Eminem has been sober for 13 years and has been in the rap game for even longer. In a new essay shared by XXL on Wednesday (Sept. 14), the rapper opens up about every step of his come-up, his struggle with addiction when he became famous, and his future goals.
“Before any of this happened, before I signed to Dr. Dre and Interscope, I remember having this conversation with Royce [5’9″],” he began of the jump of his career. “We had somebody at this hip-hop label who said they wanted to sign me when I was working with the Bass Brothers. I made three or four songs, and we gave it to this guy, and found out that he worked in the mail room and he wasn’t really whom he said he was.”
He continued, “I was at the lowest point. I didn’t even know what I was going to do because it didn’t look like it was going to happen. I’m 24 years old and I got a baby to take care of and all I want to do is rap, but it didn’t look good. I was super depressed.”
By the time the money started coming in, he said he started to indulge more but he reiterated that his addiction didn’t start until he “got famous.” When he and Dr. Dre signed 50 Cent in 2002, however, is when his addiction started to get particularly bad. ”I’m coming off The Marshall Mathers LP and going into Encore when my addiction started to get bad,” he recalled. “I was taking Vicodin, Valium and alcohol. I kinda fell off the map a little bit and didn’t explain why I went away. I remember things started getting really, really bad when me, 50 and G-Unit did BET’s 106 & Park. … That’s when the wheels started coming off. One of the hosts was talking to me and I could not understand a word she was saying. 50 had to cover for me and answer every question.”
Eminem added that his addiction spanned for five years, and it got worse after D12’s Proof died in 2006. “I remember just after Proof died, I was in my house by myself, and I was just laying in bed and I couldn’t move and I just kept staring at the ceiling fan,” he recalled. “And I just kept taking more pills. I literally couldn’t walk for two days when that happened and eventually my drug use f**in’ skyrocketed. I had f**kin 10 drug dealers at one time that I’m getting my s**t from. Seventy-five to 80 Valiums a night, which is a lot. I don’t know how the f**k I’m still here. I was numbing myself.”
While working on Encore, he found himself in a “goofy mood” because of the heavy drug usage, which led to “silly songs” such as, he said, “Ass Like That.” When the record dropped, Em said that the reaction was “definitely a wake-up call, a slap in the face, a sobering moment.” While he was proud of songs such as “Like Toy Soldiers,” he ultimately knew it wasn’t on the same level of quality as The Eminem Show.