Earl Sweatshirt recently flew to Las Vegas to have a sit down with boxing legend and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson for Citizens of Humanity. The resulting interview is one that reveals the hopes, dreams and vulnerabilities of each man. Getting deep into their personal stories and success in their respective fields, Earl Sweatshirt and Iron Mike pay particularly close attention to the precarious emotional state that typifies life as a 20 year old; Tyson, who was the youngest boxer ever to win the WBC, WBA and IBF heavyweight titles at 20, emphasizes the fact that 20 year-olds are idiots. At 20 Earl is still trying to preserve friendships and make sense of his career, his chosen industry, his place in the Odd Future camp and his feelings about life. The pair talk war, sex, spirituality and more. Check out the excerpt below to get a taste of the conversation.
Mike: Well, that could be good too. Because the most important thing in the world for show business, really, you know everything’s a high-tech business, but what people want now is what they can’t get – exclusivity. You know, when you’re exclusive, you know what I mean.
Earl: It’s the allure.
Earl: It’s what draws people to you.
Mike: None of us are really who we appear to be. Like me talking to you, this is not who I am.
Mike: We’re in an interview. This is not who you are. We are never who we appear to be.
Mike: And yeah, but like you said it’s the allure, exclusivity. The less you give, the more they want.
Earl: It’s what has worked with so many people. I don’t know if you know one of my favorite artists, André 3000, like he has dropped probably 10 or 15 songs that fans of his know every single word to, as opposed to like 1,000 songs, some is good, some is bad. A testament to the exclusivity.
Mike: Yeah, he is a big-time guy.
Earl: Because he does so little.
Mike: Sometimes, people have reasons for being that way, something that you’re hiding, sometimes just like – some people don’t want people to know them, because they’re vulnerable. They have no more power, they feel.
Earl: That’s true. I think mine was more gradual, because I used to be a much more social person. And when I was 16, I got sent away for bad behavior by my mom.
Mike: What did you do?
Earl: I hadn’t done anything specifically, but it was just like –
Mike: Did you break the law?
Earl: I broke the law, but it wasn’t so much that, she was worried about my identity, you know what I mean, and just how I was establishing it. Like the man I was becoming. So I had to spend that year and a half just like searching for myself, you know what I mean, just like figuring myself out.
Mike: We don’t know at 20 years old the man we want to be. I just recently found out the man I wanted to be in life. I said, “This is the guy I want to be.” And I realized everything I did in the past prevented me from being the person that I wanted to be, so I don’t do what I did in the past anymore. But it took me to be what, 45, 47, 48 to really get it, so it’s not like I’m some genius. I learned from experience, no one told me to follow anybody else’s example, I had to feel the stove to realize it was hot. Some people say I’m an idiot because it took me this long to get it and some people can get it right away, some people take a long time. But I got it, At least I got it, some people never get it. I grasped it. I realized I’m not in the streets, I’m not in the clubs no more, you know, I’m not sleeping with strippers or anybody like that.
Mike: But whatever it is I’m just not doing that. I never really knew what dignity was until recently. And I realized that more so not because of myself but the response I get from people, you know, a woman won’t have to worry about talking to me and worrying about me hitting on them anymore or anything like that.
Earl: And that’s gotta be the best feeling.
Mike: Yeah, it makes me feel good, because when you sleep with so many people, all my life I thought that was adding to who I was, but it takes so much away from you.
Read the full interview via citizensofhumanity.com. Stay tuned for more from Earl Sweatshirt.