Eminem sat down with Sway Calloway for Part I of The Kamikaze Interview. Always the Hip Hop student, Em kicked off the conversation by asking Sway to sign a vinyl copy of “In Control” from Sway and King Tech’s 1991 album, Concrete Jungle.
During the roughly 15-minute conversation, Em revealed why he dropped his 10th studio album with no warning.
“I feel like the way the climate is right now, if you give people enough time to say, ‘Man, he better have a song like this or I ain’t fuckin’ with it, or if he don’t have a song like this, I ain’t fuckin’ with it. He better not be rapping like this. He better not be rapping about this or I’m not going to fuck with it,'” he begins.
“When you go into an album, you can go into anything with the mindset of, ‘This is gonna suck.’ I feel like giving them no warning was the best thing to do … When the Revival tracklist came down the pipe, it was like overwhelmingly, ‘This shit is going to be trash.’ Nobody really wanted to be wrong about it. I’m not saying everybody, but a lot of people had already formed their opinion.”
As the conversation continued, Em questioned if Revival was almost too different from the norm for people to really vibe with it.
“Me sitting back and seeing things like I saw, I felt a bunch of different ways,” he says. “I felt like, ‘OK, maybe because it doesn’t sound like everything else and what most people are doing, maybe that was what tainted their ear.
“I remember a time in Hip Hop where you had to be so different from the next person or you were trash. There’s a shift somewhere that happened if it doesn’t sound like everything else than it’s trash automatically.”
“I just sat back like, ‘OK, alright, I can take that [the criticism],” he explains. “It’s not like I can’t take constructive criticism, but I feel like it kinda went beyond constructive criticism. So, I had to go back to it.
“And look, I have made albums that definitely, probably would not be at the top of my list — Encore, Relapse — which I believe Encore is a better album than Relapse. Relapse is something I went back to and cringed at. Like, ‘Jesus Christ, I didn’t realize I was doing that many accents.'”
But, Slim Shady knows it was part of the journey.
“I always say that if it wasn’t for Relapse, I wouldn’t have been able to make Recovery and if it wasn’t for Revival, I wouldn’t have been able to make this album, so I’m good with it,” he says. “Some people, more than others, went a little far with it.”
Toward the end of clip, Eminem recognizes people have a right to say what they want to say, but he believes the Hip Hop space is like a case of “too many Indians, not enough chiefs.”
“I appreciate the platform … but you’ve got people who don’t do anything and are just critiquing it,” he says. “That’s fine, they should express themselves and they have a right to. But, I also get to say whatever the fuck I want about you now.
“I’m good with Revival. Fuck it. Because I couldn’t have made this album without it. There is something, I’m not going to lie, there is something inside me that is a little more happy when I’m angry. As bad as it feels to be there, there’s a rush of it that I like because it inspires me to say something bad.”
Until then, check out Part I above.