Welcome to third-album Earl. On his 1st mixtape, EARL, the one that rose him to media attention and brought Odd Future to the light of day, he was young, but amazing prodigal flow aside, EARL was violent, homophobic, scary, and mean: you know, Odd Future. After turning 18 and returning from the boarding school his mom sent him to after hearing the mixtape, Sweatshirt returned with Doris, a more personal telling, Thebe Neruda Kgositsile (his real name)-type album. With tracks like “Chum” and “Home,” we got real into Earl’s psyche, and with “Whoa,” we got the classic rambunctious-without-the-hate version of Odd Future that I enjoy, but there was something about Doris that downplayed the rest of the material. This same feeling is present here on I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside.

Columbia fucking up how the record was released, and seeing To Pimp A Butterfly drop a week early aside, Earl seems bored. I don’t know if it’s just the delivery or if it’s the lyrics, but there isn’t really anything going on on this record. He doesn’t sound excited or personally invested in any of the songs at all. Sure, that was his shtick on “Chum” and Doris, but at least there was some emotion and story to that track. Even “Grief,” the single here, seems un-enthused. Maybe it’s just his follow-up depression record, hence the title and cover art and material, maybe it’s got him feeling word blocked or just lost. Maybe it’s because he produced it all himself except for Left Brain on “Off Top,” or maybe it’s just his tie to Odd Future that’s holding him back. Sure, he’s on Columbia now, but he’s still Odd Future. Earl Sweatshirt is moving in a direction right now as an upcoming young rapper, but the Odd Future direction might not be the one for him, especially since we haven’t seen anything really great out from them in a long time. I don’t have anything against “sad rap,” but “directionless monotonous rap” is another thing entirely. Earl can make music like this and still have it be good, still have it be enjoyed by listeners, like “Chum” was, but if he’s going to make the record sound like it was a chore, then we’re not going to want to join that experience either.

Listen on Apple Music and Spotify.