I always loved the alternative cover for Recovery, the one that had Eminem chilling in his living room inside of a glass house. Although the regular cover for the album—which had Em walking the road to recovery—was great and an apt choice for the cover, the alternative cover was more fitting of Eminem's life as one of the most famous artists in the world. It was kind of like what Em said on "Saying Goodbye To Hollywood," "The boy in the bubble, who never could adapt, I'm trapped." So on Monday, when I got the chance to sit in as Eminem spoke with Sway on Shade 45 for a Town Hall style interview to promote The Marshall Mathers LP 2, it was a surreal moment when I realized I was watching Em inside of an actual glass house.
The interview took place at the Sirius XM office (which is conveniently located right across the street from Complex's office) inside of a glass room where interviews and radio shows are regularly conducted. To the left of the room, there's a long wall that's filled top to bottom with signatures of celebrities who have stopped by the office, though someone mentioned to me it wasn't likely that Em would actually sign the wall this time around. Security was tight, as some very large, serious looking men kept coming over to remind me that there were to be absolutely no photos.
Would finally seeing Em in person ruin it for me? Did I really want the glass house shattered?
Inside the room sat Eminem, about a dozen of his fans who won the chance to sit in and ask a few pre-approved questions, Sway, and DJ Tony Touch on the 1s and 2s. Tony sported a red Shady LTD hoodie which was kind of amazing because I didn't even know they still made that anymore. But props to him for briefly spinning "Get Back," an underrated song Em once did for Tony. Sway casually mentioned that it was his sixth time interviewing Em. Everything about the event seemed like it was tailor made to make Em comfortable.
As a longtime Em fan, I was a bit worried. Would finally seeing Em in person ruin it for me? Did I really want the glass house shattered? As much as I love Em's music, I always got the impression he didn't really like interviews. It's like he gave so much of his life away in his music, he had nothing left to give away.
Lucky for me, during the interview Em was charming, fluid, and funny. When Sway asked him if he was up on social media, he joked, "I am on social media all day. In front of a computer, blogging constantly. Yo, does someone got my laptop?" When Sway played an old freestyle he once spit (his "Ya can't see me like Ma$e's eyebrows" line still got a laugh), he poked fun at this nasally '90s voice and even did an impression of himself. One of the fans was actually a high school teacher who claimed he used Em's lyrics to teach kids in his class, to which Em responded, "Well there’s your first mistake."
However, Em was still protective of his personal life, as evidenced by his refusal to answer questions about his mother or his daughter. But Sway, the consummate professional, expertly navigated his way through it. The highlight of the entire interview was seeing Em's impromptu recitation of Pharoahe Monch's verse from Organized Konfusion's "Bring It On." It was surreal but also a testament to Marshall's love for pure rapping.
It's too bad Em has to live in the glass house, something that's undoubtedly taken a toll on him. But at least when he does something like this, everyone goes out of their way to make him more comfortable and people like me are giddy to just be there. Before the interview, as me and a bunch of other journalists sat around waiting for Em, I overheard my friend and co-host of Sway In The Morning Tracy G. talking to someone about how they'd rather take a car service than the train. "Who wouldn't choose spoiled?" said Tracy. Watching Em, I thought the same.
You can peep highlights of the interview below.
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