Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples, Remy Banks | The Ritz | Clubs & Concerts | Indy Week
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Earl Sweatshirt, Vince Staples, Remy Banks 

When: Sun., April 26, 8 p.m. 2015
Price: $25



THE RITZ, RALEIGH—During his Lincoln Theatre set at Hopscotch 2013, Earl Sweatshirt pumped up his audience with a pair of counterintuitive words: "Get sad." Nearly two years later, Odd Future's young schlemiel seems to have replaced his perpetual melancholia with anger on I Don't Like Shit, I Don't Go Outside. At about 30 minutes (half the length of Tyler, The Creator's new Cherry Bomb), Earl's album makes its points in fitful bursts, his angst now turned outward instead of inward. "Grief," for instance, is the inverse of Doris' "Chum"—a goodbye to teenaged miseries, an introduction to something much tougher.

The change suits Earl. By recalibrating his promising delinquent palaver into dexterous verbosity, he's liberated himself from the trappings of his sometimes-underwhelming alt-rap youth crew, Odd Future. Save for a beat from Left Brain, other members of that collective are missing here. "I'm in my twenties now," he commands at one point, as if announcing his own emancipation.

Shifting from posse standout to standing out solo opens a world of opportunities. I Don't Like Shit... aligns Earl with some of the genre's mainstream heroes. Like Lil Wayne, he's got racy anecdotes and bawdy metaphors on deck to describe his intense lifestyle in the aftermath of the critically acclaimed Doris. On cuts like "Mantra," Earl even recalls classic Nas, as he speedily spits his way out of the box people have put him in, bragging about just how good he is at what he does.

It's a shame, then, that the semi-surprise release of I Don't Like Shit... in March earned significantly lower first week sales than its predecessor, even when streams are factored into the math. Earl lambasted Columbia Records for mishandling the album even before they released it. Still, the lack of a subsequent groundswell is telling; unlike his pal Tyler, whose Cherry Bomb stands to perform far better, Earl may have inadvertently grown away from his fanbase instead of growing with it. Perhaps they just wanted to get sadder? With Vince Staples and Remy Banks. 8 p.m., $25, 2820 Industrial Dr., Raleigh, 919-424-1400, www.ritzraleigh.com. —Gary Suarez

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