Eminem’s in-depth conversation with BBC Radio 1 host Zane Lowe continues. In Part 2 of 4, the hip-hop icon opens up about producing and his love for hip-hop.
“I love to watch what’s going on in the game, and keep my finger on the pulse,” says Em.
He also opens up about unintentionally becoming a pop star, and why he was surprised when his debut single “My Name Is” became a pop hit.
“That record was almost like my anti-pop song because it was like my hello to the world, but it was my fuck you to the world at the same time,” he explains. “So I never understood when all that started happening like, ‘Holy shit. How did that become a pop song?'”
Plus, he speaks about his love/hate relationship with fame and how he overcame his drug addiction.
“I’m definitely thankful,” says a now sober Em. “I know that I certainly could have taken another path.”
Read highlights and watch the full interview below.
On producing: “It was fun to be able to just mess around with beats from scratch again. I think Recovery was the first time that I ever got really super open to working with a lot of other producers. That was the most that I had ever done aside from working with Dre. That album opened those doors a little bit, so that’s kinda how early on I started approaching this album. … I’m still passionate about hip-hop and every aspect of it, so making beats and producing is definitely fun for me.”
On his love for rap: “I love the expression of it. I love beats and rhymes and I love the fact that you can express yourself in a rhyme and lay it down and it can be therapeutic and you got it off your chest. There’s so much shit that I love about rap. I love to watch what’s going on in the game, and keep my finger on the pulse of that and it’s exciting to watch as a fan for me. Just being a fan of hip-hop and watching the evolution of it and how it moves from each year to year.”
On being a pop star: “As far as being a pop star or whatever, I never intended to be any of that. All I ever wanted to do was get respect from my peers and other rappers. All the other stuff that came with it was just confusing to me. I don’t feel like I ever set out to make a pop song or a song that was gonna be some kind of crossover song. I’m not stupid, I know when a song has a certain particular sound like, ‘Well, maybe this could possibly be a radio record,’ or when I’m going, ‘Fuck, shit, ass,’ this will never go to radio. In making any song I’ve ever made, I never wanted to compromise lyrical integrity and I always wanted to make sure that if I was rapping on a beat that had some kind of appeal to it or was catchy, that I was at least doing my job as an MC and doing what I felt like I need to do.”
On fame: “It was this thing where I want this attention for this music, but then I want to be able to go in public and I want to be able to eat a fuckin’ sandwich and be left alone. I’ve never been an attention seeker, and it seems like a hell of a career choice, but that’s not why I do it, just to get attention. I don’t like to go in public and walk around and be like here I am. It’s not what I want. My dream was to be able to one day—like, hear rappers that I look up to on the radio, and be like, ‘Yo, what if Jay Z, whoever, what if they heard of me? What if they thought I was dope?’ That was where my mentality always was with it. So when it all went crazy, it was really hard to wrap my head around. A lot of it still is, but especially back then.”
On staying sober: “I’m definitely thankful. I know that I certainly could have taken another path. I feel like I’m probably able to be more focused now than I’ve ever been. I’m also able to, I guess, put it in perspective. The problem is I can’t put a lot in perspective because there’s a lot that I don’t remember, and maybe that’s cool too. I know that there’s so many addicts in this world and people who have problems like that that don’t make it, so I’m thankful for that. I think that that’s one thing that really keeps me pushing forward is the music and is the passion for that.”