Eminem finds five words that rhyme with 'orange' on '60 Minutes'
As hard-hitting as its investigative reports can often be, “60 Minutes” hasn’t exactly been cutting edge in the pop music department. Pop watchers may remember, for instance, how earlier this year Andy Rooney went off on a “never heard of 'em” tirade after reading the Billboard 200. “The singers I know have been replaced by Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and Usher. I mean, who?!” Rooney sputtered.
But the news magazine delivered a revealing interview with Eminem on Sunday night that even longtime fans and Eminem completists may find illuminating.
Accompanied by “60 Minutes” correspondent Anderson Cooper, the reclusive rhyme-spitter returned to the rough and tumble Detroit neighborhood where he grew up for a literal trip down memory lane -- one that included recalling a drug overdose in a bathroom at his home that nearly killed him. Also in the segment, Eminem provided new details about his creative process and addressed issues of race and other controversies that have dogged him throughout his career.
The MC repeated ninth grade three times before quitting school entirely, but acknowledged an abiding love of words that compelled him to read and re-read the dictionary, which paid off in his rhyme-writing process.
“People say that the word orange doesn't rhyme with anything ... I can think of a lot of things that rhyme with orange," said Eminem, seated behind a mixing board at his private recording studio, before effortlessly conjuring an on the spot rap about putting an “orange, four-inch, door hinge in storage" and having "porridge with Geo-rge.”
He revealed a trove of old rhymes and ideas for songs jotted down on loose leaf sheets of paper over the years -– Eminem called it “stacking ammo” -- and admitted that wordsmithing has become an abiding preoccupation: “I actually drive myself insane with it.”
On being a white man fighting for primacy in a musical genre dominated by African Americans, the MC said: “There was certainly a rebellious youthful rage ... in me ... and the no-getting-away-from fact that I am white and this is predominantly black music and people [are] telling me, 'You don't belong and you're not gonna succeed because you're this color.’ Then you want to show those people that you can and you will."
Race came up again when Eminem was asked by Cooper whether his lyrics promoted violence against women and gays. The rapper denied the accusations, citing the pervasiveness of such lyrics in hip-hop and said he thinks he was singled out for criticism because he is white. “I didn’t just invent saying offensive things,” Eminem said.
Asked point blank, “Do you not like gay people?” The "Not Afraid" rapper responded with uncharacteristic sheepishness: “I don’t have any problem with nobody. I’m just, like, whatever.”
In the “do as I say, not as I do” category, another delicious reveal from the segment is that Slim Shady is a protective parent who maintains a no cursing rule at home.
"I'm a parent; I have daughters," Eminem explained. "I mean, how would I really sound as a person? ... Profanity around my house -- no."
-- Chris Lee
Photo: Eminem. Credit: Anthony Mandler