Eminem's platinum hair used to be the rapper's trademark: Who could forget the image of dozens of Eminems parading outside New York's famed Radio City Music Hall as part of the rapper's performance of "The Real Slim Shady" at the 2000 MTV Video Music Awards? But after a near-fatal pill addiction brought the MC born Marshall Mathers to the brink, he ditched the dyed-blond 'do in favor of a more natural brunette look.
But now, Shady's back. And so is the hairdo that helped make him a star.See all of Slim Shady's looks: trace his career in photos
For his latest album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Eminem's longtime manager Paul Rosenberg floated the idea of a major cosmetic shift back to his old look. As Eminem reveals in interviews for his new Rolling Stone cover story, he admitted he was toying with the idea. "I was like, 'I'm so used to it being dark,' you know. So I just tried it," he says.
So what did it feel like looking into the mirror and seeing that blond hair again for the first time in six years?
"Like I relapsed on drugs," he says. "It was a little creepy." Admitting that the last time he was blond was an extremely difficult moment in his life, he adds, "I think getting sober and putting my hair back to its regular color was me washing my hands of it. Dyeing it back probably would have been bad for me a year or two after that. But I'm more comfortable in sobriety now."Part Deux: check out 7 unnecessary album sequels inspired by Eminem's new LP
Eminem also reveals his problem with sleeping pills began as his career started to skyrocket. "I started to get the sleep problem in the first place when I was feeling the pressures of having to be places at a certain time to perform — and be on par with every single thing that I did, because everyone is watching," he says. "Had I not went to pills I know I would have become a full-blown alcoholic."
Mathers almost died after a methadone overdose in 2007. "I know I probably shaved a few years off my life," he admits. "I was definitely lucky. I think my OCD is getting worse, though."See 11 revealing moments from Eminem's early days
Eminem's "self-diagnosed" OCD is what he believes keeps him in the studio tweaking every tiny aspect of every song he records. And it's kept him fanatical about his workout routines, too. "I started noticing [stuff] about myself," he tells us. "Like, if I ran on the treadmill, if I had it in my mind that I needed to burn 500 calories, I hit that exact number."
But the drive to make The Marshall Mathers LP 2 sound a very specific way came from gazing outwards, rather than inwards — and album's aesthetic is strongly rooted in hip-hop's past, which Eminem has credited as giving his life a purpose.
"Hip-hop saved my life, man," he says. "It's the only thing I've ever been even decent at. I don't know how to do anything else. I think they have a word for that — what do they call it? Idiot savant?Related Stories:
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- Arts & Entertainment
- The Real Slim Shady
- Marshall Mathers LP
- Radio City Music Hall