Eminem‘s forthcoming ninth studio album, Revival, will house 19 tracks, 17 of which are full-length songs. It turns out, those numbers are a little less than half the number of records Eminem actually recorded for the project, his first since 2013’s Marshall Mathers LP 2.
In a new interview with Interview Magazine, Eminem revealed the number of songs he usually records for an album and how he goes about widdling down that total for the final product.
“You’re not going to hit it every single time, and that’s why, when I record an album, I do probably close to 50 songs,” Eminem explained to guest interviewer and former GRAMMY collaborator Elton John. “Each song I record has to get better. If it’s not better than the last song that I made, it’ll usually linger for a couple of months, and then it’ll be put on the backburner, and then there’ll be another song that I do, and then it often doesn’t make it on the album.”
Fifty might seem like a lot of material for one artist to record for one album, but that number is actually quite small in comparison to several of Em’s peers. Young Thug was once publicly chastised by former 300 Entertainment executive Lyor Cohen for recording too much material and then abandoning the songs “like orphans,” while his Super Slimey cohort Future has been known to record “600 to 700” songs at a time before selecting a finely-tuned number and sequencing an album or mixtape.
Although I can’t say I’m looking forward to Revival as much as I have past Eminem works—that tracklisting is frightening—it’s important to commend the veteran MC for highlighting his thoughtful recording process. On-demand streaming services, particularly SoundCloud, have made it quite easy for artists to create in the moment and immediately share their work with the entire world, but this also means that artists are regularly sharing less than their very best material in exchange for soliciting feedback from fans or the wager of a potential viral hit. Eminem’s decision to record material and then sit on that material, knowing full well that his best might be yet to come, increases the likelihood that the final product will be a more refined work.
Well, at least that is what I have been telling myself since learning that Phresher, X Ambassadors, Pink and Ed Sheeran will also be gracing Revival with their respective skillsets.