What does Eminem have in store for his live UK dates this summer?
As his sold out Glasgow Summer Session approaches, we offer a profile of Marshall Mathers
'Got an Oscar but I’m still a grouch, I use it as a doorstop,' says Marshall Mathers on 'Symphony in H', the opening track on his as-yet-untitled upcoming eighth studio album, which has just been previewed online at time of writing. It’s a typical Eminem song, built around a weird, brain-gnawing beat with a rap that is clear, sharp and as confessional as ever. It’s also littered with drug references, which should come as no surprise from a guy who had a years-long painkiller addiction and who recently confessed in Matthew Cooke’s documentary How to Make Money Selling Drugs that he had a 2005 overdose during which ‘my organs were shutting down.’
It’s heavy content and exactly what we’d expect from Mathers, a man whose trials and neuroses are key to his appeal as an artist, as is his ability to craft a skilfully delivered 'up yours' response to the world at large by way of his lyrics. The question here, though, is whether the world really needs more words from Mathers, who smashed through to success by documenting his troubled upbringing, fractured first relationship and concerns for a young daughter being born into this lifestyle.
So how does a guy who’s sold more than a hundred million records, and whose biggest controversies now revolve around who’s going to sue him next, stay in touch with the fans? He certainly seems to have no trouble retaining their attention, with this huge Glasgow Summer Sessions date having sold out already, but the sneaking suspicion is that the follow-up to 2010’s Recovery will see him no longer a man who’s been shaped by his times, but rather one who has conquered them. Which may fill playing fields, but might not help ward off creative inertia. We wait to be astounded.