This week, Eminem took time out from his schedule of performing and promoting his newest album Recovery, to reveal to Billboard how the LP came together. He explained that the difference between his previous album Encore and the subsequent album Relapse, had much to do with his level of sobriety.

“I was pretty much in full-blown addiction when I was creating [Encore],” he told Billboard. “And as far as Relapse, when I first got sober I got really happy because I was not a prisoner of addiction anymore, so life was brand new to me. I was like, ‘Shit, man, trees are beautiful again. What a nice day it is.’ I don’t think I was paying attention to what the average listener might like or not like.”

While he has suggested in interviews and through his music (specifically his lead single “Not Afraid“) that he feels he has let down his fans, he also says he’s learned from past errors. Just Blaze, who was the first producer to work on Recovery, echoed those sentiments. “[Eminem] already knew what sort of mistakes he has made with the previous album and where he wanted to go from there.”

Em revealed that while recording some of his recent music, he struggled not just with lyrical content, but with an emotional connection to the music. “I would go back and listen to songs off The Marshall Mathers LP, The Eminem Show, and some of Encore, and ask, ‘Why don’t my music feel like this anymore? ‘The Way I Am,’ ‘Criminal,’ and ‘Toy Soldiers’ were songs that meant something. I wanted there to be a reason why I was making each song, instead of making it just to make it.” However, he also said that after regaining that emotional tie with his music, he was able to record “at least three or four albums’ worth of material. “I must have gone through 200-300 beats,” he said. “I probably picked a hundred of them and made songs to all of them and then nailed it down. I wanted to put the best on this record.”

Eminem’s single “Not Afraid” debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and Recovery is projected to sell 700,000 after its first week. Currently, Em has teamed up with Jay-Z to perform shows in both Detroit and New York.