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 2004 Interview with Em about the Racial Tapes

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PostSubject: 2004 Interview with Em about the Racial Tapes   Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:25 pm

He's the biggest artist in hip-hop but he still can't shake the fact that his race is an issue. Now for the first time, Eminem, in his own words, explains what he said and why he said it. What up, Marshall.
Marshall Bruce Mathers III--or Eminem, or Slim Shady or whoever he is on any given day--knows drama in the same way that our thespian friends from daytime television know drama. Because when you're a public figure, the one life you've lived is fair game. Then again, the 31-year-old Detroiter has never been shy to talk about the not-so-pretty goings-on that stain his world: the fire between him and his baby mama, the drugs, the gun charges, the on-wax wars with rap rivals. He's baited women, gays, fellow celebrities and his own mother. Eminem's caught mucho flack for the colorful speak he's kicked along his 8 Mile Road, and he's never really checked his tongue. Except, of course, when it came to the infamous "n" word. "It's just not a term I choose to fuck with," said the White MC back in 2000, "because I do Black music. I always show that respect."

Speaking of tongue-checks, XXL once again finds itself in the uncomfortable position of covering a story that involves a direct competitor. The beef between Eminem and The Source started with a diss record that Source "co-owner" Raymond "Benzino" Scott put out on a mixtape well over a year ago. (Benzino called his foe the "Rap Hitler" on a second song.) This past fall, after the smoke had cleared from back-and-forth battle rhymes (that's hip-hop! Hoooooo!), The Source emerged with what they believed to be the Holy Grail: a pair of old Eminem songs on which he uses the "n" word and spews some none-too-kind verbiage about the virtues of Black women. (Here's a sample: "All the girls I like to bone have big butts/No they don't, 'cause I don't like that nigger shit/I'm just here to make a bigger hit.")

Claiming the songs were recorded in 1993, The Source held a press conference to play the incriminating evidence. Eminem has since acknowledged that it is indeed his voice floating the words, making two public statements (see sidebar, page 120) apologizing for their undeniable ignorance. Benzino and Source Publisher David Mays say that his remorse doesn't cut it--that at the core, Marshall Mathers is a racist who is bent on exploiting hip-hop to the fullest, while secretly conspiring with the powers that be to bleach the flesh of the culture that keeps heads nodding. Word to Elvis Presley.

Eminem says he was but a misguided, heart-aching boy when he recorded those tunes; Mays and Benzino say he was a full-grown bigot. What's the truth? Who knows? But here's a little story that's already been told: Eminem, when he was a kid, used to get beat up by another kid--a Black kid. Years later, a Black man, Andre "Dr. Dre" Young, beats him in the head with a bottomless stack of greenbacks. Eminem isn't the first White man to make millions from rap, and he won't be the last. The Source , which is White-owned, the magazine you hold in your hands, which is White-owned--these publications have benefited greatly from Black rappers. There's nothing new about that.

Eminem has always acknowledged that his race has played a major part in his success. Now he's left to answer for rhymes he wishes he could've erased back when dookie rope chains were the rage. Whether you judge the man or the boy--that decision is truly yours.

XXL: The song that Dave Mays and Benzino played at the press conference, the one that borrows the melody from Biz Markie's "Albee Square Mall"--does it even have a title?

Eminem: I think it was "Oh Foolish Pride" or something. Here's the thing with the tapes, and what they have: I'm not disputing the fact that it's me. The only thing that I'm disputing is the timeline of the tapes, you know.

The tape is 15 years old, from like '88, '89. Let me explain the process of what used to happen: This person, who I used to go to and hang out at his house--I'm not gonna mention this person's name because I don't need a lawsuit from him--but the basic gist of the whole thing was, this guy was the only dude in our neighborhood who had equipment, had a turntable and a fucking microphone.

Was he White or Black?

He was White. Umm, so anyway, what we used to do was, we would skip school, go to his house, make tapes, do songs, you know, most of them freestyle or whatever. These tapes were made--and obviously, you can hear it on the tapes--when I was first learning to rap . Like, [ The Source ] saying that the shit was made in '93... I mean, I'm not only embarrassed by the content of the tape, but also how horrible [my rapping] is. The fact that I said "the funky Eminem..."

That's my favorite part!

If I was saying "the funky Eminem" in '93, I shouldn't be sitting here today. But I'm not disputing anything, I'm not running from the fact, I'm not disputing that.
But both songs are from '89? You're firm on saying that the two songs that The Source has unearthed were both recording in '89?

'89 or '88, which was when [Biz's] "Albee Square" came out. But anyways, the whole recording process over there was to sit down and make goofy-ass songs. None of this was wrote--it was all fuckin' freestyle. We made a million fucking songs. We made so much shit back then. Literally three or four songs a day. So, I mean, I can't tell you everything that I did when I was 16, 17. If somebody asked you everything you did when you were in high school, you're not gonna remember. But, the whole concept was to sit around and make goofy-ass shit. Like, we made songs dissing the X Clan--we thought they was racist back in the day. At the same time, I'm listening to their shit. I know their whole first album by heart, and I'm walking around with the African medallions, not even really knowing who I am yet, you know what I'm sayin'? All I know is, I'm a kid who loves hip-hop, and has loved it since I was 11 years old--since Breakin' came out. But the fact of, you know, I don't think it's an issue of being worried about if Eminem is a fuckin' racist--if that was the case, I sure as fuck wouldn't be rapping.


Because making a song like that, I would have been fuckin' singing death metal, heavy metal, you know what I'm sayin'? All I knew was I loved hip-hop and wanted to be a part of it in some way, shape or form.

So you're saying that those songs weren't premeditated, they were freestyle?

Yeah, it was all off the top of the head. None of that shit was written.
Yeah, but think everybody has issues with race. That's not to say that someone's a racist, but one might argue that: Okay, if that was a freestyle, freestyle is something that comes from inside. It's not something you necessarily think about. And sometimes, in freestyles, you say things that you normally wouldn't say in conversation. That's not to say that you're a racist, but just to say maybe the way society is and the way you were raised, that maybe some of these issues were on your mind. I

Well, yeah, I would agree with that. Because I mean, at the time, the way the whole concept was brought up... I even said [this] with the publicly made statement: Yes, I was seeing this Black girl for probably a matter of two to three weeks. That's how the topic came about. And I couldn't even tell you if the other tape was made in the same day, the day after, all I know is that it was made around the same time, '89. In '93, I was in real studios recording real songs. This here, we're talkin' about some dude in his basement with a turntable and a mixer and a mic. If they were saying that the tape was made in '93... Everybody knows there's a big difference between being 16, 17 years old and being 21, 22, 23.
How did the tape come to light?

We don't know how the tape came to light. Obviously these guys at The Source --and I don't want to keep dwelling on it because it's an obvious fucking picture--what they're trying to do is, their fucking boat is going down, their ship is sinking and they wanna take somebody with them. And if it takes every last fucking dime they have, that's what their mission is to do. But what hip-hop has done--and part of the growing process from 15 years to now, from the last 10 years even to now--what hip-hop has done for race relations, period, from bringing different groups of people, ethnic backgrounds and everything, bringing them together... No music can do that like hip-hop. No music has done that like hip-hop has done it.

Last edited by Admin on Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:29 pm; edited 1 time in total
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PostSubject: Re: 2004 Interview with Em about the Racial Tapes   Wed Jun 10, 2009 7:25 pm

I just posted this for history. U know old archives. Smile cheers
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