VIBE Unveils 2nd Annual Real Rap Issue with Eminem In-Depth Cover Story

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(May 4, 2009 – New York City) VIBE magazine, the definitive voice of urban culture, will feature multi-platinum, Grammy Award-winning hip hop icon Eminem on the cover of its highly anticipated 2nd annual Real Rap Issue (June/July 2009). Featuring gritty, realistic photos taken by famed photographer Terry Richardson that capture the raw essence of the controversial star, Eminem comes clean-in his own words-about his struggles with depression, drug addiction and how he found the strength to come back after a five-year hiatus.

In “Can I Kick It?” Eminem opens up to VIBE readers, sharing honest, shocking and insightful details about mourning the death of his best friend, Proof, his near fatal drug overdose and numerous attempts to detox. In the tragic, yet hopeful, first-person story, Eminem addresses the rumors swirling around him writing, “It’s no secret I had a drug problem. If I was to give you a number of Vicodin I would actually take in a day? Anywhere between 10 to 20. Valium, Ambien, the numbers got so high I don’t even know what I was taking.”

After his first stint in rehab, Eminem relapsed and nearly died from an overdose after ingesting unidentified blue pills an acquaintance had given him. “My doctor told me those mysterious new pills were methadone, which is used to wean heroin addicts off dope. 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.” After detoxing, Eminem suffered a knee injury that required surgery, but because of his recent drug abuse, he was not prescribed painkillers. He recalls, “I started looking around my house to see if I had a stash box of Vicodin…I’m ransacking my house, finally find something in the basement, in a little napkin, seven and a half Vicodin-the big extra strength ones-and a few Valium.” The rapper soon relapsed for the second time and finally admitted to himself he was an addict. “It never once hit me that drug addiction runs in my family. Now that I understand that I’m an addict, I definitely have compassion for my mother. I get it.”

With a year of sobriety under his belt and a new appreciation for his craft, Eminem feels more productive than ever. When speaking on his new album Relapse (Aftermath/Interscope), Eminem says, “I wanted to make an overall statement-I’m back. It was a slow process. You gotta remember I hadn’t recorded a song sober in seven years. So it took me awhile to even feel like I could record a song sober…I don’t know the last time I shot a video sober, without drinking or taking anything. It’s been years.” He continues, “I almost feel like a little kid again with rap. I wanna play around with different flows. If I don’t feel like it’s what I’m fully capable of, if there’s one weak line, I wanna change it. 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.”

VIBE Senior Editor Benjamin Meadows-Ingram caught up with last year’s highly successful Real Rap Issue cover star, Young Jeezy, to discuss life since the triumphant release of his critically acclaimed album The Recession (CTE/Def Jam, 2008) and what’s next. In the interview, Jeezy shares his thoughts about the album not receiving a Grammy nomination, saying, “To be honest, I think [The Recording Academy] don’t know [about the album]. In situations like that, they always find out last. I don’t think it was a matter of me being overlooked, they just don’t know.” On his predicting the current economic recession, he responds, “I told y’all, you can call me a prophet whenever y’all ready. Ten years from now, you put The Recession in, it’s gonna bring you a feeling like you was part of what was going on at that time.”

In “Drake’s Great Expectations,” VIBE speaks with one of the most buzzed about new artists, Toronto rapper Drake, about working with some of hip hop’s biggest superstars, including Kanye West and Lil Wayne. In it, Drake reveals, “I’m excited to work with Kanye and Pharrell and Ryan Leslie. I’m excited to work with Andre 3000… [But] one thing I can say I’m extremely proud of is my ear for knowing when I sound right and wrong. I don’t need an artist who’s sold millions of records to tell me, ‘Drake, that’s not the right look.'” On releasing his first major-label album, Thank Me Later, he says, “I’m a real rookie to this whole retail music game. I’ve been giving away my music for so long, I feel guilty.” He also says, “I know the product I’m delivering is gonna be something timeless. So I just say for this project, you can thank me later, because I know you’ll understand it eventually.”

With an entire issue dedicated to rap, VIBE ranks the Top 50 Rap Blogs; predicts who may be the next superstar in “The Next King of the South”; uncovers the epidemic of album leaks in the rap industry in “How Free Music Spreads-and Why”; introduces Lil Wayne’s arsenal of emerging artists from his label Young Money Entertainment; presents Styles P and Joell Ortiz discussing how they maintain careers as rappers without flashy lifestyles in “Rappers Go Blue Collar”; and includes profiles on rappers Kid Cudi, Clipse, Asher Roth, Juvenile, and much more.

VIBE magazine’s highly anticipated 2nd annual Real Rap Issue will be available on newsstands nationwide on May 19, 2009. For more information, visit VIBE.com.

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