Eminem fears he's too mainstream -- Slim Shady worries that, with parents hailing him as a movie star, kids will think he's lost his edge

By Gary Susman
December 30, 2002 at 05:00 AM EST

Eminem had the year’s top-selling album, ”The Eminem Show,” and made a successful transition to movies with ”8 Mile,” pleasing audiences and critics alike. So what does he still have to complain about? ”It’s almost to the point where I truly believe I may be getting too big for my own good,” he told his hometown paper, the Detroit Free Press, in an interview published Saturday. ”And I never really asked for that.”

Part of his worry stems from the perception of many mainstream, middle-aged pop culture critics, including some who previously faulted him for his venomous lyrics, that he’s not so scary after all. ”That’s when it’s getting bad. That’s when it gets scary,” he said. ”When everyone loves you, who’s left to hate you? The kids want something they can hold onto that their parents hate. I know I did growing up. I didn’t want to listen to anything my parents listened to.”

Still, the 30-year-old rocker is becoming that kind of parent. According to the Free Press, he’s off drugs and on a high-protein health regimen, he’s gradually making the transition to the entrepreneurial side of the music business, and he’s even reconciled with ex-wife Kim. (Today’s temperature in hell: 40 below.) Looks like he’s maturing, whether he likes it or not.