Odd Future cohort Earl Sweatshirt can be forgiven for his claustrophobic album title. At only 16, he was plucked from his budding rap career by his mother, responding to his drug use and poor grades, and sent to a reform school in Samoa. Since returning, he’s talked about having a tumultuous time partying on tour and struggling to get his life and health back. The result of all that back and forth is I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside, and album that doubles down on the grim paranoia set forth by his last album, the excellent Doris. Earl has a way of expressing his pain honestly while keeping his rhymes engaging instead of seeming like a diary pour—“ Picked the road that got twists/I'm holding my dick and playing cautious,” he says on “Mantra.” On the grim “Faucet,” he raps about not knowing where to call home and who to call a friend (“I feel like I'm the only one pressin' to grow upwards”). The stunning “Grief” offers imagery of Earl facing panic attacks, grabbing for the Xanax bottle and reminiscing about drugs and girls on tour over a murky beat but ultimately coming out of the haze, finishing off with the lines, “I just want my time and my mind intact/When they both gone, you can't buy ’em back.” I Don’t Go Outside is focused nearly to a fault, but in keeping the album as variations on a theme, it helps further establish Earl as a compelling character—the tortured wayward son, reveling in and revolted by his own hedonism—crafting a potent statement in the process. The distilled paranoia of I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside easily makes for one of the most memorable hip-hop albums of the year.
Earl Sweatshirt – “Grief”
Odd Future cohort Earl Sweatshirt has announced a new album without much notice (as seems to be the going trend these days) called I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, and true to that sunny title, “Grief” is an anxiety-riddled trip through Earl’s psyche, over a digitally degraded, hollowed-out beat and cloudy synth. Thankfully, Earl hasn’t gone the slightest bit soft since releasing the excellent Doris in 2013, promising much for I Don’t Go Outside.
Death Grips – “On GP”
The second track from Sacramento’s Death Grips’ supposed last album throws us for another loop, as MC Ride barks imperiously over Zach Hill’s unpredictable rolls a huge riff that sounds like a Neil Young record played through a turbine. Then the whole thing shifts for a dreamier second half, during which Ride’s words become more desperately pointed. It’s an utterly gripping seven-and-a-half minutes of music, one of the best things the band has done. Orders for The Powers That B (due March 31) are through the roof, so get on it!
Known to his mum as Archy Marshall, the South East London native is known globally to his fans as the baritone crooner King Krule. What started with humble beginnings beatmaking in his bedroom, alone on a malfunctioning laptop, is now a full-fledged music career at the tender age of 19. And the kid is really good. Pop mega star Beyonce and underground Hip Hop phenom Earl Sweatshirt have both voiced their praises for King Krule. A recent tour stop in Southern California saw back to back sold out dates at The Echo. Despite not having a radio hit, King Krule has already garnered major buzz.
Although he first cultivated a cult following via free digital downloads, Archy Marshall prefers the hiss and dust of vinyl over the digital format. Most teenagers have little to no knowledge about music pre-MP3 or digital download. Few know what it's like to go digging for vinyl at a local record store, but King Krule is the exception. Raised on Jazz, R&B, Rock and Hip Hop, Archy Marshall has all the makings of an old school musician. His debut album, 6 Feet Beneath The Moon, was released on his 19th birthday.
On a recent trip to Amoeba Hollywood, King Krule hung out with our cameras for another awesome episode of "What's In My Bag?" This is definitely a must-see video, with King Krule showing off a very deep and wide musical palette. Given his selections it is no wonder why his music is winning fans all over the world. He kicks off things with a very cool picture disc of The Damned's Live In Newcastle. A huge fan of soul music, Marshall picks up Donny Hathaway's Extension of A Man and The Singers Unlimited's Just In Time. All of his selections are on wax including Talking Heads' Remain In Light and the Pixies' Doolittle. Kudos to King Krule for keeping the vinyl alive!
Through my Weekly Roundup series every Thursday (returning in 2014), I listen to a lot of stuff from California-based artists. Here’s a list of 40 great albums that were made by artists based in this great state. There were lots more, so just consider this my own personal list, and let me know if there’s anything I missed!
Epically beautiful seafaring pop from the dude formerly of The Mallard.
The cute electro-pop duo get dancier with freestyle sounds on their second album.
1) Earl Sweatshirt Doris (Columbia)
2) A$AP Ferg Trap Lord (RCA)
3) Jay-Z Magna Carta Holy Grail (Def Jam)
4) Kendrick Lamar good kid, m.A.A.d city (Aftermath)
5) JJ Doom Key To The Kuffs (Butter Edition) (Lex Records)
Holding down the top two slots on this week's Hip-Hop Top Five chart from the Hollywood store are artists from hip-hop's two leading contemporary collectives repping each coast; Earl Sweatshirt represents Los Angeles' Odd Future while A$AP Ferg represents NYC's A$AP crew - and both have brand new albums out this week that offer a nice slice of what young hip-hop in 2013 sounds like. Number one and representing the Left Coast is the brand new album Doris from Earl Sweatshirt who most got familiar with his 2010 debut mixtape, Earl. Fast forward three years and you have the artist's major label (Columbia/SONY) distributed official debut with an impressive array of guest artists from within his crew and beyond including Domo Genesis, Frank Ocean, Vince Staples & Casey Veggies, Tyler, The Creator, Mac Miller, and RZA. Doris is accurately described by the Amoeba website as "moody, angry yet not quite aggressive" and "self-deprecating tales that subtly hook their way into your subconscious….a brilliant debut that was more than worth the wait — if anything, the time and anticipation has ensured that Doris defies expectation." Below, among the various new hip-hop music videos, is the dark moody Earl Sweatshirt video for the new album track/single "Hive (feat. Vince Staples & Casey Veggies)" that has been out for a few weeks now.