Eminem is promoting his new album, Revival. He is 45 years old and, I have to admit, more woke than you would expect. Granted, Eminem has always been more of a liberal/progressive than anything else – he openly bashed George W. Bush, but Marshall has never seemed to go through the “angry white guy anarchist” phase, you know? Like, Marshall Mathers VOTES. He doesn’t want to burn the system to the ground. And yes, I’m sure there will be tons of people who canceled him long ago for his misogyny, and if that’s the case, I understand. But I guess I feel like Em is more than the sum of his worst moments and most misogynistic lyrics. He’s spent much of the past decade clean and sober and quietly raising his three daughters in Detroit.
Anyway, to promote this album, Eminem chatted with Elton John for Interview Magazine. I was surprised by how kind they are to each other. I knew they were friendly, obviously, but I guess I never realized how affectionate they are towards each other. They talked about sobriety, politics and more. Some highlights:
Getting clean: “Yeah, nine years. Getting clean made me grow up. I feel like all the years that I was using, I wasn’t growing as a person.
Looking back at his entire career: “There are ups and downs. I haven’t had a perfect career. I’ve put some albums out that, looking back, I’m not super proud of, but there’s also a lot of stuff that I am very proud of. You’re not going to hit it every single time, and that’s why, when I record an album, I do probably close to 50 songs. Each song I record has to get better. If it’s not better than the last song that I made, it’ll usually linger for a couple of months, and then it’ll be put on the backburner, and then there’ll be another song that I do, and then it often doesn’t make it on the album.
His taped performance of “The Storm” for the BET Awards: “I wrote it. The original idea was for me to go to the BET Awards and do it acapella onstage. I went home that same day and wrote it all, but then at the last minute, plans got switched around and we filmed it in Detroit. One of the things we were trying to mimic was Public Enemy’s “You’re Gonna Get Yours” cover. I don’t know if anybody got that, but that’s kind of the feel that we were going for. My main concern was trying to get the message out and also memorize all the words. I have a hard time memorizing stuff. I’m always in the process of writing a new song, so trying to learn a new one takes a minute.
The divided country: “It was about having the right to stand up to oppression. I mean, that’s exactly what the people in the military and the people who have given their lives for this country have fought for—for everybody to have a voice and to protest injustices and speak out against sh-t that’s wrong. We’re not trying to disrespect the military, we’re not trying to disrespect the flag, we’re not trying to disrespect our country. But sh-t is going on that we want to make you aware of. We have a president who does not care about everybody in our country; he is not the president for all of us, he is the president for some of us. He knows what he’s doing. As long as he’s got his base, he does not give a f–k about anybody else in America. But guess what? There’s more of us than there are of them. I still feel like America is the greatest country to live in. This is my opinion. But we have issues that we need to work on and we need to do better.
When Elton tells him “I love you from a long way away, okay?”: “Thank you, Elton. I love you, too.”
Eminem could put that political speech onto a t-shirt and I would buy it. “We have a president who does not care about everybody in our country; he is not the president for all of us, he is the president for some of us… As long as he’s got his base, he does not give a f–k about anybody else in America. But guess what? There’s more of us than there are of them.” Yes. As for America “still” being the greatest country to live in… obviously, considering Em’s build-up, he’s saying that with his eyes wide open, knowing that America is still a pretty f–ked up place. Thus, he acknowledges “we have issues that we need to work on and we need to do better.” Amen to that.
Photos courtesy of Interview Magazine.