Eminem talks about not wanting to compromise his lyrical integrity when making mainstream hits.
Eminem sat down with Zane Lowe for an extensive interview following the release of the Marshall Mathers LP 2. During the second part of the interview, which was released today, Em talks about his ability to make hugely successful records, although they may not be your typical 'pop' records lyrics-wise (as Marshall says, he never compromised "lyrical integrity"). This was obvious from day one, with the release of "Hi My Name Is," something Em touches on during the conversation.
As Em has stated before, he never went into the rap game expecting to be a huge pop star. "All I ever wanted to do was get respect from peers and other rappers. All the other stuff that came with it was confusing to me. I don't feel like I ever set out to make a pop song or song that was gunna be some sort of cross-over song or whatever," he said.
But, the pop songs did happen and it's not like Marshall is completely blameless for that. "At the same time, when things did keep happening and certain things kept hitting the radio...I'm not stupid, like I know when a song has a certain particular sound and sounds like this well maybe this could possibly be a radio record and when I'm going "fuck shit ass..." [I know] this will never go to radio. But at the same time, if a song starts heading that way, 'cause a lot of times I may think certain things when I'm writing it, like maybe what person this might connect with, but I never, 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 sort of appeal to it and was catchy, that I was at least doing my job as an MC."
"I know that early on I went through a lot of that with the "Hi My Name Is" record," the Detroit MC said, referring to never having mainstream hits on his agenda, but still wanting to be successful. "Like I never understood...I understood that the record was funny and I understood it was a little kitchy, and the whole record was tongue-in-cheek...It was almost like my anti-pop song, 'cause it was like my hello to the world but also my fuck you to the world at the same time. So I never understood when all that started happening like holy shit how did that become a, I guess, pop song."