The Real Eminem: Broke City Trash Rapper
I am a sick fuck. I’m a sick minded fuck, I think. I’ve got an imagination that’s out this world, I think. – Eminem
This book contains two exclusive in-person April 1999 interviews with Eminem and one exclusive in-person 2001 interview with D12.
The first Eminem interview occurred at 3:00 a.m. April 4, 1999 inside a downtown Detroit asbestos filled warehouse located directly off the notorious Mack Avenue. Eminem and crew, including a rare appearance by Royce da 5”9, were set to perform a homecoming show of sorts at a Rave on a bill with New York City based U.S. Techno pioneer Frankie Bones and Kevin Saunderson, legendary Detroit Techno pioneer, noted electronic music Producer, and revered member of the Belleville Three.
Earlier that weekend I had connected with international blogger/radio host/promoter Matt Sonzala, to attend the 28th annual Hash Bash on April 3rd in Ann Arbor, Michigan at the University of Michigan Diag. The annual festival dedicated to reforming marijuana laws within a proactive and positive setting, including activist speeches, music and vendors. As a long-time fan of Eminem, Matt was excited to join in on the scheduled interview.
Eminem had just arrived back in his hometown Detroit after a two week European promotional trip, where he was constantly quizzed about the colour of his skin and what Spice Girl he would like to impregnate. We sat down at a long table inside the abandoned warehouse with him and key members of his crew and began to talk. Eminem spoke on what is was like coming up as an independent artist out of a city as raw as Detroit, the way in which his career and hometown recognition had flipped 360 degrees, the underground, his crew and being perceived as a role mode. However, with friends and crew present, and the responsibilities that exist whenever artists perform a hometown show, the interview broke up twelve minutes in when he declared “I gotta piss like a motherfuckin’ racehorse.” The crew took the stage with Eminem, Proof and Royce da 5”9 trading rapid fire verses and the crowd went wild.
I had met Proof during the ascent of his Dirty Dozen partner Eminem in February 1998, while attending the Fall/Winter Magic International apparel convention in Las Vegas, Nevada. He was assisting Detroit City urban apparel pioneer designer, Maurice Malone. Malone was an instrumental figurehead in the Detroit underground Hip-Hop scene as the man behind The Hip-Hop Shop where Eminem, his Dirty Dozen compatriots and countless other emcees carved reputations. Proof asked if I had heard of Eminem, stated he was named checked in a song, and produced his I.D. to match the name. We then touched base at Las Vegas Magic International shows in August 1998 and February 1999 before reconnecting, again, in April 1999 for the two interviews featured within this book.
The second interview with Eminem and Proof occurred one week after the first one on April 10, 1999 over lunch inside the three star Primrose Hotel in downtown Toronto. They were set to perform a show at The Opera House that night and we were allotted time to complete the cover feature interview and a photo shoot. Eminem was relaxed, clam and open and Proof was by his side chiming in with comments and responses. He spoke at length on music as therapy, baby mama drama, underground Hip-Hop and white rapper stereotypes while establishing his true core.
The early years of Eminem are documented in the 2002 major motion picture 8 Mile. He earned his reputation within the industrial wasteland of Detroit’s underground Hip-hop scene. His daughter Hailie was born Christmas Day 1995; One thousand copies of the Nas inflected Infinite album on Web Entertainment were released on November 12, 1996 to little fanfare; He disappeared into a life of low end jobs, while experiencing deep psychological battles and wars with the mother of his child; He began his ascent by carving out an international reputation as a fierce MC on virtually every key underground Hip-Hop site fueled by his mixtape appearances and songs; Re-emerging a new man on December 6, 1997 with The Slim Shady EP on Web Entertainment. Five hundred copies were pressed.
A dark, angry, moody menagerie documenting his real life trials and tribulations, the EP had him poised to reach the next level. He traveled to Los Angeles and was awarded second place in the National Rap Olympics battle rap competition. A copy of the EP landed in the hands of Interscope Records President Jimmy Iovine, who played it for Dr. Dre, and a star shined bright in the midwest. The song that sealed the deal, “Just The Two of Us”. A skin deep dark and ugly manifestation of baby mother drama to the extreme.
Eminem – Infinite
Eminem – The Slim Shady EP
Eminem didn’t invent ill rhyming or the ill lower class mentality, however he had lived it, seen it, done it, and was now speaking on it for the world to hear. He was not a bad guy. Everything he wrote, rapped or spoke had been in the mix, in one form or another, before.
When he parachuted into Hip-Hop and Pop culture consciousness on January 25, 1999 with his omnipresent single “My Name Is” and Dr. Dre in his corner, Eminem polarized purists, pundits, and mainstream media all at once, commando style. Operating on different brain waves, quite possibly the result of a chemical imbalance, the sick, out of this world vivid imagination of Broke City Trash Rapper Eminem rapping on guns, knives, rape and murder captured the minds of a new breed of Hip-Hop fan. The Slim Shady LP on Aftermath Entertainment/Interscope Records/Web Entertainment followed on February 23, 1999 and immediately entered the U.S. Billboard 200 charts at number two. It went on to earn the 2001 Grammy for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Solo Performance for “My Name Is” and sell over eighteen million copies worldwide.
During the period of these interviews Eminem’s life was racing one-hundred million miles an hour yet he managed to maintain a grip on reality by sticking with the crew he came with up consisting of Proof, Bizarre, Royce da 5”9, Porter, DJ Head, The Brigade and Manager Paul Bunyon, AKA Paul Rosenberg. Eminem firmly placed anyone else in his midst in the role of an extra, not to be trusted. He may have given the odd person a play but he steadfast refused to do anything of note for anyone outside of his core crew.
These interviews deliver a raw twenty-six year old Eminem, the real Eminem as an angry young man eager to prove himself to the world and give them the middle-finger at the same time. These interviews deliver an Eminem solely concerned with representing himself, his family, and those he came up with in his time of need. These interviews deliver an Eminem who proudly declared he lived for the day.
The second part of the book features an exclusive 2001 interview with D12. It provide a first-hand look into the “Just Don’t Give A Fuck” mindset of the crew and choice background information on Eminem in the midst of becoming an international phenomenon.
Following the April 10, 1999 interview, Eminem and Proof were up for a Toronto trip. A few hours later, pre-show, they answered the door of room 911 inside the Primrose Hotel. A baggy was produced. Eminem asked what was inside, nodded his head, and then he and Proof each dropped two tabs of pure MDMA. Upon touching The Opera House stage, during the first song of the set, Eminem dove into the crowd and another tale in Toronto music history was born. Immediately following the show, he was whisked away in a private plane and flown to Los Angeles to shoot the dark comedy “Role Model” video co-written by Dr. Dre and Mel-Man, and co-Directed by Dr. Dre and Phillip Atwell.