Eminem – Zane Lowe BBC Radio Interview Part 1
Zane Lowe: Welcome back to Radio One, Maida Vale studio 4 here we are. Part of the reason we're here obviously because its the BBC but also because we have Studio 3 around the corner and you've got the band set up and going to perform some songs as well.
Eminem: It's super exciting to be here. I was trying to figure out how I was going to top the publicity of yours and Kanye's interview so I decided I was going to walk in here, pee on the floor, and leave. I'm peeing right now. Alright see you guys later!
ZL: Seeing you with the band, and seeing you perform the other night at the awards show and seeing you on the mic, it was, I don't think I've ever seen you more alive on the mic. It was full of energy and in the moment. What I noticed was as well was spitting live with the band behind you seemed to free you up a lot more. Are you feeling that way?
E: I think performing has gotten a lot different, it's gotten better with the band because there's just more elements to it and being it is a live show, there's more places you can go with it. There's things you can do with your hands, it's really cool, it's different. I think it's better.
ZL: Spitting Rap God that just puts everything into perspective I think for everybody else. When you wrote that and you got that one down and recorded it...
E: I didn't write that, I freestyled it, off the dome, 1 take.
ZL: Absolutely ridiculous. I mean, the song is ridiculous it doesn't make any sense whatsoever.
E: Thank you
ZL: When you get to perform that live that must be, I saw at the end once you finished that, that's a challenge for anybody. At the end you must feel like 'Wow'. That's a lot of rhymes to get through, it's like 5 or 6 minutes non-stop.
E: Um, Yeah the other night I don't think we did the whole song. We did kind of a Deadly Medley.
ZL: I don't even know how you would cut that up and make a shorter version of that because it's such a stream of consciousness through the whole track.
E: Yeah I don't know. I wouldn't even want to begin to think of that, because I think it is a... stream of consciousness. Nice stream of consciousness, running down my leg.
ZL: The album itself has been so well received by everyone including fans across the world. Because in my opinion listening to it now it's kinda the perfect combination of the venom and the danger that existed on the 1st record but also what you've been through and what you've learnt over the past 5 or 6 years. It's kind of like the combination of the two. Is that fair do you think? The first album that feels like it's slightly grown up, but also going back to some of those subject matters and dealing with that stuff.
E: It's grown up and down. I mean some of the themes and topics and things like that are revisited on this album, but at the same time I feel like its kind of a 2013 version. All my albums I think, for the most part, pretty much tell where I'm at, you know at each one at that time period, whatever. So this is kinda like, there's a lot of reflecting and things like that back on everything that was happening during that time, you know. And it's kinda like me reflecting on it and getting to the point where I am now with it.
ZL: Settling some scores as well, and burying the hatchets and dealing with stuff once and for all. Do you feel like this album has allowed you to do that?
E: I mean some stuff, yeah. But for the most part I just felt like it might be fun to just revisit that, the overall vibe of that album. Just because it started to go there in the recording process.
ZL: So when did that begin like you were going down that road?
E: I had started making a few records for it, and it just sounded like the tonality of it, the tones of the records kinda were heading towards that way. And I figured out what direction it should go in, kinda started gearing everything that way. And alotta times, making an album, I dont always have the direction or concept early on. Sometimes it doesn't come until the middle/towards the end of a record to figure out where I'm actually going with that... that's just a culmination of songs, and depending on what the vibe is. Sometimes I do a songs that is so left field one or two of them its like Oh Shit where am I going to put these songs and now what am I going to call it because its not going to make sense to go, let's say Recovery or whatever. But with this one I feel like I kinda got an earlier idea for a concept.
ZL: That must be nice actually to be able to sit down and carve it out as it was going and have that end result in mind, to piece it together that way.
E: It was, but it wasn't, in the sense of-- I had to record a lot of songs for it because I felt like if I'm going to call it that, I want it to make sense.
ZL: And the stakes are high as well. I was talking to someone about this before and they were saying, "Eminem would never consider one of his albums to be a classic" he's not that way inclined. But you know how people feel about the Marshall Mathers LP, it speaks volumes. And then the critics, every layer of it, it is considered a modern day classic album. Did you consider the expectation of calling it that and what it would mean to the record overall?
E: Yeah, I had kinda known that going in. Once I kinda knew what direction I was going, I knew that I needed certain songs to be able to call it that, and like I said to be able to make sense. But, I just wanted to make sure that I had the right ones, and in other words, I knew that, obviously Stan off the first Mathers LP was a big topic. And I had heard a lot of chatter around the time doing the Recovery record that I should do Stan 2 and why doesn't he do Stan 2, and all I kept thinking was Stan's dead. You know what I'm saying, he died in the story. So in the back of my mind I kinda had an idea of who could be left from the story, but I needed to get the right beat and be able to...
ZL: As soon as it starts as well. Did you know immediately this would be the beat for this concept?
E: Yeah, as soon as I heard the words to the chorus... I got this beat, this beat was sent to me and had those words on it. And sometimes for me it's like- I like making my own choruses and its also fun for me to take someone else's words and interpret them my own way.
ZL: For sure, when you hear that chorus I'm sure initially... it's a 1st person scenario or self hatred scenario, but its tied into- there's layers to that. Being bad is good I hate to be it but here I am and I'm back again. And then you got to deal with the story, and at the end it's taking everyone to the end when you couldn't be facing down any more of the criticism both self and by others that you faced throughout your career. I mean it's the ultimate type of acknowledgement isn't it?
Meeting your maker almost really, is that the inspiration behind it?
E: It's kinda like saying, if you're going to go down this road, then you're going to call it this, and this is going to be the title, and this is all of these things coming back on me.
ZL: It's an amazing opening to the record and it's really ambitious as well. So you set the bar really really high and from here we go to Rhyme or Reason, and I love that beat and love the big samples and first time you reference Rick Rubin as a producer on the record. When did you first have the idea of working with Rick?
E: I've always been a fan of Rick's, and my manager Paul had been talking to him and Rick had expressed that he had interest in working with me. And when Paul brought it to my attention I was like super excited, honored at the fact that he was even thinking about it. I had my reservations just because I felt like I'm a super fan of Rick, and I'd probably be a little nervous and wouldn't know what the vibe would be because I would be wanting to impress him. It was very much the feeling that I got early on with Dre.
ZL: Had you met Rick before?
E: Nah, I'd never met him. So I was like nervous to meet him and you know, even more nervous to work with him.
ZL: Same thing with Dre, all the way back, same kind of experience when you walked in the studio and saw Dre that time..
E: Yeah I'm still always trying to impress Dre too to this day at the same time. But I just kept thinking if I got in the studio with Rick, what if we're not able to come up with anything. I had all these things in my head, and then when I met him, the guy's so laid back, it made it easy. And his vibe in the studio is very much like... "Try whatever", don't be afraid to try whatever, even if the idea in the beginning is stupid. Because a lot of ideas in the beginning stages, not mine of course, mine are just insane from the moment I think of them- but sometimes ideas are not always the greatest.
ZL: Don't be afraid to fail to get somewhere else, to get on the journey.
E: So if you say one thing that's going to spark another thing to lead to a better thought, that's kinda how it went. We started going through old break beats and I was trying to tell him I kinda had the idea, I kinda had a notion that I was going to call it the Marshall Mathers LP 2, but I didn't want to say anything yet to him because I wasn't 100 percent sure- and I wanted to make sure that I had enough songs to even play for him that would make sense. I love the sound that Rick gets when he does hip hop. Even from early on, Beastie Boys- it's incredible. And that's what I was kinda hoping to get.
How can I make the record sound nostalgic, but subliminally nostalgic. So it reminded you of maybe 13 years ago when you first heard me but its overs beats that are even older, but you're not sure why you feel this way. Tried to create a feel, so we started messing with old samples and break beats and things like that- cuz Rick is super talented and mastered of every other genre of music as well. The way he dips in and out of just different genres is crazy to me. Like I said, I was hoping to get what I got from him.
ZL: The first time I saw Berzerk as well, I was so happy to see the way that you came through, and the video the way the colors were so reverse Beastie Boy style- it was fan boy stuff for me. To be able to go out in a beanie like the Ad-Rock thing and it was cool, I love that.
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