Eminem Says “Hip-Hop Is In A Good Place,” Praises Kendrick Lamar, Lil Wayne, Drake & More

With the impending – and highly-anticipated – release of Southpaw, starring VIBE cover stars Jake Gyllenhaal and 50 Cent, the film’s soundtrack has also rounded up some talk, thanks to its executive producer, Eminem. In a new interview with The New York Times, Em discusses the theme behind the movie’s musical counterpart, as well his future in business, fatherhood, and whether or not he has begun working on his next solo album.

READ: Digital Cover: ‘Southpaw’ Fight Knights 50 Cent & Jake Gyllenhaal Get Raw

In chatting about crafting a soundtrack that “would remind you of the movie years down the road,” Eminem also gave his thoughts on today’s hip-hop scene. Naming his favorites as Kendrick Lamar and Lil’ Wayne, the “Rap God” also gave kudos to Big Sean, Drake and Schoolboy Q. Assuring that “hip-hop” is in a good place, Em also talked the staying power of Jay Z, as well as the business minds of 50 Cent, Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine. Check out a few excerpts from the interview below:

On 50 Cent’s business acumen:
With 50, I could always see that coming, even from the start. He was always so business-minded. He’s always been so in tune with what the next move is, where I may be — I hate to say it — but I tend to be more narrow-minded. Just so tunnel vision with the music.

On his favorite rappers right now and current state of hip-hop:
I try to stay up on everything that’s out. I love [Lil] Wayne, Drake, Big Sean, Schoolboy Q. I love Kendrick [Lamar]. I just try to pay attention to what’s out. Wayne puts out a new song, and my ears perk up. There are certain artists that make me do that just because of the caliber that they rhyme at — it’s like candy to me. Kendrick, the way he puts albums together — front to back, they’re like pieces of art. But hip-hop needs Drake, too. Hip-hop needs Big Sean. I feel like hip-hop is in a good place right now. There’s this balance of things going on, and it feels like some of the best rappers are the most successful. Sometimes that’s not the case. Kanye, as well — I forgot to mention Kanye.

READ: Eminem To Afeni Shakur: “You Are A True Queen, And I Mean That In Every Sense Of The Word”

On rap’s “good ol’ days” and Jay Z:
For sure, I don’t want to be that guy. You take the good with the bad. It’s one of the things I really respect about Jay [Z]. In my opinion, he’s never had a lull in his career. It’s always just been so consistent; he’s so in tune with what is current and what’s cool to do.

On whether or not he’s working on a new album:
Not as of yet. But I’m just trying to figure out what to do next musically. There’ll be a certain page that I get on, and I’m like, “O.K., I’ve done it this way.” Sometimes I think that if I get comfortable or set in my ways of doing something, maybe I should step back for a minute and figure out how to mix it up a little bit.

Read the full New York Times interview here.