Eminem Talks Quarantine, Michael Jordan, and Hip-Hop’s New Generation

Like most of the country, Eminem is spending his time at home these days.

While in isolation, the Detroit MC called into “Sway in the Morning” on SiriusXM’s Shade45 on Friday to discuss the COVID-19 crisis and how it’s impacted him. “We’re living in some unprecedented times right now,” said Em.

He revealed that he’s been passing his time by writing (“I’ve just been burying myself in the pad”), reading books including Rakim’s Sweat the Technique, and watching the Michael Jordan docuseries “The Last Dance.”

“It’s incredible. It’s only two episodes in but that shit is like nostalgia city,” he said of the ESPN doc.

Em, who previously worked with the NBA legend, reminisced about their awkward phone call. “Everything was good until we get to the end of the phone call and I said, ‘Yo man, when are you gonna come to Detroit so I can dunk on you?’ And it was crickets,” he said. “I don’t remember exactly what he said, but I think he just was kinda [laughing]. I remember getting off the phone going, ‘Oh my God, I think I mighta just blew it.’ To me in my head, it was a total joke.”

Sway suggested that quarantine is not very different for Em, who has been practicing isolation because of his fame. “Fame has definitely over the years kinda already had me quarantined, but it’s the fact of knowing that you can’t really go out and we can’t move like how we normally move,” he said. “It’s not just the same thing for me every day that it always is. There’s something to be said about knowing that you can’t go out and do certain things.”

He misses his regular routines including going to the studio. “It’s not the same when you can’t do a lot of your regular routines and shit, and going to the studio is like my outlet. We can’t really get in and do much so I’ve just been writing.”

During the 40-minute interview, Em paid homage to rap’s reigning MCs including Kendrick Lamar and J. Cole. “I know they’re not kids coming up anymore, but they’ve studied all the greats and you can tell because it goes into their pen.”

“Don Toliver’s dope as fuck,” he added, while also paying tribute to his “Godzilla” collaborator Juice WRLD. “His freestyle that he did when he went on Tim Westwood and rapped for like an hour straight was incredible, especially for coming off top of the dome because a lot of people just can’t do that or they might not know that there’s an art to that,” he said of the late MC.

Despite his status in the game, Em remains tapped in to today’s culture. “I keep my finger on the pulse of everything that’s out because I don’t want to get swept away with the tide.”

Amid the coronavirus crisis, Em is giving back to his community with his Love Your DJ Contest. His Marshall Mathers Foundation will be offering aid to Michigan DJs who have been financially impacted by the closure of venues and events due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Local DJs can submit their best custom mixes for the chance to have their mix air on Shade45.

During his Love Your DJ Mixshow Takeover, Eminem will also host his own show, “Music To Be Quarantined By,” featuring hip-hop songs he recommends listening to while at home beginning May 2 at noon ET on Shade45.