I can definitely hear you on that song if you ever decide to freestyle over it. You also spoke about how you value Eminem’s musical critique, and he’s releasing an album next year. Is that a reciprocal relationship where he also takes your feedback?
Well, he has Paul Rosenberg and his people around him to do their thing. Because a lot of times, I’m on tour when he’s finishing. We’re not on the same cycle. But I’ll hear it before the rest of the world hears it to see what’s my favorite. Even on Relapse, those weren’t my favorite songs. My favorite songs got shifted to Relapse 2. He recorded so much material that it took two albums. He never released the second because he didn’t like the response he got from Relapse, so he went back and created Recovery. So a lot of those songs are just an archive of materials just out there in Detroit.
Are there any archived Black Magic tracks on Street King?
None of those songs are on this album, but like what I said happened with Relapse 2, Black Magic is an archive of music. Music marks time, so if the time is off, the content may seem dated, and you may look back at it and go well, nah I wouldn’t put that out now. I would’ve done that at that time and it would’ve been cool, but not now.
This is your last required album for Interscope.
Yeah. I may end up working with them because with Interscope as a record company… If an artist has a long enough career, they’re going to have some points that they feel like the system that they’re with isn’t doing everything. But what I do know is that all of the success I’ve had to this point has been with Interscope. So I’m really comfortable working with them when everybody’s ready to work.
How’ve you seen the independent shift in hip-hop change?
The big change since I came is the ability to meet the audience before you meet the record company. See, imagine all of those mixtape songs on the first five mixtapes I ended up putting out before an album. If they had the video clip component to it and it were living online at the same time? It’s like when you see two people with a record like [Chief Keef’s] “I Don’t Like” in the neighborhood, and the impact, even though they’re just standing in this boy’s grandmother’s living room... There’s no production value to that video, it’s just them in their element. When that becomes cool enough for them to have 17 to 18 million views, it says that if you had the quality musical material or that thing that connected to the environment in that way, and you recorded it, it could work. It doesn’t necessarily say it would be a hugely successful project, because it still requires marketing dollars. It still requires the promotion to allow a huge audience to know that this exists. Or it’ll be one of this things that you feel like is a street classic. My mixtapes were street classics. Without the notoriety and the amount of sales on Get Rich or Die Trying, they wouldn’t know the significance of the project.
When’s the last time you listened to Get Rich or Die Tryin’? Do you pop it in sometimes?
I listened to it intentionally before the South By Southwest performance, because I had to remember everything, all the little details about the record.
That was the last time?
Yeah, it’s good. The record’s good.
It takes you back to that time period in which you were doing it. I’m like, what was I thinking when I wrote this record? And I can remember the place I was at when I wrote it all. The lyrics to “Many Men,” I actually wrote that shit in the tub. I was at the house, I had the music playing and I had a box. The box was sitting on the toilet and I was writing lyrics [laughs]. Because I had some songs, and it was one of those things that was organic. It was coming out of my experience at that point. It wasn’t something that I needed to have help make it up. It was just me writing down what I was feeling.
What’s the likelihood of a 50 Cent and Eminem joint album happening?
I’d do it in a heartbeat. We have enough material to release. We can make it better than that, though. We could make that record the way [Jay-Z and Kanye West] did Watch the Throne, but I don’t know if that’s something that Em wants to do. You’d have to ask him.