Eminem covers a variety of topics in a detailed new interview.
It's been a few days since Eminem dropped his latest studio album Revival, and the reviews remain mixed. While some appreciate the maturity of certain songs like "Castle" and "Arose," others have been vocally put off by the project's production and musical direction. And while many of Eminem's post-Encore albums have been subjected to rabid dissection from fans and critics alike, the prolific emcee has somehow managed to keep a level head in the midst of all the fervor. Today, Eminem spoke with Vulture about a variety of topics, including the obvious like Revival and Donald Trump, as well as some obscurities for the fans, like a few tidbits about Relapse and Encore.
The interview is actually one of the more in-depth I've seen from Eminem, and he reveals some of his motivations behind balancing his more serious music with his off-the-wall content. "I’ve grown and sometimes I want to reflect that — but when I’m writing, a line will pop in my head that’s so fucking ridiculous that it’s funny, and depending on the punch lines I need and the rhyme schemes in the song maybe I’ll use it," says Em. "People who know my music can tell when I’m joking around and when I’m being honest about a subject."
He also acknowledges the fact that Revival is destined for commercial success and critical division, claiming it's a recurring pattern for him. "I’ve always felt in touch with the people who listen to my music," says Em. I make it for them. Anybody else, fuck ‘em. It’s fine if critics or whoever keep thinking I’m not as good as I was. So what I’m looking for — whatever the response or the sales — is things I did right or things I could’ve improved musically. I’m critical of myself and I’m always trying to figure out how to do better. I certainly have not had a perfect career. I’ve put out bad albums."
He goes on to cite Encore and Relapse, which he clearly feels weren't up to par. "Encore was mediocre, and with Relapse— it was the best I could do at that point in time."[Relapse] was a funny album for me because I was just starting back rapping after coming out of addiction," says Em. I recorded at least 50 to 60 songs for that album and on each one I would get a little more drastic with the accents, trying to bend the words and make them rhyme in ways they wouldn’t if you just said them regular...So yeah, I don’t know how much replay value that album has."
As for Encore, he elaborates on what might have been: "I’m cool with probably half that album. I recorded that towards the height of my addiction. I remember four songs leaked and I had to go to L.A. and get Dre. I was in a room by myself writing songs in 25, 30 minutes because we had to get it done, and what came out was so goofy. That’s how I ended up making songs like “Rain Man” and “Big Weenie.” They’re pretty out there. If those other songs hadn’t leaked, Encore would’ve been a different album." It's safe to speculate that some of the songs in question were "Bully," "Love You More," and "We As Americans."
And while he has the reputation as a bit of a tech-fearing luddite, he assures us that he's more in tune with current music than we might think: "As far as relevance, rap is definitely evolving — the flow patterns and beats. There’s a lot of trap beats that are half time and things like that that are new. Some of it I really like and some I don’t particularly care for but I can see why people like it. I’m probably more in tune with the state of hip-hop than a lot of people think, because listening to what’s great right now pumps me up to do my own thing. I think people look at me and believe I might be out of touch."
For more from Em, including a detailed breakdown on the rise of Donald Trump, his thoughts on Revival, and his thoughts on dating, check out the full interview right here.