The New York Times grabbed some of Eminem’s precious time for a new interview in Sunday’s magazine. A more tolerant Marshall Mathers talks about his broken relationship with his mother, his support for gay marriage, the current state of hip-hop, and why he doesn’t want to go back to rehab. Read the excerpts below.
Does Slim Shady, your raping and killing alter ego, still exist? Or have you split with him?
Shady still exists. But I don’t think the subjects on this record call for, you know, bring the chainsaws and axes out and murder everyone on this record. There was so much stuff like that off the last record that I felt like I was starting to run it into the ground. I think consciously I went in a different direction with this record.
Even your mother sued you for defamation. Is she still in Detroit, where she raised you as a single mom?
I’m not sure, to be honest. It’d be very hard to repair that relationship.
You’ve been accused of writing gay-bashing lyrics in the past. Would you like to see gay marriage approved in Michigan, where you live?
I think if two people love each other, then what the hell? I think that everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable, if they want.
Is this the new, 37-year-old tolerant you?
It’s the new tolerant me!
Compared with other rappers, you are often praised for your complex rhyme schemes. Do you read poetry?
I don’t think I’ve ever read poetry, ever. I’m not really book-smart.
Where did you go to rehab?
The first time I went it was in Brighton, Mich. The second time I didn’t go to rehab. I just went to a regular hospital. I detoxed in the hospital, and then I came home. I couldn’t go back to rehab. I felt like I was Bugs Bunny in rehab.
What does that mean?
When Bugs Bunny walks into rehab, people are going to turn and look. People at rehab were stealing my hats and pens and notebooks and asking for autographs. I couldn’t concentrate on my problem.
Billboard magazine has ranked you as the best-selling artist of the past decade. What do you do with all your money?
Save it. I save a lot of money by not buying drugs anymore. I invest. I always try to be smart. I try to treat all the money I’m making like it’s the last time I’m going to make it.
Do you think rap has peaked creatively?
No. Hip-hop right now—there are certain artists who put hip-hop in a good state. There are a lot of talented people, and there’s a lot of young talent coming up, like B.o.B, Jay Electronica, Lupe Fiasco, and Drake.
How do you stay sober?
My kids, and also I see a rehab counselor once a week. I’ve been clean for two years.
Read the full interview at NYTimes.com.