Eminem’s New ‘XXL’ Interview Explains How His Drug Addiction Hurt The Trajectory Of His ‘Encore’ Album

Eminem is decades into his historic rap career and showing no signs of slowing down. With such a storied and prominent career, many details still remain unknown to most. The Detroit rapper, in celebration of XXL‘s 25th anniversary, penned a personal story recounting all he has been through and how drug addiction spanning over multiple years affected his 2004 album Encore.

“My drug usage started at the beginning of that first album,” Eminem said, in reference to 1999’s The Slim Shady LP. “I didn’t take anything hard until I got famous. I was experimenting. I hadn’t found a drug of choice. Back then you went on tour and people were just giving you free drugs. I managed it for a little while. And then, it just became, I like this shit too much and I don’t know how to stop.”

He continued: “Encore took a whole f*ckin’ different trajectory because Encore was during my addiction. I was realizing I’m getting addicted to these f*ckin’ pills. I was just coming off The Eminem Show and the 8 Mile soundtrack and I started recording and had about seven or eight songs that were very much in the vein of what I do. But we ended up putting them out as a f*ckin’ bonus disc because the songs leaked. If those hadn’t leaked, Encore would’ve been a much different album.”

The rapper explained how “We As Americans,” “Love You More,” “Bully,” and “Evil Deeds” all leaked, with “We As Americans” originally intended to be the album’s opening song. “If that would’ve been on Encore and the other couple songs that leaked,” he wrote, “to me it would’ve been right there with The Eminem Show as far as its caliber.”

In having to start the recording process all over again, Eminem’s addiction grew and he was soon in a “goofy mood.” Said mood caused a change in the music he was making. “So now, I go make ‘Ass Like That,’ ‘Big Weenie,’ ‘Rain Man,’ all those silly songs, which I’m writing in f*ckin’ seconds at that point in time,” he wrote. “I was just writing high and feeling good about what I’m doing because I got f*ckin’ 20 Vicodin in me and this is fun to do, and I’m having fun, so f*ck it.”

Eminem had a hard time coming to grips with the fact he didn’t do his best after the album was released. Worst of all, for him, was the critical reception. “I released what I had at that point in time, and I feel that put a kind of a mark on my catalog,” he said. “Encore did some decent numbers, but I was never that concerned with numbers. I was more so worried about what people think about the album. Critics and fans were important to me, and they were always at me about that project.”

Check out Eminem’s full story on XXL here.