real with a capital R lyricism, I Don’t Like Shit is on a new level; lyricism, delivery, mechanics, themes and all. A verse that stands out especially is from track 3, Faucet, which concerns Sweatshirt’s disassociation with his home, and his mother, before he left for Samoa:

Fuck out my face while I’m thinking.
Ain’t step foot up in my momma’s place for a minute.
My days numbered.
I’m focused heavy on making the most of ‘em.
I feel like I’m the only one pressin’ to grow upwards.
It’s still fuck you and whoever you showed up with.
Just trying to see an end and some steadier hands.

That kind of intimacy is maintained, expanded on, throughout the record. And what’s more, it’s fucking hard, and it stays fucking hard. So imagine that — an amalgamation of Madlib’s analog beat feels, with the atmosphere of darker wave-trap like Night Lovell, and the hard honesty and delivery Earl gives us so well.

Holy shit, man. Honestly, this record is fantastic. Do yourself a favor: Buy this record and go see Earl.

Make the right decision: Catch Earl Sweatshirt with Vince Staples and Remy Banks at Corona on April 15th, 8pm.

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