With a boombox on his shoulder, like a waiter with a huge serving tray, Eminem covers Rolling Stone again.

He revealed that music is his salvation and that hip-hop saved him, since it's all he knows how to do.

"Hip-hop saved my life, man," he declared. "It's the only thing I've ever been even decent at. I don't know how to do anything else."

Decent at? That's the understatement of the century. Em's a 'Rap God.' We know it. It's likely he knows it, too.

In the feature for the issue, out Nov. 22, the rapper talked about the classics -- like the Beastie Boys' confusing-when-it was-released but now classic 'Paul's Boutique' -- and his continuing education in the genre.

"When 'Paul's Boutique' came out, I was one of the fans that didn't get it," he proclaimed. "It took me years to realize how f---ing genius it is. I felt bad for sleeping on it."

He explained where he siphoned influence for 'The Marshall Mathers LP 2,' which went platinum within two weeks of release, saying, "Being a student of hip-hop in general, you take technical aspects from places. You may take a rhyme pattern or flow from Big Daddy Kane or Kool G Rap. But then you go to Tupac, and he made songs. His f---ing songs felt like something -- 'Holy s---! I want to fucking punch someone in the face when I put this CD in.' Biggie told stories. I wanted to do all that s---."

Mission accomplished.