During Eminem's hiatus from hip-hop, where he went through a period of drug use and depression before re-emerging with 2009's Relapse, Shady Records had been on hold while Em dealt with his personal life.
Each of the label's artists had to make their own moves to stay relevant. One artist, who also disappeared during Em's absence, was Southern California-based rapper Cashis. While he remains signed to Shady, he recently revealed that he was on an extended leave from music, battling his own demons and personal issues.
In a recent phone interview, the rapper told us that, like Em, he too struggled with an addiction to prescription pills. However, his problem began even before his fame, dating all the way back to his teen years ... and snowballed after tasting success.
"I'm from Chicago, but I came to California when I was a teenager. I got caught up in the lifestyle out here. I got hooked on them pills; my girl put me on them pills," Cashis revealed to us. "She was trying to get me off the liquor, and she hipped me to the pills. I thought that was more mellow, so I started doing that. That's why my music before that -- like the material you heard on The Re-Up, was like a year to a year and a half older. I was talking about pills and that stuff then. I was doing all that. When Em was talking about Valium -- there's a big age difference between us, so I was doing that stuff as a kid. As a teenager I was popping that and I got over that.
"Then, I went through every pill ... I went all the way up the ladder. I could still handle my sh** [at the time], but... Rude Jude would tell you, it was wild," he continued. "That's the sh**, I look back now and I used to think it was cool, but now I look back and think 'What a f***in' moron.' "
Cashis' drug addiction spun out of control, especially after he built a buzz in Orange County, Calif., which eventually led to his solo deal with Shady Records in 2004. Today, he admits to being a loose cannon -- which was initially going to be the title of his major label debut. He says his drug problem -- combined with his disregard for law enforcement and refusal to stay away from the gang life -- almost ended his music career.
Things were so bad, even Em noticed and offered to help the young rapper seek treatment, but Cashis refused.
"First time I met Em, in the studio in Detroit, I had a vile of like 80 Valiums and I popped em all in like a day and a half. He was like "Damn, dog you might wanna get some help. Let me know, I can help you out, discretely,' " the rapper explained. "I was like 'Nah man. Where I from, what would I look like?' I got off it my own, and later on, I found out -- like the rest of the world -- Em was getting off of it. During that time, I just quit talking to everybody dog. I didn't talk to no friends, family."
After nearly losing his freedom to an undisclosed criminal charge, which would've sent him to prison for four-plus years, along with the deteriorating relationship with his family -- including his 11 kids -- Cashis finally realized something had to change.
So, the rapper detoxed by himself, weening himself slowly from pills, and as of April, has been clean and sober for around a year and a half.
"For a minute, I felt like I was untouchable," Cashis admits. "I thought, like, I done came from the gutter, came from nothing, I was sleeping on park benches, I done been to jail; I been selling crack, selling dummy bags; all kinds of sh** I got going on, and I was making it just on street sh**, without no legal money. Now that I had finally got into the game, can't nobody touch me.
"I don't know what the curve ball was, but at that point, instead of me recognizing I was moving too fast, I moved faster 'cause I just took it on the street tip," the rapper continued. "I caught a gang of cases, and it forced me to be at home for like 7, 8 months. I just stayed at home, I couldn't really go out of my area. That changed my whole sh**."
With a new found sense of urgency regarding his rap career, Cashis feels re-born. For the past six months, he's been leaking track after track to fans online, where he displayed different sides to himself he's never shown in the past.
Cashis calls the transformation, his "euthanasia," which he's titled his forthcoming, full-length LP. He explains it has, he's euthanized his junkie past, and has become "a new person."
"When they put animals down to sleep, they euthanize it, right? To me, my form of Euthanasia was ... I was dead, and all the bullsh** -- me waiting a long time to put something out. I feel like I became a new person," said the rapper. "I became a more focused, more alert, a much more serious person, and a better artist in general. I just put to rest all the old bullsh**, like wilding, getting into everybody's sh**, just always running in the streets. I had fun doing all that, but now, I'm on some way more getting money type sh**. I just felt like I was putting the other sh** to sleep, and inviting everybody into my new world."
While the Euthanasia LP isn't due until later this year, a Euthanasia EP is slated to hit stores May 31st. It's a seven-track effort consisting of all new material, which the rapper says is "straight lyrics, and swag and style." It also asks as the prelude to the full-length release.
May 31st is right around the corner, so for fans who couldn't wait, Cashis dropped a 35-track mixtape release, dubbed "From The Vault, which includes a mix of old tracks, as well as six previously unreleased songs. Cop it on iTunes.