With NX Worries, Remy Banks, and more
Wednesday, September 2, 2015
Better than: Jumping on stage and being told to "actually not."
For someone who doesn’t like shit or going outside, Earl Sweatshirt sure knows how to put on a fucking show. His latest LP, actually titled I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, could be difficult to tour. It’s one of the darkest and most personal rap albums possibly ever, but Sweatshirt fans don’t flock to Earl for his hooks – but maybe they will?
Five months ago, fans were saddened when the rapper canceled his original date due to illness. In the end, it was better this way, because at last night’s rescheduled stop, the 21-year-old unleashed a flurry of “new slappers” of dark-tinged turn-up material. Not a bad consolation prize at all.
Grand Central’s warehouse-style floor was half-full as opening rappers took turns trying to capture the crowd’s attention, and while some of them performed quite well, the big cheers were saved for the main event. He took the stage at 10:26 p.m., inspiring an eruption of weed smoke from the audience. It was dark from the beginning as Earl launched into a slew of tracks off 2013’s Doris, beginning with “Pre,” “Burgundy,” and “Guild.”
“We got something nice for you, a song about face fucking – fucking freckles off your face,” he said before moving into the not-so-PC but very energetic sing-along of “Molasses.”
“That sounds like some Florida shit,” Earl said.
Never would he dip into his earlier catalog of childlike violence, and with his mature hits out of the way, Sweatshirt moved on to new, even darker material.
“How many of y’all got that I Don’t Like Shit?” The crowd screamed approval. “So, if I start playing some cuts from that, you won’t look at me like I’m crazy?”
And by “play some cuts,” he meant play the entire album from beginning to end. It was an emotional experience as we all huddled, high as pelicans, mesmerized by his languid flow and intimate confessions.
He proved himself a true master of ceremonies. Before going into “Grown Ups,” he taught the crowd the chorus and rehearsed it with them before the song started. He kept energy up with constant crowd engagement, ensuring that, even if you didn’t catch every heady word, you were right there in the middle of his fear, shame, and joy – but only in a metaphorical sense.
“Oh no, actually not,” he said pushing a girl offstage. The rapper has a history of shaming fans who think they have the right to be part of the show. Do not fuck with Sweatshirt. He may look a little funny, but he will beat your ass.
“Make some noise, we got through the album – except for that girl, don’t make any noise for that girl,” Earl said as he finished the final chords of “Wool.” “Now, there’s only one way to get rid of bad juju, and that’s with new slappers.”
He then treated the crowd to four or five new tracks with a lot more turn-up than anything Earl’s previously released. A fan of grimy trap music, it sounds like Sweatshirt’s forthcoming release will show how masterfully he can craft his own sinister street rap.
Some of the yet-to-be-titled tracks premiered a couple of weeks ago during his set at the Low End Theory Festival in L.A., but at least one of these songs was news to us. He led the crowd once again in a sing-along, teaching us to chant “if that’s on you, then that’s on me too.”
He finished not with a traditional encore of recognizable hits but with a final trap jam not of his own recording but by someone else entirely. He didn’t even rap it; he just mobbed about onstage with his friends behind the DJ booth and waited as fans danced and mingled their way out of the venue. When we checked our clocks, it was hard to believe he’d performed for only an hour.
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It's even harder to believe this was one of the last shows that will ever grace the Grand Central stage, but in that respect, it was worthy.
- Off Top
- Grown Ups
- AM // Radio
- New Songs