Eminem says he was taking ’75-80 Valiums a night’ during his worst moments — “I don’t know how the fuck I’m still here.”
In an interview as part of XXL’s 25th-anniversary celebration, Eminem shared insight on what he’s learned throughout his career. The rapper and lyricist revealed his struggles with addiction during some of his early days of fame.
“I remember saying, ‘If I could just get with Dre, man, my God, that’d be so crazy. He’s so fuckin’ ill,'” Eminem recalls. “Three weeks later, I was at Dre’s house. We made The Slim Shady LP. That was a fun album to make, but it’s also where everything suddenly changed.”
“Drugs became a part of the way I was living my life once I got signed. When I first came out to LA, me and some guys I was hanging out with used to go to Tijuana and we would buy drugs. Vicodin and that kinda shit,” he continues. “My drug usage started at the beginning of that first album. I didn’t take anything hard until I got famous.”
He explains that after finishing The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show, going into his work on Encore, Eminem’s addiction was something he knew in the back of his mind had become unmanageable.
“I remember things started getting really, really bad when me, 50, and G-Unit did BET’s 106 & Park. We performed ‘You Don’t Know’ on the show, and then we did an interview afterward. That’s when the wheels started coming off,” he says. “One of the hosts was talking to me, and I could not understand a word she was saying. 50 had to cover for me and answer every question.”
“Encore took a whole different trajectory,” he elaborates. “I was realizing I’m getting addicted to these fuckin’ pills. I was just coming off The Eminem Show and the 8 Mile soundtrack and had about seven or eight songs that were very much in the vein of what I do. If those hadn’t leaked, Encore would’ve been a much different album.”
His addiction hit its peak after the death of rapper Proof in 2006. Eminem recalls laying in bed for days, unable to move due to a combination of depression and pill usage. He says he had ten different drug dealers to keep up with the amount he used.
“Seventy-five to 80 Valiums a night, which is a lot,” notes Eminem. “I don’t know how the fuck I’m still here. I was numbing myself.”
Aside from discussing his addiction, Eminem asserts that the greatest (and perhaps strangest) thing to happen to him over the past 25 years is getting to meet his heroes.
“It took me a long time to get over meeting Dre,” he says. “And then getting to meet people like Treach, Redman, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Masta Ace, Rakim. I wouldn’t be here without all of them.”