In an unexpected interview, Mike Tyson grills Earl Sweatshirt about his young career and offers him sage advice.
Call this story Halley's Comet because shit this weird only comes around once every 76 years or so. As part of their year-end magazine, clothing company Citizens of Humanity invited none other than ex-boxer Mike Tyson to interview Earl Sweatshirt. Their lengthy conversation touches on everything from egos to the relativity of time (yeah, it gets pretty weird), so we've decided to give you some highlight excerpts below. Read the full article here.
-On Earl's beginnings:
Mike: Tell me about you man, who you are, what’s your shtick, man.
Earl: I do music. So I came -
Mike: Like songs and stuff, records and radio and stuff?
Earl: Not so much radio. I was fortunate enough to – we like developed our own, like self-sustaining like fan base that was separate. So when I was like 14, I was getting better at rapping, like running around L.A., trying to find like people to do music with. And I linked up with this dude Tyler. And he had this whole thing going on already. We started making music, and it was like, it was idiot music, but it was really, I think, what we had in hindsight, what attracted so many people to it was potential. Like we weren’t necessarily talking about anything, but the way that the music was, it was like sophisticated in a sense for our age. So anyways, we’re doing that.
Mike: What’s the name of your music?
Earl: The group that I was in was called Odd Future. So we was doing that. Fast forward, 2010, so I want to say that was like 2008 to 2010. Mid 2010, I got sent away. And we blew up. Like at that moment, it was like hand in hand. I got sent away, and -
Mike: Tell me what you mean by “blow up”. I know what blowing up means but how did you experience—define “blowing up”. You got signed? They played your music?
Earl: Yeah, they started… but it wasn’t even so much, that they played our music on the radio, it was –
Earl: It was like – it was almost punk rock in the way that it took off. It was just kids became, like, obsessed with it, because they -
Mike: You a crunk dancer?
Earl: Nah…We didn’t dance too much, but it was – they got attached, because in the same way that that punk expressed, like, the angst of being a teenager so well, a lot of our music and early energy had a lot of those elements. You know, that teens, really attach to, you know what I mean – just illogical… passionate unaimed anger, you know. Like, I don’t even know, but I’m just swinging.
-On Earl's stint in Samoa:
Earl: Yes, sir. So I get plucked out. It blows up while I’m gone. The whole time that I was gone, for the first year, I went to hell. It was the worst. Because I wasn’t involved.
Mike: Well, how exactly you wasn’t involved, because you weren’t there physically?
Earl: I wasn’t involved, I wasn’t there physically, I was mad.
Mike: But you were in the group; you were a member of the group on paper, right?
Mike: Did you receive your money?
Earl: I mean… I got money, but it was from when I signed my advance with the label.
Mike: I ain’t never loan friends money; I give it to ‘em and I don’t expect to get it back. Even when he says, “I’ll pay you back,” I never expect it. If he gives it back, then hey, that’s a feather in his cap, but I don’t expect to get it back.
Earl: That’s where I’m always at. I’m never…I was never even mad about it. I was just… way more obsessed with preserving the friendship.
Mike: Listen, you know sometimes that’s a really an intense word, “friend.” You know sometimes during a relationship, a friendship, a friend’s gonna have to prove their your friend, and you’re gonna have to prove you’re their friend. You know, sometimes, the people we invest the most time in disappoint us the most.
Earl: Absolutely. This is the best way to summarize the situation.