Earl Sweatshirt’s Label Fucked Up His Album Release

We’ve reached an era where the method that an artist uses to announce an album is almost as much of an art as the music that appears on that album. And when the creaky old major-label system attempts to announce a surprise LP, that can get fucked up. Last week, we saw the bungled early release of Kendrick Lamar’s To Pimp A Butterfly, with album disappearing from iTunes and then reappearing for the whole first day it was out. Yesterday, Earl Sweatshirt released his dark, compelling new album I Don’t Like Shit, I Don’t Go Outside, a week after it was announced. But according to Earl himself, that news wasn’t supposed to get out at all ahead of time, and Columbia, his label, bungled everything spectacularly.

Earl tells NPR that he wanted his “Grief” video to appear on his website before anything else, with no information attached. Instead, the label announced everything else about the album and shared the “Grief” stream, only posting the video the next day. He’s not happy about it:

Here’s what Earl told NPR in that interview:

Brah, I was devastated. I was ready to like kill some… the day I was.. it would’ve been so quiet for any nigga from Sony. I was so mad cause it was like — especially because I feel like this is my first album. This is the first thing that I’ve said that I fully stand behind, like the good and the bad of it. Because it’s just — I’ve never been this transparent with myself or with music. I’ve never been behind myself this much. So for them to not treat as importantly as I was treating it was just like — I couldn’t help but to feel a little disrespected, you know?…

It just has to get acknowledged that a mistake was made. And I think it is at this point, after some stuff that happened yesterday. But it was just like, in the moment, they let it get spun like I was on a pedestal, complaining about some nuances, you know what I mean? When it was really like zero percent of what was supposed to go right went right. Like, y’all got an F. It’s not chill. Like, “You’re in the red zone.” And no one acted like they were in the red zone. That’s what had me the most hot. I didn’t even give a fuck about the mistake. It’s that afterwards, bruh, no one — like you seen when I posted the video. The shit came out. I tweeted all that shit. I got the link from my video — I got the YouTube link from someone else for my video at 6 a.m. after I had stayed up and no one had sent me shit…

Zero percent went right. And that has to get acknowledged. Remove my emotions from it. Remove race from it. Remove anything from it. Remove importance from it. Zero percent right.

The good news is that the album is great.