Saturday night (Nov. 5) saw Dre take to the stage to recount their storied relationship, including discovering from Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine that Em was white. Dr. Dre also praised Shady for his contributions to the culture and for bringing rap to a new demographic: middle America.
“Over 20 years ago, Jimmy Iovine, who is also one of tonight’s inductees and one of my best friends, played a demo tape for me from a guy who called himself Eminem,” Dre said, as per Billboard. “The first thing I said when I heard it was, ‘What the f**k did he just say?’ I loved it so much that I couldn’t stop listening to it.”
The Chronic artist, née Andre Romelle Young, continued speaking to the power of signing someone like Em, with the reach and ability to speak to a different rap fan, forcing Hip-Hop fans “to confront our biases.”
“A few days later, Jimmy called me and said, ‘You know he’s a white guy, right?’ F**ked me up! Looking back, I don’t know why it didn’t cross my mind. He certainly didn’t sound like a Black rapper, especially because of what he was saying. I guess it was my ignorance at the time, thinking that if you’re a really good rapper, you must be Black.”
Eminem would later take the stage to deliver a performance that ran through a medley of his biggest hits, including “Stan” and “Lose Yourself.”
Mathers, 50, was also joined on stage by surprise guests such as Aerosmith’s Steven Tyler and Ed Sheeran.
“I’m not supposed to be here tonight,” said Eminem. “One, I’m a rapper; two, I almost died from an overdose; and three, I had to fight my way through; I’m a high school dropout with a hip-hop education.”
Other inductees in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame 2022 class included Pat Benatar, Duran Duran, Eurythmics, Dolly Parton, Lionel Richie, and Carly Simon.
Judas Priest and, Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis received the Musical Excellence Award, Harry Belafonte and Elizabeth Cotten acquired the Early Influence Award, and Allen Grubman, Jimmy Iovine, and Sylvia Robinson were honored with the Ahmet Ertegun Award.