Eminem is a new person who is very honest about his past drug use, chiefly Ambien. The MC says the sleeping pill, along with Valium and Vicodin, created a cocktail that removed parts of his career from his memory.
"I don't know if it sounds like I'm making excuses, but the absolute truth is a lot of my memory is gone," Eminem told Rolling Stone. "I don't know if you've ever taken Ambien, but it's kind of a memory-eraser. That shit wiped out five years of my life. People will tell me stories, and it's like, 'I did that?' I saw myself doing this thing on BET recently, and I was like, 'When was that?' "
Now the man born Marshall Mathers can reflect on his career highlights since becoming clean, he's even celebrated two and a half years of sobriety recently.
"The shows with Jay-Z," Eminem says when asked what he's enjoyed most. "Just being onstage in front of that many people, being able to command the crowd but not having to fall back on old crutches like drugs and drinking. You do get nervous – anybody who says they don't is lying. But hitting that stage now, I want to feel those nerves. To look out and actually see girls crying and shit, it's overwhelming. But not like it used to be, where I felt like I needed to [mimes drinking from a bottle]."
The Detroit native says that in 2004, his creative energy began to change.
"Around the tail end of Encore, the songs started getting really goofy … – that's when the wheels were coming off," Eminem admitted. "When I went to Hawaii with Dre for [what became Recovery], there was a turning point lyrically. I was sitting in the car listening to these older songs of mine, trying to figure out, 'Why doesn't the new stuff hit me like it used to?' That's when I started to get away from the funny shit and do songs that had some emotion and aggression to them again."
Now Eminem is in the studio with his mentor Dr. Dre polishing the long-awaited Detox.
"It's really close – I want to say we're halfway done," he says. "I'm lending an ear, helping him write, laying hooks – whatever I can do. As for my stuff, I'm just doing guest verses for other people's records. I try to stay recording, because if I don't, I get rusty."