Eminem supports gay marriage: “What the hell?”

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At first I was going to snark about how Eminem seems kind of boring now that he’s sober, and then I was going to joke about his friendship with Elton John. But now that I’ve read Eminem’s full interview in the New York Times, I just can’t. He sounds… nice. Humbled. Authentic. Real. The interviewer just asks him a series of questions that aren’t necessarily hard-hitting, but still personal, and Eminim could have easily obfuscated and denied, but he just answers everything methodically, almost as if he doesn’t really care how he sounds. He’s cool with gay marriage, and he says that his misogynistic lyrics were what he “was feeling at the time.” He also claims to have never read poetry and that he’s not “book-smart.” He seems pretty smart to me:

On your new album, “Recovery,” which comes out on Monday, you assume a confessional tone and back off from the misogyny and demented violence you pushed in your earlier work. Would you agree?
I think I’d have to go back and listen to it. Did I?

Does Slim Shady, your raping and killing alter ego, still exist? Or have you split with him?
Shady still exists. But I don’t think the subjects on this record call for, you know, bring the chainsaws and axes out and murder everyone on this record. There was so much stuff like that off the last record that I felt like I was starting to run it into the ground. I think consciously I went in a different direction with this record.

Do you regret having written so many songs that refer to women as “bitches” and “hos” who exist solely for your pleasure?
Anything I’ve ever said, I certainly was feeling at the time. But I think I’ve calmed down a bit. My overall look on things is a lot more mature than it used to be.

Even your mother sued you for defamation. Is she still in Detroit, where she raised you as a single mom?
I’m not sure, to be honest. It’d be very hard to repair that relationship.

You’ve been accused of writing gay-bashing lyrics in the past. Would you like to see gay marriage approved in Michigan, where you live?
I think if two people love each other, then what the hell? I think that everyone should have the chance to be equally miserable, if they want.

Is this the new, 37-year-old tolerant you?
It’s the new tolerant me!

Compared with other rappers, you are often praised for your complex rhyme schemes. Do you read poetry?
I don’t think I’ve ever read poetry, ever. I’m not really book-smart.

What does the title of your album refer to? What exactly are you recovering from?
Vicodin, Valium and Ambien, and toward the end, which caused my overdose, methadone. I didn’t know it was methadone. I used to get pills wherever I could.I was just taking anything that anybody was giving to me.

Where did you go to rehab?
The first time I went it was in Brighton, Mich. The second time I didn’t go to rehab. I just went to a regular hospital. I detoxed in the hospital, and then I came home. I couldn’t go back to rehab. I felt like I was Bugs Bunny in rehab.

What does that mean?
When Bugs Bunny walks into rehab, people are going to turn and look. People at rehab were stealing my hats and pens and notebooks and asking for autographs. I couldn’t concentrate on my problem.

Billboard magazine has ranked you as the best-selling artist of the past decade. What do you do with all your money?
Save it. I save a lot of money by not buying drugs anymore. I invest. I always try to be smart. I try to treat all the money I’m making like it’s the last time I’m going to make it.

Do you think rap has peaked creatively?
No. Hip-hop right now — there are certain artists who put hip-hop in a good state. There are a lot of talented people, and there’s a lot of young talent coming up, like B.o.B, Jay Electronica, Lupe Fiasco and Drake.

Why haven’t you planned any kind of big tour for your new album,other than two concerts with Jay-Z in September?
Touring is hard on the body.It used to be a big trigger for me with drinking and drugging.

How do you stay sober?
My kids, and also I see a rehab counselor once a week. I’ve been clean for two years.

Happy Father’s Day, by the way. As a divorced father of three daughters, are you a good dad?
Yes.My kids — I love them so much, and they’ve helped me through so many things.

I wonder what they’ll think of your rousing new song, “W.T.P.,” which stands for a white-trash party. You tell the listener, “Hop in my minivan/let’s get rowdy.” Just going back to my white-trash roots.

[From The New York Times]

Is anyone else surprised that he knows himself and his demons well enough to be scared that he might fall back into the same drug-abusing cycle on tour? I think that’s very smart of him, and if he’s still worried that he might relapse, why tour? Does he need the money? I doubt it. I bet the shows with Jay-Z will be good though.

CB pointed out this interview Em did with CNN – they got him to talk even more about his drug addiction and his overdose: “I was certainly a couple of hours away from death…[I] overdosed and almost died…I had to admit I had a problem. I had to do it for myself.” The full piece is here.

LOS ANGELES, CA - JANUARY 31: Rapper Eminem backstage during the 52nd Annual GRAMMY Awards held at Staples Center on January 31, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)

NEW ORLEANS - OCTOBER 30:  Eminem performs at the 2009 Voodoo Experience at City Park on October 30, 2009 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

Header: Eminem on May 31, 2010. Credit: Fame Pictures.

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45 Responses to “Eminem supports gay marriage: “What the hell?””

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  1. Angel says:

    I’m very glad he didn’t die. It seems to … have been a wake up call for him. As trite as that sounds.

  2. annaloo says:

    good to see that we all grow up

  3. No Sensei says:

    “equally miserable” ha!

    re: Touring, someone needs to give Em’s number to Ms. Spears

  4. Anna says:

    I’m not surprised that he sounds intelligent and like he’s consciously reached a new place in his life. I’ve been listening to him since the very beginning and although I didn’t like every single song of his, it was clear that he is, in fact, intelligent and he is certainly a genius in his field. I’m glad he’s more on track now and hope he won’t relapse anytime soon. He really has made some poor (euphemism of the decade) choices which needn’t be repeated. An on another note: I like that he’s pro gay marriage. Proves that not every rapper needs to be homophobic.

  5. d says:

    I’ve always liked this guy. There’s something about him, even when he’s singing about bitches and hos (which I CAN’T STAND).

  6. javelin says:

    Eminem’s writing style reminds me of Bob Dylan’s, in that they both have a tendency to use clumsy rhymes that make me cringe.

  7. The Truth Fairy says:

    I love him!

    He’s very talented and he stays true to himself, whether people like it or not. He might not be book smart, as he says, but he’s a very smart guy.

    He really has a way with words and he is still relevant in the music industry which says a lot.

    I’m glad to see he has battled his demons and learned from his mistakes. That’s a lot more than we can say for a lot of people.

  8. Whatever says:

    I’m happy to see him doing so well. I agree that it’s impressive that he knows his demons and is actively working on his sobriety.

  9. Abby says:

    I really like Eminem–always have, and I’m glad he’s back. Glad he’s beating his demons. He’s so talented. I hope he’s able to stay strong.

  10. Q says:

    I love that he’s realized that it takes more balls to tell people to be brave and pull themselves together than to rap about banging chicks and killing people. I’ve always loved his stuff but his new song – great stuff, inspirational words from someone who’s been down a pretty dark road.

  11. dread pirate cuervo says:

    “I’m not really book-smart.” Don’t know why, but that made me swoon a little. I just love a humility in a man.

  12. Mrs K 2 be says:

    I’ve always been a fan of his. You can’t go through a hard life without learning some lessons. At 37 his priorities are obviously going to be different, but that shouldn’t, and doesn’t, mean that his music loses any edge.
    As for the gay marriage quote..Good for him. I totally agree. Who are we to tell anyone they don’t have the right to be in love and live with the person they love?

  13. JuiceinLA says:

    Em has always been a favorite of mine, in part because he is from my hometown and in part because even when he was the crown prince of Homophobia’s capital, Misogyny there was something compellingly earnest and honest about him- unapologetic and willing to learn, grow and figure life out. He’s never said “adopt my perspective”, or “this is how it should be”, he’s always stayed true to the idea that his music is just him working his own “effed up” shixsa out.

    Like when he was asked to perform with Elton John- He knew straight up it was a publicity stun by MTV, but he was open to challenging his own beliefs.

    I think that is why he finally is able to confront his past and demons. Seems like he always- albeit slowly- learns from mistakes.

    I hope he is able to stay sober, and I don’t care if that makes him boring.

  14. caroline says:

    that “equally miserable” line sounds just like what kinky friedman said when running for governor of texas back in 2006. i like that attitude!

  15. Anna says:

    @javelin: I suppose you also think Goya and Michelangelo painted like preschoolers? *shakes head*

  16. Brooke says:

    I’ve had a crush on him for aaaages even though I’ve hardly listened to any of his music (I’m more into punk rock). He is such a great interview! I wish the images chosen were more flattering, though ;)

  17. Bella Mosley says:

    I have always liked him, see him as original and extremely talented and I’m a grandma.
    A lot of people don’t like rap and I don’t like it in general, but Eminem, to me, is great.

  18. BrandyMc says:

    LOVE HIM!

  19. lucy2 says:

    Glad he’s in recovery, sounds like it was pretty bad there for a while. He seems open and honest about himself and his problems, and knows what is a good and bad idea for him to do. If nothing else, that is a huge step in the right direction, and it sounds like he’s doing well.

  20. Snarf says:

    A kinder, gentler Eminem? Who knew??

  21. meme says:

    EM RULES!

  22. zen says:

    awww,I love him. Ive been an Eminem addict for 10+ yrs now. He’s actually always been a very passionate and good guy, but a lot of that past stuff was just for hype. I think he’s always had a big heart, just never wanted anyone to see it or know about it. I just hope all this promo stuff doesnt cause him to slip. I think Ill still be listening to him when Im in my 60′s

  23. Arvedia says:

    Glad he pulled himself together enough to stay sober. Love him, too.

  24. chunkstyle says:

    Wow, Lindsay Lohan should take some damn notes from this guy. I guess she’ll have to get to the “hours before death” point though…
    I can’t ever imagine her being humble though.

  25. Tia says:

    Times have changed… being pro-gay is now the way to go and cool. Way to go Eminem…

  26. Tia C says:

    I used to like his music back in the day (although like others, I don’t care at all for the misogyny), but his last CD sucked ass. I downloaded it, burned it, listened to it in my car, heard him rapping about being anally raped by his stepfather and promptly chucked it out the window. Talk about that shiz in therapy, I really REALLY don’t wanna hear it – I promise. Not any more pleasant to listen to than the misogyny! Glad he’s doing better and is sober, that is great, but I’m not optimistic about his new CD. Sometimes one person’s venting is another person’s noise pollution.

  27. Eileen Yover says:

    I’m glad he’s staying sober for his kids…they just might have a shot of a semi-healthy life…as long as their mother can or has her sh!t together.

  28. javelin says:

    Anna–
    heh. Only when they WERE preschoolers. I just find that when rhymes call too much attention to themselves they seem awkward and forced, and they detract from the flow of words or imagery. It’s a slippery slope between structure and style, bent heavily on personal taste.

  29. TeeTee says:

    he was abusing pills because he is hiding WHO HE REALLY is, come on out the closet EM, its okay..

  30. gg says:

    I saw him on Jonathan Ross the other day. I think he’s on speed or something similar. His eyes bug out like he’s on crystal meth and he does not EVER smile. He needs to act a lot more human for me to buy his contrition act.

    Also, I still have no idea how this street poet got so famous being a jerk. I think he should shut up and publish poems if that’s all he can do.

  31. onyx says:

    that’s soo gay!

  32. GatsbyGal says:

    I never liked him when he first came on the scene, like he was only putting on a front. I wanted to believe that the face he showed to the media was fake, and that in reality he was a nice person. I’m glad that I was right! It seems that the years really have been good to him, and now he’s more at peace with himself and is comfortable simply being who he is. I’m sure his daughter is proud of him and his amazing two years of sobriety…I know I am. You’re awesome now, Eminem. <3

  33. margo says:

    I love eminem, so original, so talented, we need more of him around, I pray he stays on the right path

  34. jc126 says:

    I’m not surprised either that he sounds so smart. It was obvious to me, too, from the beginning that he is very intelligent. And I heard him say in an interview that to him, the word f*gg*t “doesn’t mean gay person”, which made sense, as I’ve heard it in that non-gay-bashing sense many times.

  35. CandyKay says:

    It would be a little pathetic if he were 37 and still acting like he did when he was in his 20s.

    I’m glad he’s dealing with his addictions, but his experience shows again the hazards of super-fame. Michael Jackson, Brittany Spears, Kurt Cobain – people just can’t handle that level of attention and admiration.

    I’m not a Madonna fan, but it says a lot for her that she’s come out of it all as well as she has.

  36. Shannon says:

    Well I guess I’m going to be the jerk and say I never liked him; the violence in his lyrics was just too twisted. But as Voltaire said, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Given his upbringing it’s no wonder his songs are so rage-filled. And it’s not like he ever claimed to be an angel.

    I’m glad to see he’s worked most of his issues out and turned into a good man worthy of his kids.

  37. NicoleAM says:

    I always felt he was at his best was his tone was lighter, although still biting. I’ve never been a huge fan of rap music but he appealed to me because of his use of humor in his lyrics and videos. Pretty rare to listen to a song and actually laugh out loud at the words. Stay strong, stay clean and welcome back! :)

  38. mary jane says:

    Looks like he’s staying in good physical shape too.

    Can’t believe he’s 37!

    Lance, at 38, looks so much older!!

  39. Atticus says:

    I liked the Eminem Show a lot but not much of his other stuff. I have always thought he was extremely talented and have always respected that talent. No matter how harsh his lyrics were towards women in general, he’s always been a clearly very dedicated father.

    And I’ve always appreciated that he was the genuine deal – said what he thought and believed. So what I like most about this interview is that he owns what he said before – doesn’t make excuses for it, just plainly says, well that is how I felt back then. I’ve changed, and so have my opinions.

    Go Em – hope you continue to succeed in your recovery.

  40. omondieu says:

    I was never a fan of his, though I always acknowledged his talent. But I heard his new song the other day, and I really like it! I’m so glad to see that he’s mellowed out and matured. When 99% of what we see is celebrity screw-ups, it’s so nice to see those who’ve had troubled pasts face their demons and come out stronger than ever. Good for him, and I hope he stays well!

  41. Rosanna says:

    Holy Sh*t! Eminem too sold out to PC! What the hell????

  42. Me says:

    He’s a total genius, and I’m really impressed with his humility and commitment to getting his life together. I wish him all the best – he sounds like he’s matured a lot.

  43. MissyA says:

    I’ve always had a soft spot for Em – he’s a hometown hero of sorts. Even with some of his more demented music, I admired his tenacity and vulgarity (I was a teenager at the time), but I still held out hope against hope that he was just using the media to garner more attention for himself. It’s very rewarding to see this softer, more humble side of Em.

    He’ll still always be my bad boy – my double secret crush f*ck buddy, though. We’ll just stop sniffing pills when we meet up for the naughty! *sigh* It’s fun to play pretend. . .

  44. abby says:

    He did a bit on “The Soup” this weekend, that was pretty cool. Joel McHale kept coming to his hotel room to do an interview, and he kept thinking that Joel was a hotel employee!

  45. i think most rappers would make some snide remark about gay marriage but i’m glad to see he is compassionate about it. i like this new version of eminem. congrats on the sobriety.