Eminem will drop a new album this year, but where has he been? In a new interview, the rapper explains why he has removed himself from the music scene and why no one knows anything about this new album he's recording - not even the record company.
It seems Eminem's world as he knew it - selling more than 50 million albums and much lauded as of the best rappers alive - fell apart the day his closet friend and hype man, DeShaun Dupree Holton, better known as Proof, was murdered. That day was April 11, 2006. Eminmen's world was shattered.
Proof's killing (he was shot three times in the head and chest during a bar brawl that has never been properly explained) affected Eminem deeply. "I have never felt so much pain in my life," he recalled in The Way I Am. "I've had death in my family before – two of my uncles committed suicide – and it took chunks out of my life... After he passed, it was a year before I could really do anything normal again. It was tough for me to even get out of bed, let alone write a rhyme... my brain was scattered."
Emimen effectively quit the rap game then retreated to his mansion, and wasn't seen publicly for almost two years. He "barely ventured out of doors."
So stories began swirling: His diet comprised only of junk food and had let himself go, weighing it at a round 240 lbs. Photos emerged of him being pushed in a wheelchair, plus his marriage to Kim fell apart again, and his estranged mother published a tell-all book.
"Proof's death bothered Em a lot, and he started to get a bit paranoid and worry that he might be next," said one associate, speaking on condition of anonymity. "It also made him realise his responsibilities. He didn't need any more money, and he hated being away from his daughter, so he decided that he wouldn't leave her alone to go touring any more."
Now Emimen has got his old body back; he's working out and taking boxing sessions with trainer Emanuel Steward. He's devoted to his children and working on his comeback album titled "Relapse".
According to sources, Eminen, while in recluse, has wrote more than 300 songs.
But when two of them leaked last year, Emimen was "heated" and is now working "in conditions of near-total secrecy."
"We've been told nothing about this record, and I mean nothing," says a source at Polydor, the multinational owner of Interscope. "It's top secret. In terms of timing, the plan is to release it between new records from 50 Cent and Dre, who are both also signed to Interscope. Whenever it comes out, it will be huge."
It's said to drop about the middle of March and will feature Elton John.
Whether I'm someone's favorite rapper or not, whether I'm thought of as one of the best, one of the most half-assed, whatever it is, I am one of the most personal. That's why people relate to me, because I show so much of myself. That's why random taxi drivers call me 'Marshall'. And the reason I put so much of myself out there in the first place is because I had no idea I was going to be so famous. I had no idea, no fucking clue. If I had to do it again, I don't know if I would. I'm glad, though, that my music has brought people together."