Album Review: Earl Sweatshirt’s new album is deeper, more introspective

Earl Sweatshirt

By Montana Samuels |

Artist: Earl Sweatshirt

Album: I Don’t Like Sh*t, I Don’t Go Outside

Label: Columbia/ Tan Cressida

“And now, a formal introduction,” is the lead in to the track “Mantra” on Earl Sweatshirt’s latest album. The hook of the track mentions Sweatshirt playing it cautious, but this project is anything but.

This album finds Earl Sweatshirt taking an introspective approach – one that shows clear understanding of himself, and is also willing to share wisdom found along the way.

Earl Sweatshirt, the stage name for 21-year-old rapper and producer Thebe Neruda Kgositsile, who is also part of hip hop collective group Odd Future, shows clear progression in the album from his earlier works.

The Los Angeles-based artist deals with the death of his grandmother, his relationship with his mother, his romantic forays and the never-ending balance of living a normal life with managing newfound fame. He has almost silently dealt with fame since his return from Samoa saw him being thrust into the spotlight.

In a recent NPR microphone check interview, he stated, “I’ve never been this transparent with myself or with music. I’ve never been behind myself this much.”

One of the best examples, ironically, doesn’t even come from Sweatshirt himself, but from best friend Na’kel Smith, whose verse speaks almost entirely about the death of a childhood friend. On other Earl Sweatshirt projects to this point, it would have felt out of place. However, on this album, it couldn’t make more sense.

Sweatshirt pushes himself on this album. No word is out of place, no flow foreign and it is clear that the project is a personal one, with all but one of the tracks produced by him.

But most clearly, he pushed himself to be honest through his music. The combination of clarity and polished delivery is a sign of things to come for the young artist, as it is, by far, his most ambitious project to date.

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