Tyler, The Creator recalls looking up to Eminem, Dave Chappelle, and Pharrell Williams, says Stevie Wonder is his competition.
While speaking with The Fader magazine as part of his feature story for the publication, Ladera Heights, California rapper Tyler, The Creator revealed that the dynamics of Odd Future have changed since the collective of musicians formed years ago.
He says those in the group are still cordial, but are “on their own island” and shared that his relationship with Earl Sweatshirt has also changed. According to Tyler, he and Earl are no longer “as close” as they used to be and haven’t worked together since last year.
“That’s my nigga,” Tyler said while speaking on Earl Sweatshirt. “We just aren’t as close as we were. It’s kind of weird, but I’m aware and smart enough to know, okay, shit changes. Shit changes, people get older, people’s goals change. As fucking outlandish and outspoken as I am, I don’t like confrontation. I’m not a piece of shit, man. I’m fair to everyone.”
The Odd Future lyricist later spoke on not being accepted by black or white kids while in school. He says he ultimately found solace by looking up to artists like Eminem and Pharrell Williams and comedian/actor Dave Chappelle.
He also recalled people assuming he was well off because he grew up in Ladera Heights.
“It’s crazy people think that,” he said. “Maybe because I say I’m from Ladera. Ladera is a pretty nice place, but we were just near there. My grandmother lived on the outskirts in a shitty apartment behind Ralph’s. It wasn’t really that tight. I slept on the floor for months…It was just hard, man. Black people aren’t really open to things. I used to get called ‘white boy.’ I hated that shit. I’m in seventh grade in Inglewood, too white for the black kids, too black for the white kids. We’re in LA, so the Mexicans don’t like blacks, and there’s no Asians around. So who the fuck do I really fuck with at school? I had [Eminem]. I had Pharrell. I had Dave Chappelle. He was a skinny, lanky black guy; I was a lanky, goofy black dude. He made it cool to me.”
Tyler also addressed the controversy surrounding his Mountain Dew commercial, which was ultimately pulled by Pepsi, and the remarks academic Boyce Watkins made upon viewing the commercial. He says he fired back at Watkins’ comments about his commercial being racist in his “Tamale” music video.
“And then a goat runs by,” Tyler said while explaining a scene in the “Tamale” video. “The same goat from the commercial. And I’m in blackface dancing in front of white people. It’s fucked, cause it was a black guy who said that. He should be happy for me: a young black kid making something, infiltrating this corporate thing called Pepsi. You should be fucking happy and hope that more black kids follow in my fucking path.”
Lastly, when asked about competition during his interview with The Fader, Tyler revealed that it isn’t the artists on the radio he’s competing against.
“Stevie’s my competition,” the rapper said while watching a Stevie Wonder music video during his interview. “Not these niggas on the radio.”