Hip-hop kings Eminem and Lil Wayne have always had a thing for the wild side, exemplifying the rock star lifestyle of sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll. So it comes as no surprise that the venerable men’s lifestyle magazine, GQ, recently included them on the cover of their November “Gods of Rock” issue. And like any other rock god, Em and Wayne’s pasts include life-threatening battles with drug addiction and for the “Survivors” feature of the issue, the two speak candidly about their struggles to overcome their past drug use.
Speaking about his past addiction to prescription pills (he reportedly took sixty to ninety pills a day, at one point), Em explained that his drug use was moderate throughout the early years of his career but begin to spiral out of control around the recording of his fourth album, Encore. Em then sent himself to a rehabilitation center and explains that being a celebrity in rehab was no walk in the park.
“Look every addict in rehab feels like everyone’s staring at them,” he said. “With me? Everyone was staring at me. I could never be comfortable. There were people there that treated me normal. Then there were a bunch of f—— idiots who aren’t even concentrating on their own sobriety because they’re so worried about mine. They’re stealing my hats, my books — it was chaos. Everything was drama in there. And at the time, I didn’t really want to get clean. Everybody else wanted me to. And anyone will tell you: If you’re not ready, nothing is going to change you. Love, nothing.”
After relapsing a couple of times, Em explains that he finally sobered up after realizing his addiction would kill him and says that he now understands the depth of his disease and his responsibility to remain sober.
“The thing sobriety has taught me the most,” he says, “is the way I’m wired — why my thought process is so different.” He’s talking about obsessiveness, the way he clings to routines: “I’ve realized that the way I am helps with the music. Sporadic thoughts will pop into my head and I’ll have to go write something down, and the next thing you know I’ve written a whole song in an hour. But sometimes it sucks, and I wish I was wired like a regular person and could go have a f—— drink. But that’s the biggest thing about addiction: When you realize that you cannot — for f—‘s sake, you can not — f— around with nothing ever again. I never understood when people would say it’s a disease. Like, ‘Stop it, d–khead. It’s not a disease!’ But I finally realized, f—, man — it really is.”
For Wayne, who’s been in and out of jail over the last few years, quitting marijuana and syrup wasn’t necessarily all by choice, but partially due to a requirement of his probation from a 2008 arrest in Arizona. Though the Young Money head honcho has previously claimed that he’s enjoying leading a sober life, he tells GQ that he does miss his old vices.
“I’m good,” he said. “I ain’t tripping. I’m used to it now. But I was never on heroin or cocaine or Ecstasy or nothing like that. I drank syrup and smoked a lot of weed. I wish I could be back on it. That’s how it fucking feels. ‘How does it feel to be sober?’ I’ll be like, ‘It feels f—— up.’ What do you want me to say? ‘It feels great’? No. I was on something that the doctor prescribed. I was ill, and that was helping me. I cannot wait until I get off probation, sweetheart. Not for syrup. No not for syrup. I stopped syrup May 9 of 2009. But nobody knew. Because I still rapped about it. Because I respect the culture of where it came from. I still rep that s—.”
The issue also features testimonies from other hip-hop heavyweights like The Dungeon Family, Erykah Badu and Raekwon. GQ’s “Gods of Rock” issue hits stores on Oct. 25. –nicholas robinson