As Eminem gears up to release his highly anticipated album Relapse, the Detroit emcee opened up about several topics in an interview with XXL Magazine [click to read], set to hit news stands May 5.

Shady spoke on his widely publicized drug addiction, explaining, “I wasn’t ready mentally. I wasn’t ready to give up the drugs. I didn’t
really think I had a problem. Basically, I went in, and I came out. I
relapsed, and I spent the next three years struggling with it. Also, at
that time, I felt like I wanted to pull back, because my drug problem
had got so bad. I felt like, Maybe if I take a break, maybe this will
help. I started to get into the producer role more… I can still be out
there with my music, like with the
Re-Up album, but I don’t have to be
in the spotlight the whole time.

Em also revealed his feelings about the death of his friend, Proof of D12. “Everyone felt his loss, from his kids, to his wife, to everyone,” he said of the late rapper, who died just over three years ago. “But,
for some reason, in hindsight, the way I felt was almost like it
happened to just me… Maybe at the time I was a little bit selfish with
it. I think it kind of hit me so hard. It just blindsided me. I just
went into such a dark place that, with everything, the drugs, my
thoughts, everything.

Eminem added that he is just now able to discuss the matter without becoming emotional. “Proof was the anchor. He was everything to D12. And not just the
group-for me, personally, he was everything

Finally, Em spoke on the current state of Hip Hop, revealing that he had stayed current on the art form, but wasn’t necessarily impressed. “…without naming any names, it just felt like Hip Hop was going downhill.
And it seemed like kinda fast. You know, in them three years, it was
like everybody just cares about the hook and the beat; nobody really
cares about substance.

But not all hope is lost for Eminem, it seems, as a few names have kept him hopeful about the Hip Hop game. “But with this new T.I. album, with this new Lil
album of recent, it seems like things are looking a lot better
now. You can appreciate Lil Wayne using different words to rhyme and
actually rhyming words that you know. Or T.I., where you hear shit and
you’re like Whoa, ah, I wish I would have thought of that!

Relapse is scheduled for release on May 19.