He and I are talking a few days before the December 15 release of his new LP, , an album that saw its run-up dominated by chatter about how much anti-Trump content it would include.
And while it’s commonplace for musicians to criticize the president, it’s less common for artists of Eminem’s stature (i.e. “I’m not worried about whether people like what I say politically,” he says. As long as I have people’s ears, I have to say what I think is right.” I was only able to listen the new album once before talking to you, and I gotta say, hearing tracks like “Untouchable” and “Like Home,” where you’re rapping about systemic racism and politics–I know where you’re going. You want to know how I can rap about that stuff and also rap about fucking ridiculous shit.
What he’s doing putting people against each other is scary fucking shit. You know, there was even a time when I was mad at what was going on. I just feel mad that Trump’s sold people a dream that’s never coming true. And like I said, I most want people to take a second and think about what I’m saying.
There’s a lot of shit I say in jest / That is tough to swallow.” You know, there’s a book called ; it’s all fucked up shit; it makes me laugh — and that kind of stuff is where my brain goes. I can’t even watch the news anymore because it makes me too stressed out.
I’m not saying I’ve never gone too far, but people shouldn’t be looking to me for political correctness. They involve politics more than political correctness but there are tracks on where it sure seems like you’re asking people to take you seriously. People who know my music can tell when I’m joking around and when I’m being honest about a subject. All jokes aside, all punch lines aside, I’m trying to get a message out there about him.
I get almost flustered thinking about him — that’s how angry he makes me. I just want people to think about things: What has he really done for you in the year since he’s been in office? People said you were tapping into the same feelings that Trump is now tapping into, and speaking for the same —I was speaking for everybody: white, black, whatever nationality. So given your position, do you feel like you have any unique insights on Trumpism? Pretty much everyone I knew was like, “No, he can’t get elected” and I was watching those rallies going, “Yo, man, this shit is real.” But I don’t know if that has anything to do with any parallels between me and him.
The people that support him are the people he cares about the least and they don’t even realize it. Your music is popular in some of the same parts of the country where Trump’s support is strongest. The way you looked probably made a difference as to who was identifying with you most strongly. I took the fact I was poor white trash and I owned it.
At what point do you — a working-class citizen, someone who’s trying to make shit better for you and your family — think this guy who’s never known struggle his entire fucking life, who avoided the military because of bone spurs, who says he’s a billionaire, is really looking out for you? How do you hope the Trump presidency plays out in 2018? How do you reconcile your feelings about Trump with the likelihood that a lot of your fans like him too? So I could understand why people who grew up in similar situations would relate to what I was saying.
But I don’t know, man, the differences between me and him are bigger than any parallels. He’s made it acceptable for the white man to feel oppressed.
“I’m halfway to a world record,” he says proudly, his high scores flickering on the screen.
I notice a piece of plastic that’s been placed on top of the console. “I got mad at the game and punched the screen and broke it. ” Occasional gaming outbursts aside, Eminem has lately been saving most of his ire for President Trump.
Sometimes I’m trying to appease people who think, on songs anymore — we’re good now, and she’s the mother of my daughter.