Well this is a pleasant surprise. Earlier this morning, Eminem started dropping jewels on Rap Genius out of nowhere, and so far it’s nothing short of an exclusive look into the rapper’s mind, creative process, and history. Below are some highlights, but you can read all his annotations right here.
– On creating the Slim Shady alias:
Coming out with an alias was part of Proof’s whole idea. He said, “Let’s be in a group called D12, and there will be six of us, and we’ll each have an alias. We’ll each be two different people.” When I started rapping as Shady, as that character, it was a way for me to vent all my frustrations and just blame it on him. If anybody got mad about it, it was him that said it, you know what I’m saying? It was a way for me to be myself and say what I felt. I never wanted to go back to just rapping regular again.
– On Infinite:
Mr. Porter did all the beats on Infinite. Proof came in at the last minute and said he didn’t feel like the beats were banging enough. So he brought in DJ Head’s drum machine, and put drums behind this song.
– On his performative aggression:
A lot of the aggression came from the Hip Hop Shop days, when you wanted to get a reaction out of people. When you’re behind a microphone in a studio, you’re not going to see someone’s reaction. So I wanted to say the craziest shit, imagining the reaction I would get if someone was sitting by a speaker. At the Hip Hop Shop, you had a pretty good idea of what lines were going to get a reaction or not. You would see it.
– On recording with Dr. Dre for the first time:
“My Name Is” was the first song we recorded. We recorded three or four that day, in like six hours. One song was called “Ghost Stories” and one was “When Hell Freezes Over.” I feel like there was one more but I can’t remember what it was. We always have this discussion, because Dre says it’s four.
Paul used to live in New Jersey, right across from Manhattan. He had an apartment he shared with three roommates. I was over, sleeping on the couch. We didn’t have money yet, really. We had already filmed the video, and we saw it for the first time on MTV. It came on really late at night. I was sleeping on the couch when Paul saw it for the first time.
That’s when it was like, “Okay, this isn’t a joke anymore.” We had kind of felt that, being in the studio with Dre and shit. But once that single came out, my life changed like that. Within a day. Just going outside. I couldn’t go outside anymore. In a day. It went from the day before, doing whatever the fuck I wanted to do, because nobody knew who the fuck I was, to holy shit, people are fucking following us. It was crazy. That’s when shit just got really — it was a lot to deal with at once.
Right after the first single came out, I did a signing at the Virgin Megastore in Times Square. While I was there, I got served by a court processor. They knew where I’d be, and they had to physically serve me. The guy got tackled. He was stupid. You don’t need to physically serve someone anymore, like in the movies. But the guy was being a cowboy. It was some lawsuit from my mother, I think.
– On “In Da Club”:
We couldn’t decide on the first single from Get Rich. It was going to be either “If I Can’t” or “In Da Club.” We were torn, so me, 50, Paul, Chris Lighty, and Jimmy Iovine decided to flip a coin.