Earl Sweatshirt at SXSW 2013.
Earl Sweatshirt–or EarlxSweat if you’re nasty–is one of the oddest futurists and also one of the tuffest lyricists in the rap game in 2014. Having gone from OFWGKTA soldier to mystery man to great rap hope in the space of about a year, Earl arrives in Texas today to kick off Red Bull Sound Select’s ’4 Days in Austin’ series–his second SXSW experience–as something of a changed man. Being fans ourselves, Okayplayer jumped on the opportunity to get on the phone with Earl from Copenhagen yesterday and chop it up at length about body odor, going into the studio adjacent to Tyler, The Creator to record his follow up to Doris next month, the cultish nature Odd Future‘s fanbase and most of all…how much shit is different now. Always genuine and ever expressive, Earl also might just be the easiest cat in the rap game to interview in 2014. Read the engaging and often hilarious results below and hit the links for more info on Earl’s Southby appearance:
OKP: What’s up, are you in Texas already?
EARL: No, no–I’m in Copenhagen
OKP: Oh, shit.
EARL: Yeah, that’s not good.
OKP: It’s not good? I’ve actually heard good things about Copenhagen…
EARL: Nah, Copenhagen’s good but I have a show here tonight and then I’m playin’ Southby tomorrow and that’s not good.
OKP: What’s the experience in Copenhagen been like?
EARL: Fuckin’ strange. I woke up at 2pm today, ate KFC which I guess more or less was breakfast. Then I did an interview with this fool who, honestly? Had like the worst B.O. I’ve ever smelled, arguably.
OKP: Sorry about that.
EARL: It was fucked up, dog. It was bad to the point that I was upset. Like my stomach was upset, I was angry. And my dumb ass–instead of telling him, No we’re not gonna go to this small room with no ventilation–let it happen.
OKP: Did you do a couple shows out there?
EARL: We’re on a Europe tour right now, Southby comes in the middle of it so I come back for that and then come back out here. I ain’t mad, man. I get to fuckin’ rap for money, at the end of the day.
OKP: Good point. Last Southby was your first SXSW experience wasn’t it—2013?
EARL: Yeah, I actually was just talking about my first Southby experience with my manager and my homie.
OKP: What was it like?
EARL: Fuckin terrible, dog. Just ’cause I wasn’t expecting what happened. I’m sure Southby’s gonna be dumb fun this time but like, I was fresh off of being in fuckin’ Samoa so coming back was already crazy enough in and of itself, doing the shit that I was doing was already crazy by itself, so Southby was just the most fucked shit ever. ‘Cause I was not used to that shit at all. I wasn’t used to like, cameras in your face or any of that shit. It was the first time that I did some shit like this: I went out to smoke a cigarette and like 12 kids came up at once. But in the weird cult zombie kinda way that ours [OFWGKTA fans] do? And it scared the fuck out of me. Now I’m all good, though.
OKP: How did you feel about your performances last year?
EARL: They were all shitty. I was all awkward and shit. I wish I could re-do ‘em.
OKP: What’s your relationship like with the wolf cubs, those diehard OF fans or Earl fans—is it weird? It sounds like it could be weird…
EARL: It’s one of love and one of hate as well. Because I love them deeply from within my soul ’cause I wouldn’t be able to do this without them but motherfuckers that like us don’t seem to able to like us and understand boundaries simultaneously. At the end of the day I’m as regular-n***a as the next man. Like, these girls last night…they were some young ass little girls they were 12, 13 whatever…we went out there to talk to them because they had been waiting out there for like 13 hours. And we walk up and talk to them on some normal human being shit and one of ‘em just pulled the phone out with the full flash—not just the photo flash but the video one that’s everlasting? So me and Travis pulled out our phones, put on the fucking everlasting flash and put it in her face so she knew what it felt like…and then she stopped.
OKP: So you had a flash fight.
OKP: That sounds pretty safe as altercations with crazy fans go. But the way you said that made me realize a lot of what OF has been about ’til now is pushing boundaries—do you ever feel like you come in for some energy that is more in response to boundaries that Tyler or other people in the collective stepped across?