Renowned producer Dr. Dre opens up about his relationship with Eminem and ignoring the race card when signing the Grammy-winning rapper to Aftermath Records over a decade ago in the new issue of XXL.
Within his feature, the “Doc” admits risk-taking has always been a part of his resume.
“Yeah, throughout my career, I’ve always tried to take certain risks,” Dre explained. “Even at the beginning, with ‘F*ck Tha Police.’ I’ve always tried to take certain risks, and as far as Em goes, I always felt like nobody can deny it’s good. I feel like, if I hadn’t met Em or we hadn’t linked up, he would eventually have become a success anyway. Because he’s so talented. I was just fortunate enough to meet him first and open the door for him. As far as the race thing goes, when I heard Em for the first time, I didn’t even know he was White. I just knew I wanted to work with him. And that kind of actually made it better for me, because it was so different. As a creator and innovator, nothing can beat that, and that’s all I was looking at. It was a new and creative thing that sounds different and looks different, and we got along. We had fun making those records in the early days, and still. We still have the same energy today that we had the first day we went in the studio. And we still have that level of passion for it.” (XXL Magazine)
Em inked a record deal with Dre’s Aftermath Records in 1998 and soon after released his multi-platinum debut, The Slim Shady LP.
The Slim Shady EP opened many doors, the most notable of them being a contract with Interscope Records. After Eminem came in second at the 1997 Rap Olympics MC Battle in Los Angeles, Interscope head Jimmy Iovine sought out the rapper, giving the EP to Dr. Dre, who proved eager to work with Eminem. They quickly cut Em’s Interscope debut in the fall of 1998 — during which time Marshall reconciled with Kim and married her — and The Slim Shady LP appeared early in 1999, preceded by the single “My Name Is.” Both were instant blockbusters and Eminem turned into a lightning rod for attention, earning praise and disdain for his violent, satirical fantasias. (All Music)
Despite Em’s success, rap newcomer Yelawolf recently said he felt it would take years before white rappers could be treated equally.
“Years and years of great white artists. It’s going to take more classics from white artists that make international impacts,” Yela said about clearing out discrimination. “I mean Rock n’ Roll is black music, but there were plenty talented white Rock n’ Roll that just kind of made that line disappear. It’s going to take decades. It won’t happen in my lifetime. The odds are just slim for a white artist in Hip-Hop. This is a black culture… it’s just something you have to respect and appreciate. Have to be thankful that you’re able to do it. Do what you do and love what you do. You have to be passionate about what you do and let it live.” (All Hip Hop)
Last April, Paul Wall explained why he cannot be compared with Em.
“Everybody raised me to believe I was a kid and an individual. So me being White or any other characteristic didn’t define who I was,” he explained in an interview. “So I didn’t carry myself as a White person. I am who I am. I also think I’m wise enough to know you can’t compare me to Eminem due to his success andstyle. Also my sound was different. Coming from Texas there’s a large Mexican and Jamaican population so it’s multiracial. So my fan base is extremely multiracial so that has something to do with it, too.” (XXL Mag)
Check out some recent Dr. Dre footage below: