Eminem has been telling Radio 1's Zane Lowe about recording his sixth studio album Relapse, how he managed to overcome writer's block, working with Dr. Dre and how he managed to get Brit actor Dominic West to play his drug councillor on the album.
Was there a moment during the recording of the new album, Relapse, when it all started flowing and coming together?
I can probably pinpoint to almost exactly around the time when it started to happen. Me and [Dr.] Dre had organised a trip to Orlando and this was around June or July of last year. I had had a pretty bad case of writer's block. There were literally a couple of years where I couldn't write anything. I was doing so much.
I was trying to make songs out of freestyles, going in the booth, not writing anything down and trying to do it that way. Just going through all these different motions to try to do things but nothing I did was up to my own personal standards. Nothing I did I felt like was good enough to put out, which is one of the reasons that it took so long for the album to come out.
What happened in Orlando to make you start writing again?
Eminem held a free concert for fans in Detroit on Tuesday night
A couple of weeks before we were scheduled to go on the trip, I had started writing songs again and writing them without beats. I had drum beats in my head but it was like I was going through mind exercises to get the creativity to flow again.
I started to come out of the writer's block and it was probably about two weeks before we were scheduled to go, I called Dre and I was like, 'Yo. I think that I might be coming out of this writer's block on me'. And he was like, 'That's what I like to hear', and he was happy. So we went to Orlando and I think in that two weeks we did like 10 or 11 songs and from that moment on the ball was rolling.
He came back to Detroit for like four, five months and stayed there. I think within seven months we had enough material for like three albums. We narrowed it down to two.
The first proper track on the album, 3am, is pretty dark isn't it?
It's a dark song. It's a dark beat. The writing process, the way I go about it is I do whatever the beat feels like, whatever the beat is telling me to do. Usually when the beat comes on, I think of a hook or the subject I want to rap about almost instantly. Within four, eight bars of it playing I'm just like, 'Oh, OK. This is what I wanna do'. And once I'm able to lock on to something, I just take it as far as I can. Like every subject, no matter what it is, I try to push it and push myself.
Eminem won best international male at the Brits in 2001
When did you come up with the title, Relapse, for the album and the concept behind it?
The actual title or the concept came about I think right around the time I was coming out of the writer's block. One day the word hit me and I started thinking of things to rhyme to and then I was like, 'Nah. Wait a minute. That's an album title'. And I kind of just locked onto it. For me, getting sober, and as I was going through the whole process of that, my mind was not only opening up but it was actually getting easier for me to talk about my addiction.
The album starts with the introduction, Dr. West, which features British actor Dominic West from The Wire. Are you a big Wire fan and what was it like to meet him?
It's the best thing ever on TV. Don't get me started on that because the whole interview will be about that. It's the best show. He speaks with a British accent. While I was watching the show and when I first started getting into it I was like, 'There's no way'. You'd never know. You'd never be able to tell in a million years. My rehab councillor has a British accent, so it reminded me of that and I thought, 'Wow. How crazy would it be if I could get that guy to play my rehab councillor? That would be crazy'.
Eminem was talking to Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe.