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Eminem Interviews

I am who I am

Date: 2002
Source: The Guardian

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Easter in Royal Oak, Detroit. Royal Oak is a reasonably well-to-do bit of Detroit,
all futon shops and oyster bars. Eminem lives 30 minutes' drive away, in Manchester Heights,
the very well-to-do bit of Detroit. He's running late. He's bleaching his hair.
A record company person has bought boxes of clothes Eminem might like to be photographed in.
There's a selection of T-shirts bearing silly slogans: "I * Groupies",
"Stop Looking At My Crotch" and so on. It's hoped he might wear one that says
"I F*cked A Backstreet Boy". Eminem's manager, Paul Rosenberg, isn't so sure.
"I think we're over the whole Backstreet Boys thing," he says. "We've moved on."
Eminem (28) eventually rolls in with daughter Hailie (6), brother Nathan (16) and Bizarre,
Kuniva and Proof, members of D12, his doughy-looking rap crew of childhood pals.
It's a modern family and that's the way Eminem likes it. He looks well.
Hailie trails beside him with a carrier bag of colouring books.
Nathan is Eminem's very own Mini-Me - bottle-blonde hair, fast-food complexion,
D12 diamond pendant round his neck. Burger King is ordered.

Eminem sits on a couch and picks at his meal. He's not happy. "Look at that! Goddamn."
The fries carton is suspiciously half-full. Brother Nathan has beaten him to the food:
"Little son of a b*tch." A presidential Rolex hangs from his wrist,
a gift from his record label after Eminem had, jokingly, rung up to complain
that fellow Detroit popstar Kid Rock had been given a similar watch as a
Christmas present from his record label. He's also got a new tattoo, a rather spooky
likeness of Hailie, on his right forearm. He belches loudly. "Excuse me."

On parts of your new album, The Eminem Show, you sound angrier than ever.

Yeah, it's funny. It's like I need drama in my life to inspire me a lot,
instead of just trying to reach for something. Last year was, like, a really rough year for me.
You know, divorce and trying to raise my little girl. Obstacles are thrown at me -
you've just got to fall or you don't fall. And I can't fall.

Cleaning Out My Closet is the harshest attack on your mother yet.

Yeah . . . It's a harsh record but I feel like my mother has done some harsh things to me.
You just try your whole life to be able to get away from that person and make a
life for yourself and not have to deal with it anymore. And it's so hard to break away.
And they keep coming back to haunt you, trying to weasel their way into your life somehow.
That's my closure song, I guess. It's like I'm washing my hands of it.
I'm cleaning out my closet. I'm done

What has your mother done this time?

Well, she started wanting to put her face out there and get famous off of what I've done.
Every time I would see her on TV, or I'd see my father on TV, I'd be, like,
"What are you doing? Like, leave me alone!" Do you know what I'm saying?
That's all I ever asked. Like, "Take your crazy asses and just stay where you're at."
It got to a point where I stopped subscribing to the Detroit News because every day
I'd be in the papers for something. I'd be like, "What the f*ck? How is this newsworthy?"
You know: "Eminem Takes A Shit", and there's a picture of me in the paper wiping my ass.
When I moved from one house to the next, a news crew would follow me.
And it would be the top story on the news. Then they'd go into (newsreader's voice):
"Six kids got murdered in Detroit today . . ."

How do you feel about the outcome of last year's court cases?
Do you think you were fortunate?

I was lucky because of who I am. They could have easily made an example out of me,
but also, it got so much attention. Like anybody else this would have happened to
would have got a slap on the wrist and probation. But, of course, I am who I am.

No drinking, no fighting, no purple pills - is that the deal with probation?

Yeah. I can drink, but moderately. Which I really . . . I won't say I don't . . .
but I haven't done for a long time. I almost wonder, do I see a reason to even start back again
I've been clean for so long? I'm able to do things that a couple of years ago
I couldn't do without freaking out. You know, trying to take care of a little girl and
trying to do the daddy things and trying to make the music, and do the press,
and trying to juggle all these things at once.

Do you think you mother will leave you alone now?

(Thinks) Nah. I could have dragged that out forever if I wanted to.
I was just like, "Shut up and leave me alone, freak." Whether it's for a dollar or $10m,
you're still suing your son. It doesn't matter. The damage is done.
I don't know if she's happy with the money.
I've heard that her lawyer took most of it and left her with a couple of grand.
The court cases keep coming, though. If you have nothing else and you haven't made
nothing with your life, then what the f*ck? Why not? If Eminem says my name on a record,
why not get money, if you have nothing else? What the f*ck? I'd do it.

How many times have you been in love?

Once. And that's enough for me.

When you first became really famous you said you were going to have
to leave Detroit. But you're still here, and you've made a movie about it.

Yeah, I'm comfortable now. It's died down but who knows what's gonna happen now?
It's like, you put a f*cking album out and your face starts being everywhere and
suddenly people remember you again and camp outside your house.
You know, it's like a love-hate relationship where I come from. Which is, you know,
what most rappers will tell you.

How do you think 8 Mile will affect Detroit?

You know, I would love to see this city bring its income up and everything.
And if I can help that, then that's great. Some local people don't seem very happy.
F*ck them. Everybody sees something wrong with everything I do.
I read so much bickering shit in the paper. (Redneck voice)
"My daughter waited for ages to see Eminem and he drove by us and he waved and then he
sent somebody back and gave my daughter a T-shirt" - which I did - "but he
wouldn't even sign it." What? What the f*ck? Yeah, we shut down some areas
to make the film and people were complaining. "Oh, they're giving Warren a bad name."
Giving Warren a bad name? The f*cking white-trash capital of the world? I'm white trash,
so what the f*ck? You can't tell me. I grew up in it. You're gonna say I'm giving the
city a bad name? Dummy, the city already has a bad name.
"You made the trailer park dirtier than it was. You created extra dirt!" Shut the f*ck up!

Some Eminem rumours put to rest (sort of). That he's had a fling with
Destiny's Child's Beyonc?.

No, me and Beyonc? are not f*cking. I wish.
She's beautiful. All of Destiny's Child are beautiful. Oh, I love Beyonc?.

That he's having a fling with Kim Basinger:

Um, no, we're not f*cking either. In the movie 8 Mile, in which Kim Basinger plays his mother
there's a scene where we kiss. She kissed me like a mother would kiss a son.
It was in the rehearsal. And the next day it was in the paper that we were seen
kissing on set and holding hands and all this dumb shit. (Thinks) I would love to, though.

That Debbie Mathers wanted Kim Basinger's part in 8 Mile?

What? That's retarded. What kind of f*cking sense does that make?
I don't know if she did or not. I know that she was b*tching about Kim Basinger playing
my mother and was calling the movie people.
They were, like, "Yo, your mother keeps threatening to sue us." I'm like,
"Does she know that I'm not playing me in the film? I'm, like, playing a kid named Jimmy?"

That he's addicted to painkillers?

Oh, Nah. That's untrue. Vitamins, maybe. I take my one a day. And Echinacea.
And vitamin C. Then there's my little heroin problem, but I won't talk about that
'cause I'm on probation and shit. But I do shoot up, like, a lot. I have no veins left.
They're all collapsed so I shoot up through my d*ck. But hey, who doesn't?

That he's dead?

Now that's true. I'm chilling on my island somewhere, drinking pi?a coladas.

That he's recorded a charity song with Limp Bizkit called New World Order.
Fred Durst raps the part of an American GI, Eminem raps the part of Osama bin Laden?

I wouldn't do a f*cking record with Limp Bizkit.
If I was on the f*cking plane that was crashing.

Eminem finishes having his photograph taken. It's time to go.
There's an album to be completed.
He rounds up his friends and relations and says his goodbyes.
The last time we see him he's walking side-by-side with Hailie.
Hailie's holding a giant toy bunny in one hand and a Smarties McFlurry in the other.
Nathan is jumping on Proof's back. Proof is complaining that Nathan is trying to "bum"
him. It's a modern family. And that's the way Eminem likes it.


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