Get ready to enter the Em Zone. Back from a three-year hiatus, Eminem is set to grace two XXL covers for the magazine’s June issue on stands May 5, two weeks before Em’s fifth solo album, Relapse, hits stores May 19.
A special collector’s edition, the issue showcases Eminem posing as Marvel Comics’ notorious vigilante The Punisher. In addition to the cover story written by XXL Editor-in-Chief Datwon Thomas, the issue’s entire feature well is dedicated to Marshall Mathers and documents his illustrious career. The magazine also includes an exclusive collaboration between XXL, Shady and Marvel Comics: a special edition Punisher comic book entitled Eminem/Punisher: Kill You starring Eminem and created by Marvel Comics. Part 2 of the comic will be made available on www.marvel.com/eminem starting May 5.-Bruce Moses
Check below for choice quotes from the June cover story with Eminem and an exclusive first look of Slim Shady as The Punisher. And stay tuned for more Eminem with XXL.
On His Drug Addiction
“I wasn’t really mentally. I wasn’t ready to give up 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.”
On Proof’s Death
“Everyone felt his loss, from his kids, to his wife, to everyone. 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. And the more drugs I consumed, and it was all depressants I was taking, the more depressed I became, the more self-loathing I became…By the way, I’m just now at the point where I’m better talking about it. It took me so long to get out of that place where I couldn’t even speak about it without crying or wanting to cry…Proof was the anchor. He was everything to D12. And not just the group-for me, personally, he was everything.”
On T.I., Lil Wayne & Hip-Hop
“I stayed up on the music, and obviously I watch TV and saw what was going on. And without naming any name, 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 with this new T.I. album, with this new Lil Wayne 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 **** and you’re like Whoa, ah, I wish I would have thought of that! You know what I mean? Or you hear all the compound-syllable rhyming and all that. It just seems like now the craft is getting cared about more.”