On a radio special tied to his new album, Eminem discussed ‘Revival,’ his recording process and more
Eminem took a page out of FDR’s book and offered up a Fireside Chat with fans and members of the media on Friday, the day of the release of his new album “Revival.”
The “Shady Fireside Chat” aired on Em’s SiriusXM channel, Shade45, along with several other channels on the satellite radio service. Em, broadcasting from a studio in Oak Park, was joined by his manager Paul Rosenberg and his cohorts Denaun Porter and Royce da 5’9,” while music journalist Alan Light moderated the hourlong conversation from a studio in New York.
Eminem discussed “Revival,” its inspiration, and his collaborators. The title “Revival” is a double entendre, Em said. “It’s a revival for myself, and it’s kind of the theme of the album, but there’s also, hopefully, the revival of America,” he said.
As for his shots at Donald Trump so far going unanswered, “it makes no sense, he’s not going to answer me,” Em said. “If he does, I’ve got ideas.”
Here are other highlights from the hour-long broadcast:
On his hip-hop contemporaries: “I’m into Kendrick (Lamar’s) music for sure, and Jay (Z) is a legend. So I always look to Jay to see what he’s gonna do next. Because it seems like, like he did when he put out ‘4:44,’ that everybody followed what he does. He puts out an album, and it seems like everybody follows him. Me, I’m just trying to compete with the best of the best that are out right now, and that doesn’t necessarily mean from my generation, it means from every generation. (That’s) what I want to compete with.”
On the biggest challenge in the recording of “Revival:” “One of the first things I had to do when I started making this album was I had to let off the gas. I had released a couple songs a couple of years ago, ‘Phenomenal’ and ‘Kings Never Die,’ going back to them now, it’s like, ‘damn, I never even took a breath.’ I didn’t leave no space. So I had to figure out how to let off the gas, but not too much. I probably recorded between 40 and 50 songs for this album, and in the process, it took me about six months to really figure out (how) to get the spacing right. And then have the right songs, I guess.”
On the process of whittling down songs: “Me and Paul always argue over songs. Basically the process is, as I’m recording, let’s say I record three songs. Now I’ve got three songs that I can build off. And as I go along, and as the songs get better as the last one, then the last one gets scrapped. And it keeps going until we have the right ones.”
On where “Revival” ranks in his catalog: “I try not to look at it that way, because I know that, in hindsight, looking back at albums like ‘Relapse’ and ‘Encore,’ I do feel like I could have did better. But I realize at the time, thinking back to it, that was the absolute best I could do at that point in time. I think I said this in a line before, ‘Encore’ I was on drugs, and ‘Relapse’ I was flushing them out. I was learning to rap again, basically. But every album, I always try to put my best foot forward, so hopefully that’s what I did.”
On his relationship with Dr. Dre: “It’s always the same with me and Dre. Over the years, we’ve really become close friends. I would never look at it any other than that. This album, the last year or so is when things started to connect, and I know Dre was taking a break, and I knew that he had taken some time off, so I couldn’t really hit him up for some beats, so I kind of just kept going with what I was doing and came to him when the album was pretty much almost finished. We had the discussion that if he didn’t do a beat on the album could he at least mix, because he’s not only the best beatmaker in the world, to me, but he’s also the best mixer. Hands down. I don’t know what he does on the boards, like how he does it, because I’ve stolen all his tricks, and I still can’t make it sound like he makes it sound. It’s incredible.”
On Dre helping narrow down his material: “I love to play my stuff for Dre because I’m gonna get an honest reaction every single time. And Dre’s going to tell me if something sucks. He’ll do it in his own way. He’ll be like, ‘Alright, where’s the fun at? I want to hear the fun, where’s the fun at,’ if I play him a bunch of serious tracks. You know, I can tell by his reaction. I actually threw out like three or four songs last time I was in Cali because they didn’t get the reaction from Dre. I know when he’s really into something.”
On touring behind “Revival:” “I don’t know, possibly. Who knows. It is possible though. It’s something that’s being thought about. It’s not a ‘no’ right now, let’s just say that.”
On the role Denaun Porter played in the making of “Revival”: “This is the most that me and Mr. Porter have collaborated on an album since ‘Infinite.’ He came in and he rounded up the troops. He got Emile (Haynie) and Mark Batson coming together and putting ideas together, as far as what beats to make, and I would take them in the next room and just start writing. Mr. Porter came at a time that I really needed to be fired up. I was making songs, but I don’t know if I was really serious about it.”
On his “Revival” collaborators: “The Alicia (Keys) thing was great because I got a chance to be in the studio with her, and we got a chance to actually collaborate, so that was super important. And I also feel like having somebody on a song like that, to me, just made it mean more. It just felt right to me. The Beyoncé thing was incredible, I didn’t think it ever could have happened. It was one of the things on my wish list, but I wasn’t sure if it could ever happen, and also I never really had the right song to bring her and present, so I’m super grateful that came together. The Ed Sheeran thing, one of the producers I work with, Emile (Haynie) did the beat, and he sent it to Ed, and they worked together in the studio and they came up with that hook, and I just heard what the hook was talking about and I wrote the song. And I’ve always looked at Pink as kind of a rebel, and I’ve told her that, I super respect her art and her music. And we’ve worked together in the past, so it only made sense for me to have her on that song. The rap features, actually, there’s a couple things I had in the works that ended up not working out, so I ended up not being able to have any rap features, aside from Phresher doing the hook on ‘Chloraseptic.’ ”
On “Revival” Easter eggs: “Listen at the end of ‘Castles.’ When I say, ‘consider them last 4 minutes as the song I’d have sang to my daughters if I would have made it to the hospital less than two hours later,’ when I say 4 minutes, look at the time on your CD. I don’t know if anybody’s ever going to pick up on that, but I just wanted to throw it out there.”