Eminem Praises Kendrick Lamar & Lil Wayne, Talks 50 Cent & ‘Southpaw’

As he gears up for the July 24 release of Southpaw, Eminem spoke to The New York Times in a candid interview about the film’s soundtrack (he is executive producer), his position in hip-hop, and keeping the humor alive.

When he’s not in the studio (which is five to six days a week) or being a father to his two teenagers, he’s been listening to Drake, Big Sean, and ScHoolboy Q, and had especially kind words for Kendrick Lamar and Lil Wayne.

But while he likes to discover new music, he tries to avoid the Internet. “I don’t particularly go on the Internet, because the experiences that I’ve had are not good. It’s not productive for me,” says Em.

When asked if he feels that he’s had a lull in his career, he admits, “For sure. Probably the Encore days. Personally, I look at Relapse as a lull. The rest is subject to opinion.”

He is not currently working on a new solo album (“I’m just trying to figure out what to do next musically”), but he’s always challenging himself (“I’m my own worst nightmare in that sense”).

Plus, hear Marshall speak on collaborating with Gwen Stefani, 50 Cent’s business acumen, and his admiration for Jay Z.

On working with Gwen Stefani on “Kings Never Die”: “I don’t think it was ever anything that was disrespectful [He referenced her on 2005’s ‘Ass Like That’]. I mean, maybe I said she could pee-pee on me, but I don’t care who you are—that’s funny regardless. But I’ve always respected Gwen Stefani. She’s an incredible talent, but also her longevity is one of the reasons she was perfect for that song.”

On whether he feels funny: “Always. That hasn’t really changed. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or a bad thing. A lot of comedians as they get older don’t necessarily change. It’s one of the biggest reasons that I love Will Ferrell—because he’s himself. I think it’s important to keep a sense of humor until you die.”

On his kids: “I’ve been trying to not focus as much on them, because I’ve done that and I don’t want to hinder their lives. I feel like the more that I talk about that, the harder their lives are.”

On 50 Cent: “With 50, I could always see that coming, even from the start. He was always so business-minded. He’s always been so in tune with what the next move is, where I may be—I hate to say it—but I tend to be more narrow-minded. Just so tunnel vision with the music.”

On who he listens to: “I try to stay up on everything that’s out. I love [Lil] Wayne, Drake, Big Sean, ScHoolboy Q. I love Kendrick [Lamar]. I just try to pay attention to what’s out. Wayne puts out a new song, and my ears perk up. There are certain artists that make me do that just because of the caliber that they rhyme at—it’s like candy to me. Kendrick, the way he puts albums together—front to back, they’re like pieces of art. But hip-hop needs Drake, too. Hip-hop needs Big Sean. I feel like hip-hop is in a good place right now. There’s this balance of things going on, and it feels like some of the best rappers are the most successful. Sometimes that’s not the case. … Kanye, as well—I forgot to mention Kanye.”

On the Internet: “Once I’m on the computer, it’s over, because I’m tempted to look at everything. I went on the computer recently and got on one site, read five comments and was like, ‘Man.’ I have friends that do it—rapper friends. I’m like, ‘I don’t know how you do that.’ Because you end up wanting to fight someone, kill them, or kill yourself—usually all three at once.”

On Jay Z: “In my opinion, he’s never had a lull in his career. It’s always just been so consistent; he’s so in tune with what is current and what’s cool to do.”