Guess who's back?
"I stayed up on the music, and obviously I watch TV and saw what was going on," he said. "And without naming any names, it just felt like hip-hop was going downhill. And it seemed like kinda fast. You know, in them three years, it was like everybody just cares about the hook and the beat; nobody really cares about substance. But with this new
One of the driving forces inspiring Em to cultivate his craft and get his life together is the death of his best friend
"Everyone felt his loss, from his kids, to his wife, to everyone," he explained. "But, for some reason, in hindsight, the way I felt was almost like it happened to just me. ... Maybe at the time I was a little bit selfish with it. I think it kind of hit me so hard. It just blindsided me. I just went into such a dark place that, with everything, the drugs, my thoughts, everything. And the more drugs I consumed — and it was all depressants I was taking — the more depressed I became, the more self-loathing I became. ... By the way, I'm just now at the point where I'm better talking about it. It took me so long to get out of that place where I couldn't even speak about it without crying or wanting to cry. ... Proof was the anchor. He was everything to D12. And not just the group — for me, personally, he was everything."
Along with having to deal with the death of such a beloved confidant, Em also struggled with drug addiction.
"I wasn't ready mentally. I wasn't ready to give up drugs," he explained. "I didn't really think I had a problem. Basically, I went in, and I came out. I relapsed, and I spent the next three years struggling with it. Also, at that time, I felt like I wanted to pull back, because my drug problem had got so bad. I felt like, 'Maybe if I take a break, maybe this will help.' I started to get into the producer role more. ... I can still be out-there with my music, like with the Re-Up album, but I don't have to be in the spotlight the whole time."
Slim Shady is featured on two XXL covers for the June issue — one of Em with the Punisher logo tattooed on his bare chest, the other with Em in full Punisher costume.
Relapse hits stores on May 19.