Eminem recently gave an exclusive interview to XXL Magazine. The Rap God discussed a variety of topics including meeting Dr. Dre, his drug addiction, the Encore album, his effect on modern hip-hop, and more.
We’ve put together a list of the five most important insights from the interview.
Eminem on the Slim Shady LP and meeting Dr. Dre
The Detroit legend commented on how The Slim Shady LP launched his career and took him from a broke 24-year-old with a baby to an instant success.
“I remember saying, ‘If I could just get with Dre that would be so crazy. He is so f*cking ill.’ Three weeks later, I was at Dre’s house. We made The Slim Shady LP. That was a fun album to make, but it is also where everything suddenly changed.”
Eminem also reflected on meeting Dr. Dre and his other idols.
“The strangest and probably the greatest thing that has happened to me over these past 25 years in a professional sense was getting to meet all my heroes. All the MCs who inspired me coming up. It took me a long time to get over meeting Dre. When he walked into the room at Interscope, I was like, ‘What the f*cking f*ck ? This is really happening?’ And then getting to meet people like Treach, Redman, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Masta Ace, Rakim. I would not be here without all of them. That is where I got my whole inspiration from. Just studying them.”
Eminem on his drug addiction
It’s no secret that Eminem was heavily addicted to drugs. The rapper initially revealed his issues with addiction to the New York Times in 2011. In 2007, Eminem experienced an overdose that almost killed him. He had a methadone overdose. Now, the “Recovery” rapper is opening up about his addiction issues once more.
“I was able to downplay my addiction and hide it for a while until it got really bad. And also, at that time, so much sh*t was happening with the whole 50 beef with Ja Rule. We started feuding, going back-and-forth, and I am making all of these diss records and sh*t. So, I am coming off The Marshall Mathers LP and going into Encore when my addiction started to get bad. I was taking Vicodin, Valium and alcohol. I kind of fell off the map a little bit and did not explain why I went away. I remember things started getting really, really bad when me, Fifty and G-Unit did BET’s 106 & Park. We performed ‘You Don’t Know’ on the show and then we did an interview afterward. That is when the wheels started coming off. One of the hosts was talking to me and I could not understand a word she was saying. Fifty had to cover for me and answer every question.”
Earlier in the interview, it was revealed that Eminem began taking narcotics after the release of The Slim Shady LP.
“That was a fun album to make, but it is also where everything suddenly changed. One of those changes was that drugs became a part of the way I was living my life once I got signed.When I first came out to Los Angeles, me and some guys I was hanging out with used to go to Tijuana and we would buy drugs. Vicodin and that kind of sh*t. I do not know how many times we did it, but it was so easy to go back and forth to do it. The last time we went, we are second in line and this dude in front of us starts arguing with the guy in Customs, and they f*cking throw him down on the ground and start pulling pills out his pockets and sh*t. We were scared sh*tless, but we got through. And when I say we had the motherlode. Our pants were fricking stuffed with pills. I do not know how many we had.”
Eminem also explained how Proof’s death affected his addiction.
“When I wrap it up in a nutshell, I realize that all the heaviest drug usage and addiction spanned only about five years of my life. It is crazy for me to think back. It felt like a long time when it was happening, but looking back at it now, it was not that long of a time for my problem to explode as it did. Then the thing happened with Proof and my addiction went through the f*cking roof. I remember just after Proof died, I was in my house by myself, and I was just laying in bed and I could not move and I just kept staring at the ceiling fan. And I just kept taking more pills. I literally could not walk for two days when that happened and eventually my drug use f*cking skyrocketed. I had f*cking ten drug dealers at one time that I am getting my sh*t from. 75 to 80 Valiums a night, which is a lot. I do not know how the f*ck I’m still here. I was numbing myself. I remember a few months after Proof had passed, I was about to use the bathroom, and all I remember was I just fell over. The next thing I remember was waking up with f*cking tubes in me and sh*t, and I could not talk. I could not do anything. I did not understand where I was and what the f*ck happened.
Eminem on his influence on modern hip-hop:
Eminem is undoubtedly one of today’s most influential rappers. The 49-year-old rapper has a large fan base and serves as an inspiration to many younger rappers, like Hopsin, Kendirck Lamar, J. Cole, and others. Regardless of his accomplishments, Eminem remains active, releasing albums, collaborating with other OGs, touring, and more. It appears that the iconic rapper has no intention of slowing down.
“My role in today’s hip-hop is to always try to be the best rapper. That is it. That is how I want to feel inside… I can not do that until I listen to what the f**k J. Cole just put out. What the f**k did Kendrick just put out? And I am thinking, ‘Oh, these dudes ain’t playing.’ I do not want to get swept away in that shuffle. I still want to let everybody know who the f*ck I am. Like I said, ‘They rap to be the best rappers.’ I will hear some sh*t by them, and I will be like, Yo, I ain’t the best rapper right now. I need to f*cking get up, get back on my sh*t.”
“I want to do things that nobody from this point on can ever top. Rap to a level that no one else could get to. And again, it is subjective, and every rapper, especially rappers in competitive rap, want to be the best rapper. So, I look for the younger generation to push me. I do not have to make albums. I do not have to do anything at this point. It is about wanting to, and that has never changed for me no matter what level the fame has gotten to. I still love to rap. It has always been the most important thing to me. I still have fun writing.”
Eminem on what inspired him to write “Stan”
“Stan” is one of Eminem’s most popular songs. Many people admire the song, and “stan” has even become the official name for Eminem’s fanbase, but what inspired the song?
“I never thought I would be anyone’s influence. When my first album came out, I was still staying wherever I could, mostly with Kim and her parents. I did not get my own house until the second album. I was not sure before then if this was a one-time thing, but I had people knocking on the door and I realized that it was getting crazy. That was one of the inspirations for writing “Stan.” It was like, These people are actually looking up to me? I also was amazed. ‘You all are getting pissed off about me? Little old me? How in the f**k is this happening?’ So, it inspired songs like “Stan” because to have fans is a dream come true, but it is also so bizarre and so surreal. Even as I sit here now, I still trip out in my head about how it got to this level. All I ever really wanted to do was to be a respected MC. To make enough money to survive, so that I would not have to work a regular job. That ties into my competitive spirit, and I do not know when that is going to go away, if ever. That is probably my biggest weapon mixed with lyricism.”
Eminem discusses his previous albums and how Encore differs from his prior projects
Eminem has a rich discography. As an underground rapper, he released his debut solo album, Infinite, in 1996. Eminem has 11 studio albums, two compilation albums, and one EP to his credit.
“When I look back at my catalog, the first three albums, I am definitely proud of them. Sometimes I go back, and I listen to them if I am in a spot where I need some inspiration. Sometimes it helps me to go back to those songs. But then I think, Man, I could have done those vocals so much better. I could have connected this word with this word. I always do that kind of sh*t.”
In his own words, “Encore took a different trajectory” because some of the songs were released before the album was finished.
“I was realizing I am getting addicted to these f*cking pills. I was just coming off The Eminem Show and the 8 Mile soundtrack and I started recording and had about seven or eight songs that were very much in the vein of what I do. But we ended up putting them out as a f*cking bonus disc because the songs l**ked. If those had not l**ked, Encore would have been a much different album. “We as Americans,” “Love You More,” a lot of songs ended up on the bonus disc because they l**ked and that disappointed me. So, I had to start over, which felt like a mountain I had to climb. You climb half the mountain, and then all of a sudden, you get knocked back down. “We as Americans” was going to start the album, then “Bully.” “Evil Deeds” was in there. If that would have been on Encore and the other couple songs that l**ked, to me it would have been right there with The Eminem Show as far as its caliber.”
The tracks that were released without his authorization were not the only issue. Eminem claims that as a result of his addiction, he began to write songs that were more “silly” and pointless.
“The problem was, in the recording process as I was getting more addicted to drugs, I was in more of a goofy mood. So now, I go make “Ass Like That,” “Big Weenie,” “Rain Man,” all those silly songs, which I am writing in f*cking seconds at that point in time. I was just writing high and feeling good about what I am doing because I got f*cking twenty Vicodin in me and this is fun to do, and I am having fun, so f*ck it. […] It became a misstep and I struggled to get over the fact that I did not do my best. My best would have been good enough if the l**ks had not happened. But I released what I had at that point in time, and I feel that put a kind of a mark on my catalog. Encore did some decent numbers, but I was never that concerned with numbers. I was more so worried about what people think about the album. Critics and fans were important to me, and they were always at me about that project.”
Read the full interview HERE