Eminem Unpacks Drug Addiction, 50 Cent Covering For Him, & “Encore” Being “Misstep”

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For XXL’s 25th Anniversary issue, Eminem wrote his own feature, detailing how he got out of control after Proof was murdered.

It’s a celebratory season or XXL as the Hip Hop giant celebrates 25 years. The longstanding publication has been instrumental in shaping the careers of many of our favorite artists, including veterans like Eminem who, for XXL‘s anniversary issue, penned his own cover story. As the feature for this most recent issue, making his ninth cover, Marshall Mathers wrote his own story and covered highlights in his career, including drug addiction, what he feels about the new generation of artists, and Encore being his “misstep.”

“I never thought I would be anyone’s influence. When my first album came out, I was still staying wherever I could stay—mostly with Kim and her parents,” he wrote. “I didn’t get my own house until the second album. I wasn’t sure before then if this was a one-time thing, but I had people knocking on the door and I realized that it was getting crazy. That was one of the inspirations for writing ‘Stan.’ It was like, These people are actually looking up to me? I also was amazed.”

Eminem
Kevin Winter / Staff / Getty Images

Em added that the drug addiction didn’t begin to surface until he was already famous, and it was something that he could feel spiraling out of control.

“I was able to downplay my addiction and hide it for a while until it got really bad,” he admitted. “And also, at that time, so much sh*t was happening with the whole 50 [Cent] beef with Ja Rule. We started feuding, going back-and-forth, and I’m making all of these diss records and sh*t. So, I’m coming off The Marshall Mathers LP and going into Encore when my addiction started to get bad. I was taking Vicodin, Valium and alcohol. I kinda fell off the map a little bit and didn’t explain why I went away.”

“I remember things started getting really, really bad when me, 50 and G-Unit did BET’s 106 & Park. We performed ‘You Don’t Know’ on the show and then we did an interview afterward. That’s when the wheels started coming off. One of the hosts was talking to me and I could not understand a word she was saying. 50 had to cover for me and answer every question.”

Although the throws of his addiction lasted for five years, Eminem suggested that it seemed much longer as he reflected on that time. He noted that things intensified when he learned that his best friend Proof was murdered in Detroit.

“Then the thing happened with Proof and my addiction went through the f*ckin’ roof. I remember just after Proof died, I was in my house by myself, and I was just laying in bed and I couldn’t move and I just kept staring at the ceiling fan. And I just kept taking more pills. I literally couldn’t walk for two days when that happened and eventually my drug use f*ckin’ skyrocketed. I had f*ckin’ 10 drug dealers at one time that I’m getting my sh*t from. Seventy-five to 80 Valiums a night, which is a lot. I don’t know how the f*ck I’m still here. I was numbing myself.

It was during this period of out-of-control drug use that the world received Encore, and Em revealed that he isn’t the proudest of that record. “The problem was, in the recording process as I was getting more addicted to drugs, I was in more of a goofy mood,” he said of the change of his sound. “So now, I go make ‘Ass Like That,’ ‘Big Weenie,’ ‘Rain Man,’ all those silly songs, which I’m writing in f*ckin’ seconds at that point in time. I was just writing high and feeling good about what I’m doing because I got f*ckin’ 20 Vicodin in me and this is fun to do, and I’m having fun, so f*ck it.”

Because several songs that he initially had set for the album leaked, it caused Eminem to become even more disheartened about the record.

“It became a misstep and I struggled to get over the fact that I didn’t do my best,” said the Rap icon. “My best would’ve been good enough if the leaks hadn’t happened. But I released what I had at that point in time, and I feel that put a kind of a mark on my catalog. Encore did some decent numbers, but I was never that concerned with numbers. I was more so worried about what people think about the album. Critics and fans were important to me, and they were always at me about that project.”

Eminem unpacks quite a bit in this feature as he moves through the entirety of his career.

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