Earl Sweatshirt – Earl


Juvenile juvenilia’s the term for this one.

Pitchfork placed this album at #98 on its list of “The 100 Best Albums of the Decade So Far“, obviously to compensate for the fact that they missed reviewing it the first time around. The truth is, Earl Sweatshirt only got better from here: Doris might have had a few bad apples (“Guild”), but it also had a lot more wins (“Sunday,” “Chum”), and while it wasn’t available to be considered for that Pitchfork list, I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside was the first time Earl found his niche: introverted bedroom rap, and thus, was his most focused album so far.

Tyler, the Creator’s beats (and Left Brain’s “epaR” (get it? FUCK OFF!) and BeatBoy’s “Stapleton”) are all interchangeable – and why wouldn’t they be? Tyler, the Creator’s beats are just a discount, lo-fi version of Pharrell’s, and 90% of his success can be attributed to being at the right place, right time. No shit, the lazy club beats of “Rack City” et al. have more effort than what Tyler does here. Then there’s the matter of having to wade through this sort of bullshit: “you know it’s not rape if you like it, bitch” (this is real reasoning used by rapists and rape is not funny) and “This bitch is underage / But I’ll have her face off tied and Nicholas caged” (did you just not trust your listeners to understand the Face Off reference?) and “But anyway, give me cash fag, cause I’m low on gas / Aww fuck it, about to jack off, go catch a fucking cab” (no seriously, just read that one aloud and then proceed donate money to the ADHD research society).

All that being said, Earl Sweatshirt is one of the best rappers around right now, and despite his youth and despite the subject matter, his flow sometimes suggests he’s Eminem in a big-lipped disguise (which would make sense, considering the imposter-level shit Eminem is pushing at this time): “As hungry as a cannibal, trapped in a van of cantaloupes” (which also gives me flashbacks to “The Real Slim Shady”); “This burlap sack is filled / With snacks for after class for the whole class to snack up”; “So they picked on him, hassled him / Things changed when I hassled back, so / David hit the pavement with this grapple rap / Snapple fact: you rather wack / While I am poppin’ like a snappin’ crack / So high you could see like Tallahass, the opposite of cataracts / Matter fact I am Farmer John milkin’ cattle tracks.”

And of course, when he runs through this bit on “Earl”: “Go on, suck it up; but hurry, I got nuts to bust / And butts to fuck and ups to shut and sluts to fucking uppercut / It’s O.F. buttercup: go ahead, fuck with us / Without a doubt, a sure-fire way to get your mother fucked / Ask her for a couple bucks, shove a trumpet up her butt.” It single-handedly makes the second verse of the song superfluous, and even if he didn’t manage some impressive rhymes earlier in that same verse (“Hot and bothered astronaut” with “Asher Roth eating apple sauce” with “Poke Catholics in the ass with saws”) or the clever inversion in “When Big Lips is in the attic armed with an addict’s arm”, it would still be one of the greatest verses you’ll ever hear.

Probably overrating this, but a verse like that doesn’t come often: B

One response to “Earl Sweatshirt – Earl

  1. Pingback: Isaiah Rashad – The Sun’s Tirade | Free City Sounds·

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