VIBE Rewind: Next: Eminem ‘Won’t Melt In Your Hands’ (Feb. 1999)
As Eminem’s hip-hop landmark debut album The Slim Shady LP turns 15 years old today, VIBE looks back its first impression of the now “Rap God.”
EMINEM: Won’t melt in your hands
by Peter Relic
November 6, 1998, Hollywood
Ask Eminem about the color of his skin and you might hear: “Unless you want to fuck me, why do you care what I look like?” The squirrelly rapper Eminem harrumphs. You’d think it would be difficult to offend someone whose debut single is called “Just Don’t Give A Fuck” (Aftermath/Interscope), but Eminem’s sore spot is throbbing: “I get offended when people say, ‘So being a white rapper… and growing up white… after being born white…’ It’s all i ever hear!” This is the anger of a kid who grew up as Marshall Mather (hence the “M and M”) in a single-parent, inner-city Detroit home. The kind of kid who rolled up his pajama bottoms to make them look like shorts. This kind of upbringing has been channeled in Eminem’s Clockwork Orange-like alter ego, “Slim Shady.” It’s also the title of his debut album to be released this spring.
The journey toward Slim Shady began over a year ago, when Em, now 24, sent his demo to Interscope Records. The tape somehow ended up on the floor of CEO Jimmy Iovine’s garage, where it was rescued by West Coast landmark, Dr. Dre. Dre signed Em, a modern-day hip hop Sid Vicious, to his Aftermath imprint and then decided to include him on Dre’s upcoming tentatively titled album Chronic 2000. “People say Dre fell off,” Em says, “but that’s the wrongest assumption I know. We were working last night — and I admit it, I was high — but I was walking around yelling, I’m a fan again!”
Those kind of loving feelings are few and far between for Eminem. The mention of “Bonnie and Clyde” (a Slim Shady track on which Em fantasizes about killing his baby’s mama), elicits a reaction in the gonzoid of Motor City shit-kickers like Ted Nugent. “Yo I hate bitches! [One] fucked up and it made me look at girls as sluts,” Em snarls, flexing his arm, which has the name of his daughter, Hailey Jade, tattooed on it. “A lotta girls ain’t gonna like my shit, but once again, I just don’t give a fuck.” Em: abominable or misunderstood? You be the judge. – Peter Relic