Eminem was interviewed and photographed by The New York Times magazine. You can read the full question and answer below:
How did you approach putting together a soundtrack for a film that wasn’t your own?
We wanted to make sure that the songs would remind you of the movie years down the road. When you think of “Don’t You (Forget About Me),” you think of “The Breakfast Club.” When you think of “Eye of the Tiger,” you think of Rocky.
Pre-order Eminem’s Southpaw Soundtracks on iTunes here
Or “Lose Yourself” — did you feel pressure to live up to “8 Mile”?
With this particular movie, I’m not in it, so I couldn’t be [the character] Billy Hope in the song. I tried to make something that was thematic — self-empowering, about being in a corner and fighting back.
The energy of the film is pretty masculine, and the soundtrack is almost all male. How did Gwen Stefani get in the mix on “Kings Never Die”? You’ve poked some fun at her in music before.
I don’t think it was ever anything that was disrespectful. 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.
Buy Eminem’s Kings Never Die’ ft. Gwen Stefani on iTunes now:
Do you still feel 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.
And it doesn’t necessarily have to evolve or mature?
No. I mean, you can be mature for your kids, and you can be a parent, that’s fine. That’s a different thing.
Has being a father to teenagers changed how you think about your music?
Not really. I think as you get older, you start — I don’t know how to answer that. I don’t really change. I guess I get more mature, but I don’t feel like I’ve changed much. I’m still a dad. You just go with the flow. But work is still work, and when I’m working, I’m focused on that.
Do you show your kids your music?
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.
What’s your relationship like with 50 Cent these days? He’s on the soundtrack and in the movie.
Same as it’s always been, pretty much. I love Fif’, man.
Making albums has taken a back seat for him, and he’s become this celebrity personality and businessman. Dr. Dre is doing something similar. Do you ever think about moving into different worlds like them?
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.
You don’t feel like a visionary in any other realms?
Down the road, maybe I could see myself producing records, but I feel like I’ll always want something to do with music. There’s not a lot of other [stuff] I’m really into. And kudos to anybody who is able to make those kind of transitions and be happy and comfortable with it. I don’t know if there could be another area for me to excel in.
Does Dre come to you about business, like with Beats?
We always still do that. But I never thought the headphone thing — it came out of nowhere. I remember we were in Hawaii, and we were recording songs for “Detox” and for “Recovery.” Jimmy [Iovine] wanted us to do a photo shoot with the headphones on. Of course I’m gonna do it — it’s Jimmy and it’s Dre. But I’m thinking: “All right, can we get to the music? I just want to get back and record.” I remember thinking like: “How big is this thing going to be? It’s headphones.” But man, I should’ve known just based on Dre’s name alone. And Jimmy’s like the Great Gazoo, from “The Flintstones.” Somehow he has the foresight to always know what’s up. Sometimes I just don’t know what’s up. It blew my mind.
Are you plugged in with current rap music?
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.
Do you feel competitive with the Kanyes and Drakes and Kendricks of the world? You seem a little removed from that.
Kanye, as well — I forgot to mention Kanye. I’ll always be lyrically competitive.
Where do you hear new stuff?
Other people tell me about it and pull it up for me. I wait for other people to show it to me. I don’t particularly go on the Internet, because the experiences that I’ve had are not good. It’s not productive for me.
You don’t want to Google your own name?
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.
Do you think Twitter and Instagram have affected rap?
I know there are a lot of Twitter beefs. People used to just make songs. But it is what it is. The world’s forever changing, and you’ve just gotta adapt and evolve.
You’re not one of those “it was better in my day” types?
For sure, I don’t want to be that guy. You take the good with the bad. It’s one of the things I really respect about 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.
Do you feel like you’ve had a lull in your career?
Oh, me? For sure. Probably the “Encore” days. Personally, I look at “Relapse” as a lull. The rest is subject to opinion.
What is your day-to-day life like in between albums?
A lot of work. I’m usually in the studio five to six days a week, trying to think of my next move. Every now and then, I’ll reassess where I’m at in my career. I’m usually trying to think of what I’m going to do next.
Are you working on a solo album?
Not as of yet. But I’m just trying to figure out what to do next musically. There’ll be a certain page that I get on, and I’m like, “O.K., I’ve done it this way.” Sometimes I think that if I get comfortable or set in my ways of doing something, maybe I should step back for a minute and figure out how to mix it up a little bit.
Do you feel like you’re still topping yourself?
I feel like I’m still trying to. And sometimes I don’t know if that’s always a good thing. I don’t want to make it so that by the time I’m done with a song, you didn’t even understand what just happened. That’s what I try not to do. I’m my own worst nightmare in that sense.
Because you’re so technically proficient that you can take it to a place where faster and more complicated isn’t always better?
Yeah, that’s what I mean. Sometimes that’s cool, if the song calls for it. But if I end up starting to record for another album, I want to make sure I approach it the right way.
[Via The New York Times]
tags: eminem new interview the new york times eminem