8 Mile High

There should be no doubt in any serious music fan’s mind that Eminem has emerged as one of the most important figures in the business over the last five years, and those of us who have followed his career since the early days will understand the genius of the man very well. At least, those of us who chuckle at his frequently hilarious lyrics, sympathise and relate to his sadder or more angst ridden ones will be able to do so anyway. It may be slightly more difficult for his biggest critics – the ones who soil themselves when he utters the word “motherfucker”, and think that he, a relatively skinny, geeky white boy early in his career, is solely responsible for bringing the United States to its knees and is the key factor in a rise in gun crime – to be wise enough to acknowledge. I doubt very much they even realise that they are indeed the laughing stock Mr.Mathers humiliates so much on his records when they get so irate about him going “too far” in his lyrical content. But then I guess that’s good, because it keeps the guy on form with such sharp observations and a wit not found in the pop parade since the demise of the Smiths. And now there’s a film out – so how did that come about?

E: As soon as I got the script and started reading a few pages, I was like “Yo. This is something I wanna do”. So I called up Paul, my manager and I said “Let’s go and do it”. There was quite a bit of downtime between the “Marshall Mathers lp” and “The Eminem Show”, so that gave me the time to do it.

AD: Tell us something about the guy who directed the movie, Curtis Hanson…

E: Curtis really wasn’t from this world. He’s not from my world, and I’m not really from his world either, so we basically had to put a lot of trust in eachother. He had to trust me on the content of the music, and I had to trust him on the acting, ‘cause I never did anything like that before, besides videos and whatnot. It was like, if I felt REAL in a scene, then “Whatever. It should come out right”.

AD: There are several obstacles that block your way in the film and presumably in your real life struggle to make it as a rapper, particularly as a white rapper. How do these battles affect you?

E: Anything in a battle can be used against you. It’s like in 8 mile, you live in a trailer park with your mom and that’s gonna be goin’ against you. If people know anything about your personal life at all, then that is the worst weapon that somebody can have. You know – you’re broke, you dropped outta school, or evn you DIDN’T drop out of school and you’re going to college, you’re preppy. All these things will go against you. Anything can be used against you in a battle.

AD: “8 Mile” wasted no time in achieving the number one slot on the UK box office charts pretty much immediately upon its release. One of the major factors for that success must be down to the glorious single “Lose Yourself”. It seems to be a rant at those people who’ll do all they can to get in your way in your quest for success on the rap scene, and to me it’s saying “Fuck them. Fuck them all. Do what the fuck you want and never give up”. Is that a fair assessment?

E: It’s also like Jimmy’s journey in, like, trying to make his demo and it’s a couple of different songs, but basically “Lose Yourself” is the lead off single for the soundtrack and you’ll hear it as it progresses through the movie, as Jimmy’s trying to build it and make it into a song. Then at the movie it BECOMES the entire song.

Well, admittedly that was short and sweet, but take it while you can. Eminem is at the height of his fame right now and the harder his censors try to cut him down, the bigger the fuss kicked up by the no-brain tabloids and the further allegations and insinuations made by his mother, ex-lover and politicians with their head up in the clouds (or up their arse, you choose), the stronger the man comes back. The funny thing is, and this never gets mentioned, looking past the profanities and obviously intentionally provocative references to incestual buggery and rape, and those people would find some of the most intelligent lyrics written by an artist for years. After all, how much damage can he do with a pen?

Transcript by Tone E

Thanks to Mylon at Waytoblue for this interview


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