Eminem, “Hard To Kill” (Originally Published June 2009)
As big as hip-hop is, you know what I mean? Like, who gives a shit? I mean, at first it was like, just to me it was like, is it because this dude is White that everyone’s automatically making comparisons? Obviously, to an extent, it is. That’s what everyone is gonna be looking for: Does he sound like Eminem? But I was flipping through the channels, and I caught something on spring break [with him performing], and I heard a song I had never heard before, and I was like, This dude sounds nothing like me.
Let’s talk about your new album. The early material to come out seems like a return to the crazy, twisted, psychopathic stuff you first came out with 10 years ago on The Slim Shady LP. Like, a serial-killer-type theme.
There’s a lot of stuff on there like that. When I came home from Orlando, out the blue, just the title, Relapse, hit me. Just the word stuck in my head… I kinda wanted to go back to what got me here in the first place. I’d asked Dre, “What do you think people want to hear from me anymore?” He’d be like, “People want to hear you lose your fuckin’ mind again.” Not only does Relapse mean coming out of rehab, but I wanted to go back to Proof’s idea of, “Let’s just say the most fucked-up shit that we can.” So I’ve kinda gone back to that direction.
Besides Dre, you’ve been working with 50 Cent again, too. How is your relationship with 50? He’s going through this whole battle with Rick Ross, with this Pimpin’ Curly stuff. How do you view all of it?
Mine and 50’s relationship has always been the same. It’s always been good. If anything, we’ve gotten closer in the last few years. 50 will just come to my house and just stay the night. Stay the weekend in one of the bedrooms and just hang out. And we talk about shit. I mean, a lot of our talk is about music, you know. But we just—we talk about shit, and we just make jokes and hang out. It doesn’t always have to be about business. You know, he’s going through this Rick Ross thing, which is kinda his thing. I guess, you know, at the moment, it’s just, let 50 do 50. I think that the Pimpin’ Curly shit is fuckin’ hilarious, though. I’m sorry, to me, that’s when 50’s at his best. When he’s doing just the funny shit. In real life, 50’s a fuckin’ clown, man. He’s actually a really funny dude.
Pictures of you came out last year where it looked like you’d gained a lot of weight. You’re back looking real chiseled now. What happened?
I gained a bunch of weight in my time off. I got lazy. I was eating a lot, just because the pills make you feel hungry. Then, just this past year, I got clean, I got sober, and I started running. I had a knee surgery last year, but as soon as I could, I hit the treadmill. So I run every day. The last couple of weeks, I’ve been up to 10 miles a day. I’ve been trying to really push myself. Just to see how much I could actually run, but I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing. At the end of the day, I’m an addict. So I have addictive behavior. So I’m obsessive-compulsive about a lot of things. I’m obsessive-compulsive about my music, you know. Now I’m obsessive-compulsive about working out. I can’t do nothing in moderation… You’d think that the signs, like, all the addiction that runs in my family, I would have been a little more hip to that. But I just—I guess I wasn’t.
With all the hype surrounding your comeback, and with the terrible state of the record business, the hip-hop business in particular, do you feel like you’re coming back to save your label, or hip-hop as a genre, or even the music industry as a whole?
I don’t know if I feel like I’m coming back to save anything like that. I mean, obviously, if I can, you know, save the label and help generate more money for that, that’s great, too. But the truth is, I get bored just sitting around. I’m ready to be back out there. I love to be respected for the music that I make, and that’s what I’m in it for. The beautiful thing about this record is, I don’t expect it to do anything… Money is not necessarily something that I need anymore, so I’m doing it because I want to do it. I’m doing it because I want people to hear the music and like the music… If people like it, cool. If they don’t, they don’t. I certainly would like the benefits of what would come with it. If it could help generate more money for the label, then that’s good. But, at the end of the day, it’s just about the music.