Eminem has seen the top of the mountain, and at this point, he's happy to let someone else take his perch. Despite a mega-platinum run earlier in the decade that saw him rising to the pinnacle of rap superstardom, the MC told BBC Radio host Zane Lowe over the weekend that he's had it with fame.
"I've accomplished enough with the music that I haven't had to go out there and do other things to oversaturate," he said, adding that he made his upcoming record, Relapse, mainly as a means of reminding people that he can still bring it. "That's probably what I take pride in most. ... But, at the end of the day, it's kind of catch-22. I love the attention, but I don't like too much of it. ... There's no desire to be that big again. Whatever happens, I'll take it, but that's definitely not what I'll be recording the songs for."
Em has been on hiatus since 2005 and hasn't released a new album since 2004's Encore. After such a wait, scaling back on the hype for this album will be hard, especially since, according to his BBC Radio interview, his main collaborator on Relapse is none other than original mentor Dr. Dre.
"For the last five months I've been working pretty much straight with Dre," he said. "There's going to be a lot of material, more so than I've had on an album with him producing before." Though Dre has worked on all of Eminem's albums since his 1997 debut, the production legend took on a bigger load on Relapse because Em said he didn't want to have to worry about producing this time around.
"Obviously, [Dre's] beats are insane, but aside from that, I can rap," Em said. "I can write and not worry about what the beat has to sound like and how loud a snare drum is. All those things are taken care of for me. I feel like a spoilt rapper. I get to pick and choose everything."
Em, who was recently named the Best Rapper Alive by Vibe readers, said he couldn't wait to "get back out there" and felt "pretty good about what I've done." So far, fans have heard his freestyle, "I'm Having a Relapse," but no release date has been set yet for the album.
After a rough couple of years, during which he reportedly had a health scare and saw his childhood friend, rapper Proof, gunned down in a nightclub, Eminem told Lowe he's not particularly eager to tour any time soon.
"I'm not saying I will or I won't, but I'm not ready to tour, at least at this moment right now," said Eminem, who canceled a string of European dates in 2005 due to what was initially described as exhaustion but was later revealed to be time out to receive treatment for an addiction to prescription sleeping medication. He told Lowe that the Encore tour was around the time he stopped having fun performing onstage.
"All in all, I'm a pretty private person when it comes to certain things that I want to keep private," he said. "It's just me and my family's business. There were days when I just couldn't wait to get home and have privacy when nobody's watching me."
Also in the interview, Em said he's voting for Senator Barack Obama in the upcoming election because the Illinois Democrat "would be a breath of fresh air to get what's left of the Bush administration out of the door." And he couldn't resist kicking up a bit of controversy for old time's sake. Though he said "the majority" of rap that has been released since he went on hiatus is "crap," he took time to give props to T.I.'s new album, Paper Trail, saying he's been "pumping that for the last two weeks every day in my car aside from my own stuff as I record it." He also said Outkast's Andre 3000 is "incredible," but rap in general has gone down the toilet.