Literally the best thing you will read today is this interview with boxing icon Mike Tyson and Odd Future MC Earl Sweatshirt on the Citizens of Humanity website.
The interview turned into a free-ranging conversation that covered Mike’s thought on war, growing up, and books that Mike has read. The highlight for me is when Earl attempts to explain the Odd Future phenomenon to Iron Mike. Go ahead read the article and for fun read it to yourselves in Earl and Mike’s voices. Trust me you’ll laugh non stop.
On spirituality and substance abuse:
Mike: I think war is led by faith. I never think of physical fighting. It’s always spiritual. Fighting is spiritual.
Earl: Absolutely. Yeah. I got familiar with that concept early, just because my mom, she was always working, so she dropped me off at this martial arts dojo. And the dude instilled – we had to meditate for an hour every time, before we did anything. We would meditate. Just to connect to the spiritual side of it. And like, going inside of yourself and realizing the immense power that lies within you, just as a person.
Mike: You know young man; it’s all about spiritual awakenings. I could never stop drugs, I could never stop drinking, doing stuff, until I received my spiritual awakening. Now it’s not a problem anymore. But I’ve been doing this since the ’90s, late ’90s and I never could stop but I never understood the spiritual awakening. And once that comes into play, it’s really eye opening.
Oh humility and egotism:
Mike: You know why, because he’s talking but that’s what the ego is meant to do. The ego’s mean, he’s gotta to be crushed. That’s what I need, I need my ego crushed. Smashed, obliterated. But my ego has given me everything that I have. My ego’s given me fame. My ego’s given me hundreds of millions of dollars, the most beautiful woman in the world – how can I let this go, are you fucking nuts? How do I crush it, how do I let this go?
Earl: Dude, ego is my career. Rap music is all ego.
Mike: How you let it go, you know? It has to be crushed, but it gives you everything you want, but it takes back so much more in return.
Earl: I feel like – I was lucky enough to get my ego crushed, when I was, like, 16. When I got sent away.
Mike: You know, you’re only 20; you’re not crushed yet.
Earl: True –
Mike: It’ll be in hibernation for a while, but it comes back, that’s just how it is – it comes back to help you, it gives you confidence. Gives you a full sense of courage. It just does all that stuff. But it goes too far sometimes. You know, you can’t control it. It’s all about being in control. Like, your mind – if you did everything your mind told you to do, you do some really strange stuff. You’ll probably be in jail, you’ll be in trouble. But you know, it’s all about control. We all have to control our feelings. That’s the thing that separates us from animals.
On The Notebook:
Mike: There’s nothing to fear but fear itself. It’s an illusion of fear. Fear is an illusion. If you gonna die, you gonna die anyway; it’s not something to fear, fear is not gonna help.
It’s going to be over soon. Somebody’s going to die, or somebody’s going to get sick, someone might leave. It’s not going to last forever. You know, it’s going to be over soon. You know, the thought of that never enters my mind. This is the reality of life. I watched that movie The Notebook. You ever watched that?
Earl: I haven’t watched it.
Mike: Ah, young man, I don’t even know if you understand that stage of life yet. Very interesting thing about that movie, very interesting, it’s one of the movies that makes me really vulnerable. It makes me very vulnerable, because you work so hard for something and you don’t want to let it go.
On Odd Future:
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.
Read the entire interview at Humanity.