tv 60 Minutes CBS August 7, 2011 7:00pm-8:00pm PDT
captioning funded by cbs and ford-- built for the road ahead. >> pelley: in the 1930s, we had bread lines. venture out before dawn today and you'll find mortgage lines. average americans hoping to lower their payments to save their homes. banks are filing foreclosure lawsuits by the millions. in the rush to collect, it appears some financial firms have used phony legal documents to throw people out of their homes. chris pendley says he forged 4,000 bogus mortgage documents a day for major u.s. banks. and your previous experience in banking? >> none.
>> stahl: you describe bill gates in very harsh terms. you've described him as being quite abusive. i mean, it's not a pretty picture. >> i felt like when i wrote it, i should just tell it like it happened in an unvarnished way, warts and all. >> stahl: tonight, you'll hear how the two high school buddies who started microsoft and a computer revolution had some pretty trying times along the way. you talk about his yelling, screaming. >> there was a lot of yelling. >> you guys never understood, you never understood the first thing about this! i mean, there's no way. >> ♪ i'm not afraid >> cooper: whether you're a fan of rap or not, eminem's life story is an extraordinary tale. the rise to the top of the music world from a bleak and deprived childhood. >> ♪ this guy's a gangster his real name is clarence ♪ >> cooper: a white kid from
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>> pelley: home prices have been falling for months, sending us into a second housing shock. home values are almost down to what they were back in 2002. a key factor bringing down prices and holding back the recovery is the huge number of foreclosed houses. many of them are stuck on the market for a reason that you wouldn't expect: banks can't find the ownership documents. it's bizarre but it turns out that wall street cut corners when it created those mortgage- backed investments that triggered the financial collapse. as we reported earlier this year, now that banks want to evict people, they're discovering that often the legal documents behind the mortgages, simply aren't there. caught in a jam of their own making, some companies appear to be resorting to forgery and phony paperwork to throw people, down on their luck, out of their homes. in the 1930s, we had breadlines. venture out before dawn in
america today and you'll find mortgage lines. these folks on the street aren't homeless; they slept on the sidewalk because they want to keep their homes. facing foreclosure, they camped out in january to get in line to beg their bank for lower payments on their mortgage. so many in the country are desperate now that they have to meet in convention centers coast to coast. this was los angeles, where 37,000 homeowners gathered. and this was miami in february, where the worry was visible and shared by 12,000 more. the line went down the block and doubled back twice. dale defreitas lost her job; now, she fears, her home is next. >> dale defreitas: it's very emotional, because i just think about it. i don't want to lose my home. i really don't. >> pelley: it's your american
dream >> defreitas: it was. and it still is. >> pelley: these convention center events are put on by the non-profit neighborhood assistance corporation of america, which helps people figure out what they can afford, and then walks them across the hall to bank representatives to ask for lower payments. more than half will get their mortgages adjusted, but the rest discover that they just can't keep their home. and for many, that's when the real surprise comes in. turns out these banks, which demand borrowers have all of their paperwork just right-- these same banks have fouled up all of their own paperwork to a historic degree. >> lynn szymoniak: in my mind, this is an absolute intentional fraud. >> pelley: lynn szymoniak is fighting foreclosure. and while trying to save her house, she discovered something we did not know. back when wall street was using algorithms and computers to engineer those disastrous mortgage-backed securities, it
appears they didn't want old fashioned paperwork slowing down the profits. this was back when it was a white hot fevered pitch to move as many of these as possible. >> szymoniak: exactly. when you could make a whole lot of money through securitization. and every other aspect of it could be done electronically-- you know, key strokes. this was the only piece where somebody was supposed to actually go get documents, transfer the documents from one entity to the other. and it looks very much like they just eliminated that step altogether. >> pelley: szymoniak's mortgage had been bundled with thousands of others into one of those wall street securities traded from investor to investor. when the bank took szymoniak to court, it first said that it had lost her documents, including the critical assignment of mortgage, which transfers ownership. but then, there was a courthouse surprise. they found all of your paperwork more than a year after they initially said that they had lost it? >> szymoniak: yes.
>> pelley: did that seem suspicious to you? >> szymoniak: yes, absolutely. it... you know, what do you imagine, it fell behind the file cabinet? where was all of this? "we had it, we own it, we lost it." and then, more recently, everyone is coming in saying, "hey, we found it. isn't that wonderful?" >> pelley: but what the bank may not have known is lynn szymoniak is a lawyer and fraud investigator with a specialty in forged documents. she has trained fbi agents. did you ask for copies of those documents? >> szymoniak: yes. >> pelley: and what did you find? >> szymoniak: when i looked at the assignment of mortgage-- and this is the assignment, a copy from my case-- it looked that, even the date they put in, which was 10/17/08, was several months after they sued me for foreclosure. so, what they were saying to the court was, "we sued her in july of 2008 and we acquired this mortgage in october of 2008." it made absolutely no sense.
>> pelley: curious, she used her legal training to go online and researched 10,000 mortgages. >> szymoniak: then, i began to find the strange signatures. >> pelley: one of the strangest signatures belonged to the bank vice-president who'd signed szymoniak's newly discovered mortgage documents. the name is linda green. but on thousands of other mortgages, the style of green's signature changed a lot, and even more remarkable, szymoniak found that linda green was vice- president of 20 banks, all at the same time. >> szymoniak: all within the same week. i mean, this is a very, very active person. >> pelley: where did all those documents come from? we went searching for the linda green, and we found her in rural georgia. she told us she's never been a bank vice-president. in 2003, she was a shipping clerk for auto parts when her grandson told her about a job at a company called docx, d-o-c-x. docx, once housed here, in
alpharetta, georgia, was a sweatshop for forged mortgage documents. >> szymoniak: they were sitting in a room, signing their name as fast as they possibly could to any kind of nonsense document that was put in front of them. >> pelley: docx, and companies like it, were recreating missing mortgage assignments for the banks, and providing the legally required signatures of bank vice-presidents and notaries. linda green says she was named a bank vice-president by docx because her name was short and easy to spell. as demand exploded, docx needed more linda greens. so you're linda green? >> chris pendley: yeah. can't you tell? >> pelley: chris pendley worked a docx at the same time and signed as "linda green." when you came in to docx on your first day, what did they tell you your job was going to be? >> pendley: that i was going to be signing documents for...
using someone else's name. >> pelley: did you think there was something strange about that in the beginning? >> pendley: yeah, it seemed a little strange. but they told us, and they repeatedly told us, that everything was above board and it was legal. >> pelley: and your previous experience in banking? >> pendley: none. >> pelley: in legal documents? >> pendley: none. >> pelley: there really were no requirements for the job? >> pendley: correct. >> pelley: you had to be able to hold a pen? >> pendley: hold a pen. >> pelley: but you were signing these documents as if you were an officer of the bank? >> pendley: correct. >> pelley: how many banks were you vice-president of in a given day? >> pendley: i would guess somewhere around five to six. >> pelley: what were you getting paid for this? >> pendley: i'm embarrassed to say-- $10 an hour. >> pelley: $10 an hour. that's not much for a guy who's vice-president of five banks. >> pendley: yeah. i was very underpaid for my title, my stature in the companies. >> pelley: pendley showed us how he signed mortgage documents as "linda green." he told us that docx employees
had to sign at least 350 an hour. pendley estimates that he alone did 4,000 a day. this is also linda green. shawanna crite worked at docx, and says that she both signed and notarized the mortgage documents. what was the role of the notary? >> shawanna crite: we were to make sure that everyone on the document was who they said they were, and notarize the... the documents. >> pelley: but the people who were signing the documents weren't who they said they were. >> crite: right. >> pelley: so, if chris pendley was signing for linda green, you'd notarize that document. >> crite: yes. >> pelley: and you were told that was okay? >> crite: yes. >> pelley: what do you know now? >> crite: that it wasn't right. ( laughs ) >> pelley: the real linda green didn't want to be interviewed, but she said that some of the bank vice-presidents at docx were high school kids. their signatures were entered into evidence in untold thousands of foreclosure suits that sent families packing. >> szymoniak: so, it was a common practice in the last few years to flood the courts with these documents.
>> pelley: and look at some of the junk the courts were flooded with. sometimes, the document mill didn't even bother to fill in the names of the supposed owners. to them, it seemed like a joke. >> szymoniak: instead of the name of the bank here that was acquiring the loan, this one says, "bogus assignee for intervening assignments." that's who acquired this loan. >> pelley: this was an actual document that was in litigation? >> szymoniak: yes. and what corporation assigned this loan? a corporation identified as a "bad bene." excuse me? when i saw that, i was just absolutely amazed. >> pelley: what does that mean, a "bad bene"? >> szymoniak: it could possibly mean a bad beneficiary. i have no idea what they meant. so here's the same woman, linda green, and this time, instead of being a vice-president of american home mortgage servicing, she's vice-president of a bad bene. >> pelley: szymoniak says that the banks whose paperwork was
handled by the docx forgery mill included wells fargo, hsbc, deutsche bank, citibank, u.s. bank, and bank of america. we contacted all of them, and each said that it farmed out its mortgage servicing work to other companies, and it was those mortgage servicing firms that hired docx. docx was owned by a company called l.p.s., a $2 billion firm that calls itself the nation's leading provider of mortgage processing services. l.p.s. told us that when it found out about the phony signatures in 2009, it shut docx down. the fbi and several states are investigating. there were a million foreclosures last year, and there will be another million this year. those lawsuits are forcing open those bundled mortgage-backed securities that wall street cooked up in the mid-2000s, and they're exposing a lack of ownership documents all across
the country. >> sheila bair: it's astonishing to me that this had become as pervasive as a problem that it is. >> pelley: it got sloppy. >> bair: it got very sloppy >> pelley: until recently, sheila bair was one of the government's top banking regulators-- chairman of the federal deposit insurance corporation. you just described it as pervasive. >> bair: yeah. it is pervasive. it absolutely is pervasive. it was just a matter of cutting corners, not spending enough money and not having any quality controls. >> pelley: incompetent banking back then is causing foreclosure ghettos today. although banks say the courts have been accepting their paperwork, now, that's changing, as desperate homeowners counter- sue the banks over the document fiasco. this leaves houses unsold indefinitely, undermining the recovery. >> bair: i am very worried about, if this starts getting out of hand, the kind of impact it will have. >> pelley: these are lawsuits by homeowners who are being foreclosed upon... >> bair: or have... are in the process or have already been foreclosed on. >> pelley: ...saying, "prove
it"? >> bair: yes, exactly. >> pelley: "prove that you own this." >> bair: exactly. >> pelley: how big an issue is that going to be? there are 30,000 today. >> bair: i think this litigation could easily get out of control. and we would like to get ahead of it. we're already... we're already feeling like we're falling behind it. >> pelley: chairman bair thinks rotten mortgage documents are so threatening to the economy that the government should force banks to pay into a massive fund. you think there needs to be a cleanup fund just like for a natural disaster. >> bair: i do. yes, somewhat like that. yes, this is... yes, this is one of human making, but yes. >> pelley: you don't want to give an exact dollar amount for this cleanup fund, but what are we talking about. is it billions? >> bair: yes. i would assume it would be billions, yes. >> pelley: billions of dollars. >> bair: yes, absolutely. >> pelley: chairman bair's proposed cleanup fund would pay homeowners to accept a bank's ownership claim without a lawsuit. she says that this could be cheaper for the banks than trying to recreate the missing documents legitimately and not through the document mills. >> bair: i think, eventually,
the bank could prove who owned it. but it would take... it would take a lot of time and expense. >> pelley: you know, none of the major banks were willing to sit down with us and talk to us about this, not even the american bankers association. >> bair: i'm sorry to hear that. >> pelley: why do you think that is? >> bair: they're feeling very defensive now. and so, i can only assume that is the reason that they declined. >> pelley: the banks are defensive because all 50 state attorneys general want to punish them. the states are seeking about $20 billion in damages for what they say is the irresponsible, perhaps criminal way that some mortgage companies handled what is, for most folks, the most important investment of their lives. >> cbs money watch update sponsored by: >> good evening. standard & poor's warns there's a one in three chance of another credit downgrade within next six months. timothy geithner will stay on as treasury secretary.
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>> stahl: it's interesting how many big high-tech companies were started by two friends: like hewlett and packard, or google's larry and sergey. well, microsoft was, too. bill gates co-founded his company, one of the most important and successful in american history, with his high school buddy, paul allen. today, allen is known more for his mega-yachts and palling around with brad and angelina than for his revolutionary ideas in the company's early years. but as we first reported in
april, paul allen has written a memoir called "idea man," in which he gives an account of those ideas. but he also draws a dark portrait of his fellow co- founder and lifelong friend. as allen writes, he was too angry and proud to tell gates point blank, "some days working with you is like being in hell." you describe bill gates in very harsh terms. you describe him as being quite abusive. i mean, it's not a pretty picture. >> paul allen: i felt like, when i wrote it, i should just tell it like it happened in an unvarnished way, warts and all. >> stahl: you know, here he is doing such great work. he's almost a saint now. and it seems like an odd time to write an unflattering portrait of him. >> allen: the timing had nothing to do with the many wonderful things that bill has done. but the timing was because i wanted to see if i could do it,
and hopefully be alive to see it published. >> stahl: no wonder he was concerned-- when he started the book in 2009, he had stage-four lymphoma. the book goes back to the beginning. this is a picture of allen when he was 15 and met a boy at his private school in seattle, two years his junior, named bill gates. >> allen: there's the machine room. you can see the machine room in there... >> stahl: this video shows the two buddies revisiting an old computer lab where they used to feed their obsession with programming. >> bill gates: you'd lift me into one of those huge garbage bins. >> allen: bill and i would actually dive in the dumpsters to try to find listings of the secret inner code of the operating system... >> stahl: you're kidding. >> allen: ...and try to figure out how it worked. that's how passionate we were. >> stahl: they both became crack coders, but early on, allen emerged as a creative dreamer; gates, a cold-eyed pragmatist. you write that, when he was 13
years old, he told you, "one day, we're going to start a company, run a company." >> allen: he was saying, "well, imagine what it's like to run a fortune 500 company." i'm thinking, "i have no idea." you know, my parents were... were librarians. >> stahl: you kept bringing him ideas, and you write in the book, "he was always popping my balloon." >> allen: that's right, that's right. i mean, i would have, you know, ten ideas, and he would kind of pick them apart, one by one. >> stahl: one of allen's ideas gates didn't shoot down would lead to the personal computer revolution and launch microsoft. it was 1974. he was a college dropout working in boston, and one day, he spotted a magazine announcing a new small computer called the altair. he ran to show it to his friend gates, then at harvard. >> allen: and i said, "here, look at the magazine! this is the computer we've been waiting for!" >> stahl: this is how the p.c., the idea that we all have these computers, this is how it started. >> allen: yeah, and it's amazing
to think, back then, nobody had personal computers. i mean, there were computers in universities and research labs and in corporations, but nobody had personal computers. >> stahl: allen's idea was to write software that would enable the altair to work as well as those large computers. >> allen: and so we called up the company that made it, and said, "well, we can demonstrate this software for you very... very quickly. are you interested?" and, they said, "sure, if you can really show up and demonstrate it." >> stahl: did you have software? >> allen: no. ( laughs ) no. >> stahl: you had nothing? >> allen: we had nothing! >> stahl: so they spent the next eight weeks at harvard feverishly writing code, but without an altair to test on. allen writes that, because gates looked like he was 13, they decided allen should go alone to pitch their software. sitting by an old original altair, he showed me how he fed the computer a paper strip with their code punched into it and typed, "print 2+2."
>> allen: and then i hit "return." and, lo and behold, it printed four. and a wave of relief surged over me, because i couldn't... i almost couldn't believe it had worked the first time. that night, i called bill up and i say, "billy, it's unbelievable, it worked!" and we were just... we were just over the moon. >> stahl: it was the beginning of the age of a computer in every home, on every desk. almost overnight, people started buying these small computers, and their software was in high demand. in 1977, gates was even interviewed on a tv show. >> gates: there's a lot of people who are forecasting that there'll be software stores just like there are record stores today, and that there'll be thousands and thousands of those. and i think i'd have to agree with that. >> stahl: allen writes that gates had a rare gift for programming. he was also the shrewder businessman. from the beginning, he demanded a larger share of the company, 60%, and then more. but allen says he was the one who pushed through the company's
big early break-- developing an operating system for ibm's first personal computer in 1980. yet as the company soared, allen didn't want to give up his whole life to microsoft the way gates did. >> allen: well, i've always had so many different interests. >> stahl: but do you think he came to think that you weren't working as hard as he was, and it became a source of resentment with him? >> allen: well, i think he was always pushing people to work as hard as they possibly could. >> stahl: you included? >> allen: maybe me more than everybody else. >> stahl: you describe bill in this period, and actually throughout, as tough, a taskmaster. you talk about his yelling, screaming. >> allen: there was a lot of yelling. >> gates: you guys never understood! you never understood the first thing about this! >> stahl: a 1994 cbs news profile got a sample of gates' management style, which allen describes as "brow beating" and
"personal verbal attacks." >> gates: that's ridiculous. i'm not using this thing. no, no, no, no, no. somebody's confused, somebody's just not thinking. i mean, there's no way. >> allen: you had to fight back intensely to stand your ground and make your position and your convictions expressed. >> stahl: but he didn't like to back down, so these fights would go on, you said. they could go on for hours. >> allen: oh, yeah. that's right. >> stahl: you're just screaming at each other for hours. >> allen: and that's exhausting. it's exhausting. but that was bill's style. >> stahl: allen was miserable, and felt he was being marginalized. and then, things got a lot worse-- he got cancer. one night, he passed by gates' office and overheard him talking with steve ballmer, who'd been hired to help run the company. what were they saying? >> allen: they were basically talking about how they were planning to dilute my share down
to almost nothing. and it was a, you know, really shocking and disheartening moment for me. >> stahl: and you were sick. >> allen: i think i was still probably in the middle of radiation therapy. he burst in and interrupted them. he says they were trying to cut him out and rip him off. >> allen: and, of course, steve came over to my house later that night to apologize. >> stahl: he did? >> allen: he did. >> stahl: but bill didn't come. >> allen: no, he sent steve. >> stahl: he sent steve. it wasn't steve; he sent steve. >> allen: well, steve's the one who came. >> stahl: shortly after, allen left. but he got to hold on to all his shares. it's hard to feel sorry for him- - he was 30, cured of cancer, and owned nearly a third of microsoft. so, you built this building? >> allen: yeah. >> stahl: after the company went public, allen became one of the richest men on earth; at one point, worth an estimated $40 billion! gates would spend another two decades running microsoft, launching word, windows, and
explorer. and once he retired, he devoted himself to eradicating global disease and improving education. allen has spent his wealth on a hodgepodge of many interests. for instance, he plays electric guitar, so he has his own personal rock 'n roll band to jam with, and he bought jimi hendrix's woodstock guitar for $750,000. he likes science fiction; he subsidized an antenna farm listening for aliens. an avid reader; he showed us a shakespeare folio he keeps at his estate. you became the owner of the seahawks. he likes football; he bought an nfl team. he likes basketball even more: he also bought an nba team. he's a movie buff, so he invested in dreamworks, the hollywood studio. he wants to travel, so he built himself a yacht longer than a football field equipped with its own submarine.
he has spent over a billion dollars on philanthropy, including building an institute to study the brain and, like gates, he's pledged to give most of his money away to charity. now, he got married. >> allen: right. >> stahl: you never got married. >> allen: not yet. >> stahl: not yet. >> allen: i'm still optimistic. i still believe i'm going to meet somebody and that's going to happen but... >> stahl: you want to. >> allen: i want to have a family. >> stahl: but he's often described as a recluse. something struck me when he showed us his collection of vintage war planes. i get this howard hughes-y feel- - the planes, hollywood. do you think about that ever? >> allen: well, i hope i don't end up in a cinema by myself watching "ice station zebra" over and over again.
i think i've got such a diverse set of interests-- movies, aviation, technology, sports teams. >> stahl: howard hughes! >> allen: well, i don't know if howard was involved in sports teams. >> stahl: allen's diverse set of interests also led him to invest in over 100 business ventures. most of them were poorly managed or ahead of their time, so they flopped, and he slid from being the third richest man in the world to 57th. were you just too early, or was it that you really needed a bill gates and didn't have that other person to push it through? >> allen: look, in the microsoft days, you had some great ideas and some great execution between me and bill and many other people. you know, in technology, most things fail, most companies fail. but i had some whoppers. >> stahl: some of his whoppers, however, produced numerous patents. last year, in a move that angered silicon valley, allen sued several giant companies, accusing them of infringing on those old patents. who are you suing?
>> allen: oh, it's a long list. >> stahl: aol, apple, ebay, facebook, google, netflix, office depot, office max, staples, yahoo, and youtube. >> allen: right. >> stahl: how do you argue that you had something to do with google? it just seems so outlandish, or kind of wacky. >> allen: look, microsoft and google, all these people, have patents of their own. they all enforce patents. they all charge other companies for patents. all i'm trying to do is get back the investment that i made to create these patents. >> stahl: we kept hearing that what he's really trying to do is gain recognition as a tech visionary. but with his book, "idea man," he's being branded "a bitter billionaire." but what's your reaction to people saying it's kind of a revenge book, a bitter book? >> allen: it's not about that.
i just felt like it's an important piece of technology history, and i should tell it like it... tell it like it happened, and i hope people understand and respect that. >> stahl: but for all the bad feelings allen writes about with gates, near the end of the book, he reveals something that happened when he got cancer a second time in 2009. and he came to see you, he comforted you when you were sick. >> allen: right. bill came here to my house multiple times and we had some great talks. there's a bond there that can't be denied. and i think... i think we both feel that. >> stahl: even after the book? i know he's read the book. >> allen: right. no, i'm sure... i'm sure, at some point, we'll sit down and talk about the book, which we haven't done yet. >> stahl: you'll have a screaming match. >> allen: well, i don't know about screaming, but it'll be... i'm sure it'll be a heated discussion. >> stahl: do you think there's any reason that you're going to have to apologize to him now? >> allen: i don't think so. >> stahl: we asked bill gates for a comment, and while he declined, he has said that the founding of microsoft was an
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minutes." >> cooper: his real name is marshall mathers, but you probably know him as eminem. he is the biggest selling artist of the past decade, earning 13 grammys, one oscar, and mountains of criticism for lyrics that are as profane as they are poetic. whether you are a fan of rap or not, eminem's life story is an extraordinary tale of success against all odds-- a story he rarely talks about, and one we first told you about last october. back then, we met up with him in his hometown, detroit, in order to find out how a white kid who never made it past the ninth grade was able to propel himself to the top of a predominantly african-american art form. >> cooper: when eminem stepped out of the shadows last summer in detroit in front of 40,000 people, it was a triumphant comeback for a superstar who had all but disappeared. ♪
now 38 and sober, after struggling with addiction for the five years, he has the energy and intensity of a boxer, a fighter trying to win from the crowd one simple thing. >> eminem: respect. >> cooper: respect? >> eminem: respect. you know, not to sound corny or nothing, but i felt like a fighter coming up, man. i felt like, you know, i'm being attacked for this reason or that reason and i got to fight my way through this. >> cooper: he's been fighting since he was a kid, living on the rough side of detroit's eight mile, the road dividing the white suburbs from the mostly black city. "8 mile" is also the title of the critically acclaimed movie eminem starred in, his character based largely on himself-- an aspiring white rapper with a dead-end job, a troubled mother, and a dream of escaping his bleak life. you still come back here? >> eminem: yeah. >> cooper: to understand how eminem got to where he is today, you need to know where he came from. not just a broken home but a series of them.
raised by a single mom, they lived hand to mouth, on and off welfare, constantly moving from one place to another. so you had to change schools every couple of months? >> eminem: yeah, i would change schools two, three times a year. that was probably the roughest part about it all. >> cooper: the roughest, and most formative. he was a shy kid in tough public schools and was frequently bullied. you got beat up a lot as a kid. >> eminem: yeah, there was a lot instances. >> cooper: you got beat up coming home from school. >> eminem: beat up in bathrooms, beat up in the hallways, shoved into lockers. you know, just for... you know, for the most part, man, you know, just being the new kid. >> cooper: he discovered rap as a teenager, and in its tough talk and street smart sound, found his voice. ♪ after dropping out of high school, he began competing in local rap battles, depicted in the movie, one-on-one verbal
fights where the goal was to come up with the cleverest rhymes and the best insults. >> what's the matter, dog, you embarrassed? this guy's a gangster? his real name is clarence. >> eminem: hip hop has always been bragging and boasting, and "i'm better than you at this and i'm better than you at that." and i finally found something that, yeah, this kid over here, you know, he may have more chicks, and he may, you know, have better clothes, or whatever, but he can't do this like me. you know what i mean? he can't write what i'm writing right now. and it started to feel like, you know, maybe marshall's getting a little respect. >> cooper: that respect was hard won. he was often the only white guy competing in underground clubs like this. did you feed off the fact that people maybe underestimated you, or didn't respect you early on? >> eminem: oh, definitely, definitely. there was certainly, like, a rebellious, like, youthful rage in me. and there was also the fact of no getting away from the fact that i am white and, you know,
this is predominantly black music, you know. and people telling me "you don't belong. like, you're not going to succeed because you are this color." then, you want to show those people that you can and you will. ♪ hi, my name is hi, my name is... hi, my name is... >> cooper: ever since eminem broke out from the underground and into the mainstream in 1999, he's amazed audiences and critics alike with his ability to tell stories through music and rapid-fire wordplay. >> eminem: ♪ till i'm toppling from the top ♪ i'm not going to stop ♪ i'm standing on my monopoly board ♪ that means i'm on top of my game ♪ and it don't stop till my hip don't hop anymore ♪ when you so good that you can't say it ♪ because it ain't even cool for you to sound cocky anymore... >> cooper: he writes all of his own songs and delights in rhyming words others can't. >> eminem: ♪ his arms are heavy knees weak, palms are sweaty ♪ there's vomit on his sweater already ♪ mom's spaghetti ♪ he's nervous but on the surface ♪ he seems calm and ready, to drop bombs...
>> cooper: we talked to him about how he does it in his private recording studio. i've heard you say that you bend the words. >> eminem: yeah. yeah, it's just in the annunciation of it. like, people say that the word "orange" doesn't rhyme with anything, and that kind of pisses me off because i can think of a lot of things that rhyme with "orange." >> cooper: what rhymes with "orange"? i can't think of anything. >> eminem: if you're taking the word at face value and you just say "orange," nothing is going to rhyme with it exactly if you annunciate it and you make it like more than one syllable. "orange"-- you could say like, ♪ i put my orange four-inch door hinge ♪ in storage ♪ and ate porridge with george. so, you just have to figure out the... the science to breaking down words and try to... >> cooper: do you think about this throughout the day? i mean, you're driving along-- do you think about rhyming words? >> eminem: yeah. all day.
yeah, i actually drive myself insane with it. >> cooper: but it's interesting. i mean, for a guy who hated school, who, you know, was in the ninth grade three times, you spend all your times thinking about words. >> eminem: i found that no matter how bad i was at school, like, and no matter how low my grades might have been at sometimes, i always was good at english. >> cooper: i heard that you used to read the dictionary. >> eminem: i just felt like i want to be able to have all of these words at my disposal, in my vocabulary at all times whenever i need to pull them out. you know, somewhere, they'll be stored, like, locked away. >> cooper: his words are stored, but they're not exactly locked away. he actually keeps them in boxes. you store stuff in boxes like this? >> eminem: yes. >> cooper: inside are hundreds of scraps of paper on which he's obsessively scrawled down words and phrases. so wait, this is a pad from a hotel in paris it looks like? >> eminem: yeah. >> cooper: you just scribbled... you have four little words just scribbled down. how do you even read this? this is tiny. >> eminem: i know what it says,
i guess. i might use it, actually. it's not bad. >> cooper: they're not lyrics, really-- they're just ideas that he collects. he calls it "stacking ammo." i've gotten letters from crazy people and they kind of look like this-- sometimes, all in capital letters or scrawled on the page like this. >> eminem: yeah? well, that's probably because i'm crazy. ♪ see, they can trigger me but they can never figure me out... >> cooper: listen to the lyrics of many of his early songs, and you do get the feeling his music has been a painfully public way of settling scores, including with his mother... >> eminem: ♪ i'm sorry, mama i never meant to hurt you ♪ i never meant to make you cry but tonight i'm... >> cooper: ...and his father, who left him when he was six months old. >> eminem: i never knew him so... >> cooper: never met him since? >> eminem: never met him, never knew him, no. >> cooper: do you want to? >> eminem: i don't know. i don't know. some people ask me that. i don't think i do. i just... i can't understand
how... if my kids were moved to the edge of the earth, i'd find them. no doubt in my mind. no money, no nothing-- if i had nothing, i'd find my kids. so, there's no excuse. there's no excuse. >> cooper: eminem may be fiercely protective of his kids, but he's been accused of being harmful to just about everybody else's. the language he's used in songs sparked protests and accusations that he promoted violence against women and gays. he's been branded a misogynist and a homophobe. >> eminem: i felt like i was being attacked. >> cooper: like you were being singled out? >> eminem: i was being singled out. and i felt like, is it because of the color of my skin? is it because that you're paying more attention? is... is it because... there's certain rappers that do and say the same things that i'm saying, and i don't hear no one saying anything about that. i didn't just invent saying offensive things. >> cooper: i mean some of the lyrics-- "kill you." "bitch, i'm gonna kill you you-- you don't want to 'eff' with me."
"my word's like a dagger with a jagged edge that'll stab you in the head, whether you're a fag or a lez pants or dress, hate fags, the answer's yes." >> eminem: yeah, the scene that i came up in, that word was thrown around so much, you know? "faggot" was, like, it was thrown around constantly to each other, like, in battling, you know what i mean? >> cooper: but, i mean, do you not like gay people? >> eminem: no, i don't have any problem with nobody, you know what i mean? like, i'm just whatever. >> cooper: and... and for some parent who's listening to this, and says, "well, you know, my kid hears this, hears you calling somebody a bitch or using the f-word, and starts to use it themselves." do you feel a sense of responsibility? >> eminem: i feel like it's your job to parent them. if you're the parent, be a parent. you know what i mean? i'm a parent. i have daughters. i mean, how would i really sound, as a person, like, walking around my house, you know, "bitch, pick this up." you know what i mean? like, i don't cuss... >> cooper: that's not how you are in your real life? >> eminem: profanity around my house, no. but this is music, this is my
art, this is what i do. ♪ >> cooper: despite the controversy, or maybe because of it, he's sold more than 80 million albums worldwide. but he admits he's had a hard time adjusting to all the attention. for much of his career, he was high during his performances, and eventually became addicted to vicodin, valium, and ambien. in december of 2007, he overdosed, collapsing in the bathroom of his home. you almost died? >> eminem: yeah, definitely. >> cooper: how close do you think you were to dying? >> eminem: they said two hours. if i would have got to the hospital two hours later, that would have been it. because my organs, everything... my kidneys, everything were failing. everything was shutting down. >> cooper: he's been sober nearly three and a half years now. but has had to teach himself how to write again, rap again, and even how to perform, as he told us hours before a detroit concert promoting his new album called "recovery." >> cooper: so, this is your
first u.s. stadium concert that you're sober? >> eminem: yeah. yup. >> cooper: do you ever... i mean, when you look out, you know, and you see 40,000 people and they're all singing your songs, i mean... >> eminem: it's crazy. i mean, you can... an artist can say that they get used to it or whatever. but i think that they... they're probably lying if they do. because you got to be wowed, man. you got to be, like, you got to be taken back by seeing this many people and their faces, and you know what i mean? >> cooper: and do you actually see their faces when you're performing? >> eminem: oh, yeah. yeah, i do, now. before, it was a big blur. everybody in here who is an eminem fan, man, i just want to take a minute out to say thank you for the support that you all have shown me, and for not giving up on me on some real ( bleep ). thank you, man. especially you, detroit. i love you. this song is for you. >> cooper: his songs are still deeply personal, but some of the
hard-edged anger has softened. in his new song, "not afraid," he offers a hand to those in need. you say, "everybody, come take my hand. we'll walk this road together." ten years ago, could you have imagined yourself sing... rapping something like that? >> eminem: no, i couldn't. probably not. i don't want to go overboard with it, but i do feel like that if i can help people that have been through a similar situation, then, you know, why not? ♪ >> go to 60minutesovertime.com to go backstage and behind the scenes on the eminem story with anderson cooper. sponsored by lipitor. my whole body hurt. it was an ongoing, deep pain. i didn't understand it. i found out that connected to our muscles are nerves that send messages through the body. my doctor diagnosed it as fibromyalgia --
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