The real Slim Shady stood up, with gratitude. And a pair of reading glasses. Joining a small inner circle of performers who were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with their first year of eligibility, Eminem used most of his speech at the 2022 ceremony to acknowledge the thrill of being alive and well enough to enjoy the honor — something he couldn’t have fathomed while looking back at certain choices that have shaded his life and career.
“I realize what an honor it is right now to be here up here tonight, and what a privilege it is to do the music that I love,” he explained. “Music basically saved my life … I’ll keep this as painless as possible. I’m fucking stuttering and shit. I’m probably not supposed to actually be here tonight because of a couple of reasons. One, I know that I’m a rapper, and this is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. There’s only a few of us who have been inducted already. Secondly, I almost died from an overdose in 2007, which kind of sucked.” Addressing his 26-year-old daughter in the audience, he added: “Hailie, plug your ears. Because drugs were fucking delicious. I thought we had a good thing going on, but I had to go and fuck it all up. Goddamn.” Don’t worry, Em was also in silly form: He insisted Dr. Dre, a longtime collaborator who inducted him, tell the audience that “I have a huge penis.”
Perhaps the most memorable slice of Eminem’s segment was the performance medley, which featured a scarf-wielding Steven Tyler for “Sing for the Moment” (a track that samples Aerosmith’s “Dream On”) and Ed Sheeran on vocals and guitars for “Stan,” taking over the part made famous by Dido. It’s this type of breezy sonic dexterity that makes you realize how an “unassuming white guy from Detroit,” as Dre put it, became the best-selling artist in rap history while “holding a mirror up to white America.”
More From This Year's Rock Hall...
- Pat Benatar on the Most Defiant and Empowering Music of Her Career
- The Highs, Lows, and Whoas of the 2022 Rock Hall Induction Ceremony
- Alanis Morissette Says She Quit Rock Hall Performance Over Sexist Production