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Eminem is a Grammy-winning rapper with countless songs in his repertoire, covering seemingly everything from relationships to addiction. Now, over two decades into his career, Eminem himself feels like he’s run out of things to write songs about.

Eminem, whose writing process has changed a lot over the years, performing in a black leather jacket
Eminem | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Eminem has been writing music for over 2 decades

Eminem rose to prominence in the late ’90s and early ’00s with albums like The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP, and The Eminem Show. In the early days of his career, Eminem would often word-vomit his ideas onto the page before recording them — a workflow he reflected on in a 2022 interview with XXL.

“My writing process is different now than it was back in the day,” he said. “It used to be, ‘Give me whatever piece of paper is laying around and I’m going to write some ideas down.’ Sometimes I wish I could have that freedom back.”

“At the beginning of my career, I had this whole canvas that I could paint on. ‘I haven’t made a song about this, this, this. I can make a song about this,'” he continued. “The more you paint on that canvas, all of the sudden, you’ve made a song about every single thing you can f***in’ possibly think of. So, I start getting in my head.”

“If I had a choice between being the best rapper or making the best albums, I’d rather be the best rapper,” he added. “That’s how I rap, to be the best rapper. Obviously, all of that is subjective, and everybody’s got their favorite rappers, but in my head, I would rather do that than just make good songs.”

Eminem is inspired by younger rappers

Eminem has Grammy Awards, an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, and several No. 1 hits to his name, and reached a new achievement in 2022 when he performed at the Super Bowl halftime show. In many respects, Eminem can be considered an elder statesman of rap at this point. But that doesn’t mean he doesn’t find inspiration in younger rappers coming up today.

“I want to do things that nobody from this point on can ever top. Rap to a level that no one else could get to. And again, it’s subjective, and every rapper, especially rappers in competitive rap, wants to be the best rapper. So, I look for the younger generation to push me,” he said. “I don’t have to make albums. I don’t have to do anything at this point. It’s about wanting to, and that’s never changed for me no matter what level the fame’s gotten to.”


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Eminem’s writing process suffered because of his drug addiction

Eminem’s writing began to take a turn for the worse after his smash 2002 album The Eminem Show and movie 8 Mile that same year. Because of his worsening addiction to prescription drugs, his 2004 album Encore didn’t contain as much strong writing as his previous work.

Encore took a whole f***in’ different trajectory because Encore was during my addiction,” he said. “The problem was, in the recording process as I was getting more addicted to drugs, I was in more of a goofy mood. So now, I go make ‘A** Like That,’ ‘Big Weenie,’ ‘Rain Man,’ all those silly songs, which I’m writing in f***in’ seconds at that point in time. I was just writing high and feeling good about what I’m doing because I got f***in’ 20 Vicodin in me and this is fun to do, and I’m having fun, so f*** it.”