Earl Sweatshirt's career hasn't been the most linear or typical journey for a rapper who was once touted as being the prodigal son of Hip-Hop. Rising to rap notoriety through the polarizing Los Angeles-based collective Odd Future, Earl was notoriously absent during the group's meteoric rise. As a result, many Hip-Hop fans didn't know what to expect from the young lyricist following his return to the states. His debut album Doris finally arrived in 2013 to widespread acclaim, years after his infamous mixtape Earl. Yet, it was his sophomore outing that shifted Earl's trajectory in an entirely different direction.
I Don't Like Sh*t, I Don't Go Outside was almost entirely self-produced, and the album saw Earl dive deeper into the dark, harrowing, and lo-fil soundscapes that fans today celebrate him for. While less commercially successful, IDLSIDGO still received mass critical acclaim, and upon its six-year anniversary, there's no better song to revisit than its lead single "Grief."
Produced by Earl under the moniker of RandomBlackDude, "Grief" was initially described by the artist as a "final lament and monologue," but it also ironically sparked the stark shift in Earl's sonic direction moving forward. The grimy lo-fi production sports robust samples from Gary Wilson's "You Were Too Good to Be True" and Erykah Badu's "Fall in Love (Your Funeral)," but in contrast to its upbeat sources of inspiration, the song sounds rugged and bleak. With a vicious first verse and a spacy second verse representing a well-executed artistic idea, "Grief" was a truly impressive single that truly set the stage for the otherworldly I Don't Like Sh*t, I Don't Go Outside.
You circus n*ggas, you turning into tricks
I was making waves, you was surfing in 'em
Dealing with the stomach pains just from birthing n*ggas' shit
Cut the grass off the surface
Pray the lawnmower blade catch the back of a serpent n*gga's shit