Eminem, the rapper born as Marshal Mathers, is known worldwide as one of the first white emcees to be loved, accepted and embraced by the hip-hop community and is now considered among the best in the industry with regard to lyricism. With so many iconic songs, it is hard to deny the Detroit rapper’s talent and the impact he has made on the genre as a whole.
However, although it may be hard to believe, there was a time that Eminem, mid-career, couldn’t rap at all. In a new episode of The Paul Pod podcast with Paul Rosenberg, the rapper opened up about his relapse and overdose in 2007.
Speaking to Rosenberg, the rapper (real name Marshall Mathers), explained that in the time period between the release of his 2005 album Encore and 2009 album Relapse, he experienced an accidental overdose on methadone. Detailing his experience when coming back to music, the rapper revealed, “I remember when I first got sober, and all the shit was out of my system, I remember just being, like, really happy and everything was fucking new to me again.”
Referencing the creative process leading up to Relapse, Mathers divulged, “It was like the first time I started having fun with music again and relearning how to rap. You remember that whole process, [it] took a long time for my brain to start working again.” The rapper went on to continue that he had to retrain and rewire his brain as he hadn’t made music sober in a long time.
Attempting to clarify the rapper’s predicament while creating Relapse, Rosenberg asked, “So, you were learning how to rap again almost literally, right? Because it’s the first time, probably, you were creating without having substances in your body in, however many years, right?”
Rosenberg was Mathers’ manager at the time of his relapse and witnessed the rapper’s recovery. In constant communication with the doctors treating the rapper, when the rapper recalled how Rosenberg even asked if he had brain damage, to which the host responded, “Yeah. I thought you might have some permanent problems, I was concerned, for sure.”
Looking back on the 2009 album, in an interview with RollingStone, the rapper admitted that he still wasn’t mentally quite there when he made it stating, “I don’t hate the record. I want to rap and be able to always try to do my best lyrically, but at the same time, find the right balance between that and making the right songs. And you know, I don’t know if I had necessarily found that balance yet because I was just getting sober and just kind of finding my feet again.”
You can listen to the entire Paul Pod interview in the video below.