In a recent and in-depth interview with hip hop magazine XXL, Eminem (real name Marshall Mathers) told fans what his role is in hip hop today versus 20 years ago when he released his album The Eminem Show. He also spoke on his writing process and how it has evolved over the years.
Speaking on the creative freedoms he had when he entered the game back at the turn of the millennium, Mathers divulged, “Sometimes I wish I could have that freedom back. At the beginning of my career, I had this whole canvas that I could paint on. ‘I haven’t made a song about this, this, this. I can make a song about this.’ The more you paint on that canvas, all of a sudden, you’ve made a song about every single thing you can fuckin’ possibly think of. So, I start getting in my head.”
The rapper continued, “If I had a choice between being the best rapper or making the best albums, I’d rather be the best rapper. That’s how I rap, to be the best rapper. Obviously, all of that is subjective, and everybody’s got their favourite rappers, but in my head, I would rather do that than just make good songs.”
Acknowledging that the times have evidently changed, the rapper eventually revealed what he believes his role is in hip hop today, disclosing, “My role in today’s Hip Hop is to always try to be the best rapper. That’s it. That’s how I want to feel inside,” he said. “That’s what I want to feel. And I can’t do that until I listen to what the fuck J. Cole just put out. What the fuck did Kendrick just put out? And I’m thinking, Oh, these dudes ain’t playing.”
Mathers continued, “I don’t want to get swept away in that shuffle. I still want to let everybody know who the fuck I am. Like I said, ‘They rap to be the best rappers.’ I’ll hear some shit by them, and I’ll be like, Yo, I ain’t the best rapper right now. I need to fuckin’ get up, get back on my shit. I want to do things that nobody from this point on can ever top. Rap to a level that no one else could get to. And again, it’s subjective, and every rapper, especially rappers in competitive rap, wants to be the best rapper. So, I look for the younger generation to push me. I don’t have to make albums. I don’t have to do anything at this point. It’s about wanting to, and that’s never changed for me no matter what level the fame’s gotten to.”
So, even in 2022, Mathers is still determined that no matter who or what is hot in hip hop, he wants to be considered one of the best and yearns for that top spot. This interview comes off the back of the release of Mathers’ second greatest hits album, Curtain Call 2. This latest project features tracks from the rapper’s 2009 project Relapse, all the way up until the present with new tracks such as ‘From The D 2 The LBC’ featuring Snoop Dogg on the album too.
An amazing interview from Mathers, you can listen to Curtain Call 2 below.