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Interview: Earl Sweatshirt Sits Down with Mike Tyson

Earl Mike Tyson

Take a look at one of the more interesting interviews of the year where Earl Sweatshirt interview the OG Mike Tyson for Humanity Magazine. Citizens of Humanity made it all happen as they let the two converse in an informal sit down where Mike is as honest as ever, take a look below.

Mike: How old are you, man?
Earl: I’m 20.

Mike: What do you have to say to me?
Earl: So I got presented with the opportunity to come talk to you.

Mike: Yeah. Where are you from?
Earl: I’m from LA. So I was trying to figure out kind of what angle to start at when I first got approached with this.

Mike: Are you now?
Earl: Well the first thing that came to mind after doing just a little bit of research that I did was just some of the parallels that – just between me and you, that I thought we had just at 20. Just with being in the position that you was in.

Mike: I mean, you’re pretty much an idiot at 20.
Earl: Right, that’s what I feel like. I got to 20, and I –

Mike: You’re not an idiot, but you are. You don’t really think you’re an idiot, but you are.
Earl: Right.

Mike: But you don’t think it. Like you’re in agreement, but you’re an idiot.
Earl: No, I swear, I was talking to someone yesterday, and I said the mark of me being an adult was when I got to the point where I realized how little I knew.

Mike: Oh, man. I’m humbled with that every moment of my life. I think I know a lot, but I don’t know anything. I think I know a lot; they talk about a lot of subjects and issues but in the scheme of the world, it’s really not even a grain of salt.
Earl: So, I just thought you would have some real valuable insight just to give to people who are in positions like mine or just similar to mine where you’re just a young person getting pulled from every single different direction.

Mike: Who’s pulling you? Record companies and stuff?
Earl: Well, at first it was record companies, and then when that kind of settled down, it was management.

Mike: What do you need management for? When you think about it, what’s the purpose of management? In boxing, in my opinion. For boxers! I think they, I don’t know, they’re glamorized babysitters.
Earl: Yes, 100%.

Mike: So they say, “Hey, come here. We gotta go here. We gotta go there. We gotta go here. We gotta go there.” You have to give 10 or 15% of your money, whatever it is…
Earl: To think for you, almost, to handle like, kind of mindless duties.

Mike: Yeah, you’ve thought about that too?
Earl: Yeah. Me and Leila always talk about that, she tells me all the time I am unmanageable. Just because I am reclusive and I am the worst at communicating.

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.

Mike: Yeah.
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.
Earl: Right.

Mike: We’re in an interview. This is not who you are. We are never who we appear to be.
Earl: Mhmm.

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.
Earl: Right.

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 on Citizens of Humanity