Eminem talks new music, Dre, 50 Cent, more

Eminem, in a rare new interview, had a lot to say to the New York Times and most interestingly to me talked about his mindset when it comes to a solo album. I hope he explores new sounds if he goes that route. Here’s a wide amount of tidbits below and the full read here.

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Has being a father to teenagers changed how you think about your music?
“Not really. I think as you get older, you start — I don’t know how to answer that. I don’t really change. I guess I get more mature, but I don’t feel like I’ve changed much. I’m still a dad. You just go with the flow. But work is still work, and when I’m working, I’m focused on that.”

Do you show your kids your music?
“I’ve been trying to not focus as much on them, because I’ve done that and I don’t want to hinder their lives. I feel like the more that I talk about that, the harder their lives are.”

What’s your relationship like with 50 Cent these days? He’s on the soundtrack and in the movie.
“Same as it’s always been, pretty much. I love Fif’, man.”

Does Dre come to you about business, like with Beats?
“We always still do that. But I never thought the headphone thing — it came out of nowhere. I remember we were in Hawaii, and we were recording songs for “Detox” and for “Recovery.” Jimmy [Iovine] wanted us to do a photo shoot with the headphones on. Of course I’m gonna do it — it’s Jimmy and it’s Dre. But I’m thinking: “All right, can we get to the music? I just want to get back and record.” I remember thinking like: “How big is this thing going to be? It’s headphones.” But man, I should’ve known just based on Dre’s name alone. And Jimmy’s like the Great Gazoo, from “The Flintstones.” Somehow he has the foresight to always know what’s up. Sometimes I just don’t know what’s up. It blew my mind.”

Are you plugged in with current rap music?
“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.”

Do you feel competitive with the Kanyes and Drakes and Kendricks of the world? You seem a little removed from that.
“Kanye, as well — I forgot to mention Kanye. I’ll always be lyrically competitive.”

Where do you hear new stuff?
“Other people tell me about it and pull it up for me. I wait for other people to show it to me. I don’t particularly go on the Internet, because the experiences that I’ve had are not good. It’s not productive for me.”

You don’t want to Google your own name?
“Once I’m on the computer, it’s over, because I’m tempted to look at everything. I went on the computer recently and got on one site, read five comments and was like, “Man.” I have friends that do it — rapper friends. I’m like, “I don’t know how you do that.” Because you end up wanting to fight someone, kill them, or kill yourself — usually all three at once.”

Do you think Twitter and Instagram have affected rap?
“I know there are a lot of Twitter beefs. People used to just make songs. But it is what it is. The world’s forever changing, and you’ve just gotta adapt and evolve.”

What is your day-to-day life like in between albums?
“A lot of work. I’m usually in the studio five to six days a week, trying to think of my next move. Every now and then, I’ll reassess where I’m at in my career. I’m usually trying to think of what I’m going to do next.”

Are you working on a solo 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.”

Do you feel like you’re still topping yourself?
“I feel like I’m still trying to. And sometimes I don’t know if that’s always a good thing. I don’t want to make it so that by the time I’m done with a song, you didn’t even understand what just happened. That’s what I try not to do. I’m my own worst nightmare in that sense.”

Because you’re so technically proficient that you can take it to a place where faster and more complicated isn’t always better?
“Yeah, that’s what I mean. Sometimes that’s cool, if the song calls for it. But if I end up starting to record for another album, I want to make sure I approach it the right way.”

Kanye West covers NY Times Style

Above: The NYT Style cover, cropped (below for full version)

Kanye West x Jon Caramanica is definitely a thing after the latter landed Kanye’s first interview in the pre-Yeezus run in 2013.

Here’s another instant classic, primarily centered around fashion and style as Kanye covers, naturally, the NY Times Style edition. Here’s a little blurb (and a BTS video + more photos) to reel you into the full piece here. Carve out some time for this lengthy read.

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Kanye West was born in 1977, and raised primarily in Chicago. His father was a onetime Black Panther turned photojournalist; his mother was a college professor. He grew up with creative pursuits and social politics always on the agenda.

He draws a direct line between the sense of justice he was raised with and his quest to do away with elitism in fashion. “I’m not a celebrity, I’m an activist,” he says. “The fact that when I see truth it’s really hard for me to sit back and just allow it to happen in front of me on my clock makes me, a lot of times, a bad celebrity.”

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Kobe Bryant Arianna Huffington Q&A

This article was too great not to give some shine here. The New York Times brought together Kobe Bryant and Arianna Huffington for lunch and transcribed the resulting Q&A. They may seem like the unlikely pair to dine together until you realize that they’re uniquely similar in their rise to the top of their respective fields. Kobe has said in past interviews that he’s cold called or cold e-mailed powerful figures including Huffington so this didn’t totally throw me aloof.

What did though was when Kobe drew inspiration from a cheetah for his fadeaway… and it really makes sense. Enjoy a few of my favorite snippets from the interview, including the pleasing stress and added awareness to the power of meditation. Easily worth the full read too (and it’s not that long either…)

KB: Phil Jackson introduced me to it [meditation]. When I was 18, Michael Jackson tried to get me to meditate. He could sit in meditation for seven hours. But I couldn’t sit still for 20 minutes.

NYT: Michael Jackson?

KB: Yeah. “Thriller” Michael Jackson.

AH: If you don’t internalize failure in a way that paralyzes you, it is very empowering. You say: “Hey, I failed. But I’m here, and I’m healthy, and my children love me and I have great friends. Life is ahead of me.” Suddenly, you’re willing to take even bigger risks.

KB: Exactly. I’ll give you an example. When you watch me shoot my fadeaway jumper, you’ll notice my leg is always extended. I had problems making that shot in the past. It’s tough. So one day I’m watching the Discovery Channel and see a cheetah hunting. When the cheetah runs, its tail always gives it balance, even if it’s cutting a sharp angle. And that’s when I was like: My leg could be the tail, right?

AH: That’s amazing.

BONUS: Because this was also too great not to post. Kobe answers the question: Iggy Azalea or Swaggy P?

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Andre 3000 Interview Highlights

An Andre 3000 Interview is rare. Simply put. But it was the New York Times’ Jon Caramanica, the same journalist who had one of Yeezy’s most revealing interviews last year, who sat down with 3 Stacks for an extensive piece touching on his upcoming lead role as Jimi Hendrix, a possible solo album, and his unique creative approach.

Below are some snippets with the full read here.

But over the last five years, you’ve recorded maybe three or four guest appearances a year, and those verses are always really strong.
I struggle with the verses. I don’t sit around and write raps, I just don’t. Now the only time I’m really inspired to write raps is if an artist that I enjoy invites me to their party. So if Future calls and says, “Hey man, I want you to do this,” I don’t want to let Future down. I don’t want to let Lil Wayne or Drake down, because I love them.

So no plans to put out an album, but we might get a gallery show?
No, I’d love to put out an album.

Sung or rapped?
It’s hard to say. [Laughs.] I’m just going to call it honest. I know this may sound morbid, but I was like, if I were to die today, I have all these half-songs on my hard drive, and I don’t want that.

On his Coachella performance and advice from Prince:

Yeah, I think people could see it at Coachella, the very first show. It was foreign. My head wasn’t there. I kind of fluffed through rehearsals. A few hours before the Coachella show, I get a message that Prince and Paul McCartney are going to be there. My spirit is not right, and idols are standing side-stage, so as the show started, I’m bummed. This is horrible. In my mind I was already gone to my hotel room halfway through. So Prince called a couple days after. It was my first time actually talking to Prince. He said: “When you come back, people want to be wowed. And what’s the best way to wow people? Just give them the hits.”

I’m explaining to him that I really didn’t want to do it. He said: “I’ve been there. I’ve tried to do other things. After you give them the hits, then you can do whatever.”

He broke it down like this: “You’re a grown man. You’re either going to do it or you’re not.’

On his creative process:

My thing is I’m an idealist. What I get off on is doing things people said could not be done. And so if I’m at a place where I feel like I’m regurgitating or doing the same thing, it’s doing nothing for me. I get bored really fast. I saw a certain thing in rap. It started becoming acceptable. It wasn’t rebellious. So what could be more rebellious than singing love songs, emotional songs [on his half of “Speakerboxxx/The Love Below”] when everybody else is mean-mugging, saying “I’m a player.” I want to say: “I love these bitches, man. I really do.”

I write ideas, I write thoughts. Melodies come more for me than raps. I sit in my house and just play. I’ve been drawing and painting a lot more. I’ve always drawn costumes, things I was going to wear onstage.