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Eminem still lives and records in Detroit, Michigan. The title of his movie 8 Mile refers to the road that divides the city’s poor and rich neighborhoods. He recently published an autobiographical book, The Way I Am.
Don’t call it a comeback.
People can try to reinvent themselves. I don’t think you can really change who you are, though, because who you are is pretty much where you came from and what you’ve done up to now. You can change your image and all that–you can change your fucking clothes, your underwear, your hair color, all that shit–but it’s not going to mean you’re a brand-new person.
You want to say, “I don’t give a fuck what anybody says.” Yeah, you do.
I’m sure people think I’ve vanished off the face of the earth.
I went for nine, ten years straight, without taking a break at all. I needed to rejuvenate.
I’m a T-shirt guy now. But wifebeaters won’t go out of style, not as long as bitches keep mouthing off.
I like it when people talk shit. Because if people weren’t talking shit, there would be nothing for me to come back with. I need that. If I don’t have any ammo, what am I going to say?
There’s obviously a limit to the things you want people to know, but I’ve pretty much put most of it out there. Maybe people don’t know what kind of underwear I wear, what color.
It’s fun to take a step back and hear other people do it, say shit I wish I would have thought of. I’m still a fan of rap.
When people buy a CD, you don’t get to sit in the car with them and watch their faces and watch their jaws drop.
The guy behind the counter notices me, but I haven’t put an album out in four years. “How you doing Marshall?” “What’s up Em?” You pay for the gas, buy a bag of chips, and leave. But I put a record out, and that same person is going to be behind the counter with a camera and a piece of paper. “Can you sign this?”
It’s not like I’m going to be a prick to everybody I meet. I keep it cool.
You’re not going to say anything about me that I’m not going to say about myself. There’s so many things that I think about myself; if someone really wanted to get at me, they could say this and this and this. So I’m going to say it before they can. It’s the best policy for me.
Trust is hard to come by. That’s why my circle is small and tight. I’m kind of funny about making new friends.
I don’t know where to go to meet a nice girl. If you’ve got any tips, clue me in.
The emotions in a song–the anger, aggression–have got to be legitimate.
When I’m in the studio with Dre, I don’t have to worry about the beat. I can just go. That’s the only thing I got to concentrate on. When I’m trying to produce a song myself, I’m thinking about the high hat. Is it loud enough? The snare drum. Is it clear enough? This piano in the chorus. Is it too loud? That can be time-consuming.
Within the last year, I started learning how to not be so angry about things, learning how to count my fucking blessings instead. By doing that, I’ve become a happier person, instead of all this self-loathing I was doing for a while.
The music, I wouldn’t say it’s gotten happier, but it’s definitely more upbeat. I feel like myself again.
Don’t get me wrong, the aggression will still be there.
I don’t know if I’ve fully accepted Proof’s death, but I think I’ve come to terms with it a little bit, knowing how to cope. There was a good two years that I was pretty down in the fucking dumps. I just lay in bed and stared at the fucking ceiling. One day, I didn’t get up until 7:30 that night.
Not that I don’t guide them at all, because sometimes I do, right from wrong. Hailie’s twelve now, and she still thinks it’s really bad to stick up your middle finger. I think I’m doing pretty good, with what my music is about and being able to raise little girls at the same time.
I would say I’m an excellent dad, not to toot my own horn. Toot.
If you don’t overlook the fact of what you look like, then no one else will. I had a complex back then: If I get booed off stage, it’s probably because I’m white. There comes a time when you gotta stop thinking like that and just be you.
I want to say I’d be a comic-book artist. That was my dream as a kid. I used to paint and draw. If I wouldn’t have had rap, I would have strived to–the past tense of strive, is it stroved?–I would have stroven to do something like that. Who knows? Maybe I would have.
Nobody likes to fail. I want to succeed in everything I do, which isn’t much. But the things that I’m really passionate about, if I fail at those, if I’m not successful, what do I have?
Shit happens. Fucking happens to the best of us. Really does.
Interviewed by Brian Mockenhaupt, September 25, 2008