Eminem has become the latest artist to annotate his work on Genius, adding over 40 annotations on some of his earliest work, some of his biggest hits, and even 50 Cent’s “In Da Club.” Here are the seven best things we learned from his notes.
1. He was served with a lawsuit from his mother at an album signing, right after his big break with “My Name Is.”
“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.”
2. “In Da Club” was chosen as 50 Cent’s first single by chance.
“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.”
3. He didn’t think people would like “Stan” because it’s too long.
“I remember Mark The 45 King sent me that beat. And when I first heard it, I was like, ‘Holy shit.’ But I didn’t know it was going to be so big. When I was writing it, I just thought, ‘Whoa, people are going to get sick of this because it goes on for so long.’”
4. He thought losing a rap battle would’ve ended his career, when it eventually got him signed with Dr. Dre.
“I went to the [Rap] Olympics, got all the way to the end, and then lost to the last guy. The guy who won was Otherwize, from LA. It was a local thing. They had a bunch of crowd support there. When I rapped, he went and hid behind a video screen. He walked away while I was rapping. I didn’t have anyone to battle! I’d never been in a situation like that before. I went through a lot of people to get through to the end, and then he walked away while I was rapping. I’m like, ‘What the fuck do I do?’ I was devastated.
I come off stage. I’m like, that’s it. It’s over for me. This kid from Interscope, Dean Geistlinger, walks over and he asks me for a copy of the CD. So I kind of just chuck it at him. It was The Slim Shady EP. We come back to Detroit, I have no fucking home, no idea what I’m gonna do. Then, a couple weeks later, we get a call. Marky Bass said, ‘Yo, we got a call from a doctor!’”
5. Proof inspired him to create his alter ego, Slim Shady.
“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.”
6. He’s a comic-book nerd.
“I’ve always been into comic books. Spider-Man, Hulk, old Batmans, Supermans — mostly vintage Marvel shit from before I was born. Just being able to have those pieces of history is crazy. I would not want to face off with somebody comparing comic book knowledge, but I know a pretty good amount.”
7. He thinks of his writing like a Lisa Lampanelli sketch.
“When I’m pushing boundaries, I want to make sure that I keep myself in check. I want you to know that this rhyme might be fucked up or funny or not, or whatever. I’m aware of it and I know I’m probably fucked up for saying it.
I don’t think it’s any different than what comedians do. Have you ever seen Lisa Lampanelli? She takes the piss out of herself while she says these ridiculous things. You’re like, ‘That was fucked up,’ and then she comes right behind it with some self-deprecating thing about herself. She’s figured out a way to weave certain things together that’s very clever.”