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Eminem Tells Elton John: ‘I Realized People Probably Have Gotten Accustomed To Me Taking Risks’

The rapper takes time out to chat with the pop legend and long-time friend about ‘Kamikaze,’ taking on U.S. President Donald Trump and longevity on ‘Elton’s Rocket Hour’

Rolling Stone India
Rolling Stone India Oct 13, 2018

Eminem chats with Elton John on the latter's Beats 1 show 'Elton's Rocket Hour' hosted on Apple Music. Photo: Craig McDean (Eminem); U.S. Embassy photographer/Public domain/Wikimedia (Elton John)

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One of music’s most defining moments on TV remains Eminem inviting Elton John on stage at the 2001 Grammy Awards, in a move that showed the rapper wasn’t homophobic, despite his lyrics. 17 years later, Eminem came under fire once again for his use of a homophobic slur on his song “Fall,” off the recently released Kamikaze.

In the latest episode of Elton’s Rocket Hour (which will air on Saturday, October 13th at 9am (Pacific Time) on Beats 1 hosted by Apple Music), the piano popstar talks to Eminem about the success and attention received by Kamikaze, the rapper’s statement that he will no longer use homophobic slurs in his songs and taking on Donald Trump at the BET awards last year. Check out the full transcript of the interview below.

Eminem: Hello.

Elton John: How are you gorgeous thing, how are you?

Eminem: I’m great. How are you doin’?

Elton John: I’m good. Thank you for doing this, I’m so appreciative. We’re doing a big Detroit special, and we couldn’t do a Detroit special without you having taken part in the Detroit special. Being as that you’re the biggest thing to come out of Detroit in recent years. How are you doing?

Eminem: I’m good, I’m good. I just kind of got up, but yeah.

Elton John: You have a late night in the studio or what?

Eminem: Yeah.

Elton John: You’re always in your studio. You’re just relentless. First of all, congratulations on Kamakaze, which I really love. For me it’s just the grittiest thing you’ve done for a while. Just, you know, being a big fan of your gritty stuff, I am very happy. Obviously the proof of the pudding is that it’s doing so bloody well.

Eminem: Thank you. Yeah. Thanks I appreciate that. Especially, you know, coming from you.

Elton John: I’ve known you now since we did the Grammys together, and I remember coming down to the valley in L.A. to rehearse with you. Obviously we did “Stan” together. And when I saw you rehearsing, I got chills up my spine. I hadn’t seen anybody do that kind of thing to me since Mick Jagger in the early days. Not only are you a great studio artist but you also go out on one of the few rap/hip-hop people that go out and actually do shows. You are the first person really to go out there and really conquer the big arenas, big stadiums. So, you’ve been doing it since 1999 now. How does that feel?

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Eminem: How does it feel? I’m certainly…listen I’m blessed. I think that we both are in a sense of being able to have longevity you know.

Elton John: Yeah.

Eminem: And it doesn’t come from…like it only comes with hard work and…

Elton John: Hard work and passion too.

Eminem: Yeah.

Elton John: If you lose your passion you’re dead you know.

Eminem: Right.

Elton John: And you did the Trump video which was amazing for the BET (Black Entertainment Television Awards 2017) video, when Revival was coming out. It was so powerful, and you’re one of the few people to actually get up and say something. I really admire you for doing that.

Eminem: Thank you. Yeah, that was one of those things I just felt like…

Elton John: It was pretty on the spur of the moment. I know I spoke to you about it, because we called each other from time to time and we have a good ole chat. I know it was kind of on the spur of the moment, and you did the video on the spur of the moment. Sometimes those things work out the best. Can you tell me a little about it?

Eminem: Well yeah the original plan was that I was supposed to go to the actual BET Awards, and perform it there live. That was the original plan, so I had wrote a different kind of thing for that, and it kind of got switched at the last minute. Because the question was brought up about…I guess the BET Awards are pre-taped. I don’t know if they are pre-taped every time, but this particular time they were pre-taped, and they were worried about people in the audience with their cell phones. Then whatever I say gets out there in the wrong context or just pieces of it you know. So it kind of got switch at the last minute for them to come to Detroit. So I had to switch some things around.

Elton John: And you ended up in a car park, and a great video. So it all worked out for the best.

Eminem: Yeah we were actually…it was basically a homage to Public Enemy’s cover of “You’re Gonna Get Yours,” like a 12-inch single back in the day. But yeah that was kind of what we were trying to play off of was that.

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Elton John: Well it really worked, and it’s brilliant. The new album is doing so well, and we’re going to be playing a track. We’re going to play “Lucky You.” You’re still as feisty as you ever were which I love. I do like a little bit of feistiness. I’m very happy that you said you don’t get to use the word f***** anymore because I think you don’t need…you’re bigger than that. I’m glad you said that and cleared that up and that’s great kudos to you for that. Well done. And you know you’ve had your little moments towards Machine Gun Kelly and you put out the diss track “Kill Shot,” which I love by the way. That’s doing great as well, so you couldn’t really be having a bigger moment than you have now. That comes after a relatively disappointing reaction to Revival, which you must have been really pissed off about right?

Eminem: It was one of those things that…stepping away from it now, I think I realized that what people probably have gotten accustomed to is me taking some risks, and I think that Revival was probably just too tame of an album or too…I guess tame.

Elton John: Yeah. So you went in the studio and did another album straight away and it really worked. That’s great, you have great knowledge of where you stand in the world. Sometimes a non-success can spur you to do bigger things. I found that as well so well done to you.

Eminem: Thank you.

Elton John: And listen, thank you for doing this. I know how busy you are and how you’re all over the place but you’re also all over the studio all the time. It’s great for you to talk to us especially as we’re doing the Detroit thing. It’s you and Aretha [Franklin] that we’re featuring from Detroit. I love you, I hope I see you and I hope I see you soon. Congratulations on everything love you so much and speak to you soon buddy.

Eminem: I love you too man. Take care. Good luck with everything right now.

Elton John: Thanks. Thank you for everything man. Thanks. OK. Bye.

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