Eminem on His Near-Fatal Overdose: 'It Took a Long Time for My Brain to Start Working Again'

Em addressed his addiction struggles during a conversation with Paul Rosenberg. "I thought you might have some permanent problems," his manager said.

Eminem performs onstage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center

Image via Getty/Dimitrios Kambouris

Eminem performs onstage at the 2022 MTV VMAs at Prudential Center

Eminem is shedding more light on his past struggles with substance abuse.

During a recent episode of Paul Rosenberg’s podcast, the Grammy-winning rapper opened up about his near-fatal overdose 15 years ago. Em previously revealed he had been battling an addiction to prescription pills, and was hospitalized in 2007 after accidentally ODing on methadone. 

“It took a long time for my brain to start working again,” Em said to his longtime manager.

“You literally were coming off of an overdose, and they had to sort of stabilize you with a few medications,” Rosenberg explained. “And some of them took you a minute to adjust to—let’s just leave it at that. So, you’re learning how to rap again almost literally, right? Because it’s the first time, probably, you were creating without having substances in your body in…however many years, right?”

Em then recalled Rosenberg expressing concern about the long-term effects of the overdose.

“Didn’t you ask the doctors when I first started rapping again, didn’t you say, ‘I just wanna make sure he doesn’t have brain damage’?” Shady asked.

“Yeah. I thought you might have some permanent problems,” Rosenberg responded. “Yeah. I was concerned, for sure.”

The interview comes more than a month after Em unleashed his greatest hits album, Curtain Call 2. The 35-track project included cuts from The Marshall Mathers LP2, Recovery, and Relapse, which was Em’s first full-length release after his overdose. The 49-year-old admitted Relapse wasn’t his best effort, as he was still struggling to regain his rapping skills.

Encore was mediocre, and with Relapse—it was the best I could do at that point in time,” he told Vulture in 2017. “[Relapse] was a funny album for me because I was just starting back rapping after coming out of addiction. I was so scatterbrained that the people around me thought that I might have given myself brain damage. I was in this weird fog for months. Like, literally I wasn’t making sense; it had been so long since I’d done vocals without a ton of Valium and Vicodin. I almost had to relearn how to rap.”

You can check out Part 1 of Eminem’s interview on Sirus XM’s Shade 45 at 9 p.m. ET Wednesday. The Paul Pod episode will also be available on the SXM App, Stitcher, and other major podcast platforms.

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