By Simon Vozick-Levinson
Updated August 03, 2020 at 03:08 PM EDT

There’s a reason why Eminem named his comeback album Relapse and used a heaping pile of prescription pills for cover art. It’s well known, of course, that he’s faced substance abuse problems over the years — he went into rehab for sleeping pills back in 2005. Still, I’ve never seen Em open up about that struggle quite the way that he does in the first-person cover story he penned for the June/July issue of Vibe magazine, on stands May 19. According to excerpts of the story that Vibe has released, Em relapsed with methadone pills after that first rehab stint, leading to a near-fatal overdose: “Had I known it was methadone, I probably wouldn’t have taken it. But as bad as I was back then, I can’t even say 100 percent for sure. My doctor told me the amount of methadone I’d taken was equivalent to shooting up four bags of heroin. Even when they told me I almost died, it didn’t click.” Em later relapsed a second time after a knee injury, “ransacking” his home in search of a leftover Vicodin or Valium stash. “It never once hit me that drug addiction runs in my family,” the rapper writes. “Now that I understand that I’m an addict, I definitely have compassion for my mother. I get it.”

When he began working on Relapse, Em says, he “hadn’t recorded a song sober in seven years. So it took me a while to even feel like I could record a song sober.” Sounds like he’s finally in a much more positive place now, though: “I almost feel like a little kid again with rap. I wanna play around with different flows,” he writes. “Rap was my drug. It used to get me high and then it stopped getting me high. Then I had to resort to other things to make me feel that…Now rap’s getting me high again.”

Powerful stuff. I’m looking forward to reading the full story when Vibe hits newsstands. How about you? What do you think about these revelations? Do they make you more or less interested in hearing Eminem’s drug-free music?

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