A few more excerpts from the XXL cover issue courtesy of Thisis50.
About Proof’s death …
When I say I went into a dark place, it feels like I literally crawled into a hole. There where days I’d sit around all day and take pills and try to numb myself. It was almost an excuse for me to take more pills, like I just lost Proof, so it’s ok for me to take a couple of pills. I was spiralling out of control with my thoughts, with the drugs, with everything. When I would go into the studio, I kept trying to write songs about him. I think I might have wrote and recorded at least 5 or 6 songs about him. None of them came out the way I wanted them to, and all of them made me depressed. All of them made me go deeper into that hole… Nothing I wrote was good enough for him. Everything was like, self loathing.
Did you ever take any personal responsibility for what happened to him?
Yeah, I went through that kind of thing as well. I felt like “Well maybe if I would have been with him at the club that night… He knows I was trying to get him to chill out and stop going to the club so much”.
How much did you react to all the conflicting information that came out immediately following the incident?
I got a bunch of conflicting stories, a bunch of conflicting things and none of them ever made sense to me. There were things that I”d heard that they were saying that Proof shot the dude first. It’s so not his character to do that. There were other stories that matched what I knew Proof would have did. I had to go through the process in my head of like, regardless of what happened, it happened. It’s not gonna bring him back. I don’t know if I’ve accepted it is the right word but I’m dealing with it. Life for me will never be the same.
With all the hype surrounding your comeback and with the terrible state of the record business, the hip hop business in particular, do you feel like you’re coming back to save your label, or hip hop as a genre, or even the music industry as a whole?
I don’t know if I feel like I’m coming back to save anything like that. I mean obviously,if I can you know save the label and help generate more money for that, that’s great too. But the truth is, i get bored just sitting around. I’m ready to be back out there. I love to be respected for the music that I make and that’s what I’m in it for.
The beautiful thing about this record is, I don’t expect it to do anything… Money is not necessarily something that I need anymore, so I’m doing it because I want to do it. I’m doing it because I want people to hear the music and like the music.. if people like it, cool. If they don’t they, don’t. I certainly would like the benefits of what would come with it. If it could help generate more money for the label then that’s good. But at the end of the day, it’s just about the music.
Pictures of you came out last year where it looked like you’d gained a lot of weight. You’re back looking real chiseled now. What happened?
I gained a bunch of weight in my time off. I got lazy. I was eating a lot, just because the pills make you feel hungry. Then just this past year, I got clean, I got sober, and I started running. I had a knee surgery last year but as soon as I could, I hit the treadmill. So I run every day. The last couple of weeks, I’ve been up to 10 miles a day. I’ve been trying to really push myself. Just to see how much I could actually run, but I don’t know what the f**k I’m doing. At the end of the day, I’m an addict. So I have addictive behavior. So I’m obsessive compulsive about a lot of things. I’m obsessive compulsive about my music. I’m obsessive compulsive about working out. I can’t do nothing in moderation. You’d think that the the signs like all the addiction runs in my family, I would have been a little more hip to that. But I just… I guess I wasn’t.
When did you know that it was time for you to go to rehab?
There were a bunch of moments where I felt like, I want to do it, I want to do it. Ah, maybe now is not the time. Maybe I’ll just do this for a little longer. I started realizing like I took a break from the spotlight and I felt like I wanted to be with my family and spend more time with my kids and stuff like that. But the whole time, I’m walking around the house high most of the time. So I’m missing out on the best parts of their lives. There were several moments. And it got to the point where the guilt that I started feeling inside for doing the s**t… I wasn’t fooling anybody but myself. I had to come to that realization. At the time, I’m 35 years old, how long am I going to keep doing this? I felt like I needed to grow up, and if I didn’t grow up, it was like now or never.
Besides Dre, you’ve been working with 50 Cent again too. How is your relationship with 50? He’s going through this whole battle with Rick Ross, with this Pimpin’ Curly stuff. how do you view all of it?
Mine and 50′s relationship has always been the same. It’s always been good. If anything, we’ve gotten closer in the last few years. 50 will just come to my house and stay the night. Stay the weekend in one of the bedrooms and just hang out. And we talk about s**t. I mean a lot of our talk is about music you know. But we just – we talk about s**t and we just make jokes and hang out. It doesn’t always have to be about business. You know, he’s going through this Rick Ross thing which is kinda his thing. I guess, you know, at the moment, it’s just let 50 do 50. I think that the Pimpin’ Curly s**t is f**kin’ hilarious though. I’m sorry, to me that’s when 50′s at his best. When he’s doing the funny s**t. In real life, 50′s a f**kin’ clown man. He’s actually a really funny dude.