Eminem, Slim Shady, Marshall Mathers. Who is he? Why do we see him all over magazines and television shows that no other rapper has graced before (Except Snoop) for all the wrong reasons? What's all the ruckus surrounding him anyway? Where is he going lyrically? When exactly did Dr. Dre see the light in this white kid from middle America and when will the madness diminish? Ask a few of the millions and the millions that continue to buy his albums weekly. Ask the kids who want his poster on their walls or the dirty versions of his cd's when they're only 11, 12, and 13 years old. Have you even listened to his cd's? Does anybody care? Well, we decided to get next to Mr. Slim Mathers aka Marshall Shady and ask him 20 Questions for your sake. Catching him backstage at the Up In Smoke East Coast leg in Hartford, CONN was no easy feat, but Kron-ron did it again! And nearly everyone (including Animal) told me when Kronick set out to do this, "FAT CHANCE!"
KRON: As I sit at home and watch all these special talk shows on CNN and MSNBC devoted to Eminem's lyrics, I have to wonder is this how you planned it?
EMINEM: I guess I couldn't have asked for anything better. I think it's funny how people make such a big fuckin' stink because that's why I did it; so they would make a big stinkin' fuss! Really, I didn't talk about anything that really isn't going on in America anyways. Nobody would say shit if I didn't say somethin' about Homosexuals. But as soon as you talk about Homosexuals, Gay people are really uptight I guess.
KRON: Why do you think America is so uptight about Gays and Lesbians?
EMINEM: Well this is the thing. When I recorded my first album, I had somethin' on there where I said the "fag" word a couple of times and it got blown outta proportion. Like the Ken Kaniff skit and all that shit got blown out of proportion. That's when Journalists started asking me if I was Homophobic. And I got asked the question so much that it kind of backed me up into a corner like I started taking it defensively. They didn't even know me! I make a couple of comments and muthafuckers think I'm Homophobic. Well OK, yea I am! And it just evolved into this thing where people started calling me shit, so I just became whatever they said I was.
KRON: So who do you think is more twisted, you or the media?
EMINEM: I think the world is more twisted. The world is fuckin' twisted because the world made me. So when I talk about shit, it ain't as bad as priests raping kids or people having sex with underage women and shit like that. You got all kinds of fucked up shit goin' on like corrupt Politicians and shit like that. All I do a lot of times is talk about it and put it into character. And when I say it, it'll make it seem like I'm makin' it right or OK to do that, or I'm makin' it funny. But really, all I'm doin' is takin' what's wrong with the world and making it into music.
KRON: Is all this furor and uproar over your lyrics a game to you like Parker Brothers, or is it more like Chess?
EMINEM: I would say a little bit of both because it's a game. It's kinda fun to sit back and watch the media play right into my hands. But at the same time it's kinda like Chess because I don't think they know what my next move is gonna be. It's important for me to keep that mystique about me so that people don't know what I'm gonna do next, or say next.
KRON: So have people like Geraldo or Night Line's Ted Koppel invited you on their programs to express yourself to them or whoever they might want you to debate?
EMINEM: First of all, they can suck my dick 'cause I ain't gotta explain shit to no-fuckin'-body. This is Freedom of Speech and they have the freedom to listen or the freedom to not listen. For parents; if you don't want your fuckin' kids to listen to it, then pay attention to what your kids are listening to! Don't let `em listen! I don't gotta sit there and explain to these cocky Caucasians a Goddamn thing! We got the First Amendment and I'm protected under that. Anything else, they can suck my dick. I can say what I wanna say just like they can.
KRON: What about drugs? As in, "How many of you muthafuckas out there are high on drugs?" And when did you start gettin' Dopey like the Seven Dwarves?
EMINEM: When did I start gettin' Dopey? When did I start doin' drugs, you mean? Uuuuhm, not 'til I became a Rap star. I think it forced me into it. I get so much shit that it's almost like that's how I gotta go through my day. I can honestly say that I've mellowed out compared to last year. But it doesn't mean that I've been completely good.
KRON: Is there anything left that's sacred to Eminem, Slim Shady, or Marshall Mathers.
EMINEM: Yea, my personal life. I kinda put it out there like I don't have anything to hide. But at the same time, I try to keep a certain level of privacy. It doesn't seem to work all the time. But by me puttin' my daughter's name and my wife Kim in my songs, it puts it out there where people think it's OK to talk about 'em, or it's OK to do this and do that, whatever... No it's not! That's for me to say. It's kinda like if you had a beef with a family member and somebody else tried to beef with 'em. Well, you'd stick up for that family member and you'd protect 'em to the end. Just because I talk about my daughter and put her in my songs, or I say something about Kim in my songs, doesn't give you the right or nobody else to talk about 'em and feel free to do so. So I try to keep that certain level of privacy with my daughter who I hold sacred, of course. Everything that happens now in my personal life seems to fuckin' hit the news like the news will just come on if there was nothin' about me, and muh'fuckas would just be sittin' there tappin' a pencil on a desk goin (in his best white newscaster voice), "OK, we're waitin' for some breakin' news on Eminem, and uh, let's go to commercial".
KRON: You know it's an election year. And I'm sure you remember back in `92 what they did with Ice-T, 2Pac, and Sista Souljah, politically. Are you planning on being this year's Hip Hop bull's-eye for G.W. Bush or Al Gore?
EMINEM: I'm not really planning on it but I probably will be. Especially because of the shit that's goin' on in my personal life, which I'm kind of regrettin' now because it's like I'm starting to play into their hands and own up to being exactly what they thought I was. Which is not the case, but it's kinda like you get all caught up in the Hype. Like 2Pac got caught up in it and a lot of Rappers get caught up in this thing where it's like not necessarily trying to live up to your image, but people wanna constantly test you. When you feel tested, if you're a real muthafucka, you're gonna act how you would normally act. Fuck the fame, fuck anything. You're gonna act how you're gonna act. But as far as me being a target or bull's-eye or whatever, I probably would be a prime candidate right now because I'm selling so many records. If I wasn't selling this many records, then nobody would think twice about me. But because I am, it's almost like I gotta watch what I say an' shit like that.
KRON: Was it important to you to gain the respect of the Black Hip Hop audience? Because you gotta understand how much Niggaz LOVE your shit! I'm not trying to sound Racist, but was the Black audience more important to you at the beginning or at one point, than the white audience?
EMINEM: Yes and no. It's kind of a hard question to answer. I wanted the respect of Hip Hop heads, period! White, Black, whatever! I just wanted the respect of people who really loved Hip Hop and appreciated the art form. I wanted those people to say that I was Dope. That's what I wanted for more than anything. And yea, I do Black Music and there is no denying that. And of course I want my peers to like what I do and respect it. That comes first before anything. Like a Hip Hop Quotable in The Source and a Cover of that magazine means more to me than any Rolling Stone, any Spin, or anything I can get outside of Hip Hop. I mean, The Source is a magazine that we all grew up on as the Bible of Hip Hop. And it was like a dream to make it into Unsigned Hype. Then I did. And then I thought it would be the shit to get a quotable, which was the next thing that I really wanted. I got that. Then I got the Cover and now I feel like I'm getting the respect that I feel I deserve.
KRON: Since you brought up another publication, I have to say Double XL, Double XL...
EMINEM: Fuck them, fuck them, they're some fuckin' faggots! That magazine is first of all fuckin' Racist. They're fuckin' faggots! That whole magazine! Fuck them as a fuckin' staff: fuck the people that work there; fuck `em all! They won't tell you this in their little fuckin' magazine, but the real reason that all the beef started was because my Publicist called them and asked them when I first got signed to Aftermath if they would do a story on Eminem. They flat out said no and that they weren't doin' no stories on no white Rappers, period. So my Publicist called me back and said every publication is good and they all wanna do a story except for Double XL. When I asked why not them, and she told me that they ain't doin' no stories on no white Rappers, period; I told her, 'Alright, fine. Fuck `em!' Then as soon as "My Name Is" came out and I was on MTV and the album started sellin' and it became big, then Double XL called back and said , "OK, we wanna do a story on Eminem." So when my Publicist called me again, I told her to tell them to go fuck themselves. So she passed on the story and that's why we have beef. Not because of what they made it look like when they wrote that first fucked up article on me calling me a Culture Stealin' Invader, and AmeriKKKa's Great White Hope, and all that shit. They did that article dissin' me because we declined to interview. But they dissed me first! And they were so quick to pre-judge me and then it blew up in their face and they were hurt about it. They called and wanted to do a strory and I was like, 'Nah, fuck you! You shouldn't have been so closed minded in the beginning!' And then they was talkin' about how they wanted to squash the beef and another picture comes out with a drawing of me & my mother and she's beating me with a Double XL paddle. And they're callin' us at the same time talkin' about how they wanna squash the beef? Fuck you! Suck my dick! And they're very lucky that the shit doesn't fucking snowball into Dre not wanting to do shit wit' `em, and Snoop, and everybody! Then they wouldn't have a magazine! Now they put me on the cover anyway without an interview because they're mad. They're bitter because they can't reach me or talk to me. First of all, their magazine is crumbling as it is. So I gave them a shout out on the fuckin' album. And I meant for them to sell more magazines. They wrote back in the article how that was the biggest commercial they could have. No shit! I did that on purpose so they could sell their fuckin' wack Racist magazine.
KRON: Is "Stan" on the new album the same Stan from "Guilty Conscience"? (He stares into space for at least 10 seconds) You know, the guy who raped the girl at the Frat Party?
EMINEM: (Smiling) That's a good question. I never thought about that. Nah, but it could be!!
KRON: And since we are in Connecticut, have you got any calls or run into Ken Kaniff yet? And what are you gonna do if he crosses your path tonight?
EMINEM: (Using a raspy Ken voice) I don't know. I haven't heard from Ken in a little while but I'm hoping that he'll be here tonight. (Changing back to himself and addressing his sidekick Proof who just stepped into the crapping stall next to where we're conducting this backstage/bathroom interview) You know, I just now thought about that Proof! We're in fucking Connecticut!
PROOF: (responding in between grunts and laughs) We might have to do a little thing like, "I'm glad to be home!"
EMINEM: Yea, I know. I might do some shit like that.
KRON: Were you catching as many cases before you were famous as you are now?
EMINEM: (Eminem, Proof, and the whole D12 erupt in laughter. One of the D12 members yells out "Hella hard, Homie! Gangsta!") Yes and no. I've been arrested a few times for a couple of assault & battery cases and one felonious assault awhile back, but it got thrown out. Me and Proof here (Proof starts laughing) were doin' some things we shouldn't have been doin'. I've had a couple of run-ins with the law, but never anything compared to what's goin' on now.
KRON: Speaking of Proof... (Who's still taking a shit with about 6 minutes before they go on) What's up with Proof, D12, and Shady Records?
PROOF: You know what? Literally, we're gonna shit on you! (The laughter is contagious) It's coming, the next single!
EMINEM: I got a 12 inch droppin' on them in about a month. The single is done and on the B-side is a solo song from me. The only thing we're waitin' on is to shoot the video. We're tryin' to get a couple of days off from this tour so we can shoot the video and hype up the buzz on D12. It's not gonna be nothin' like a commercial release or anything. It's just gonna be a 12 inch to service the DJ's an' shit.
KRON: Would you tell everyone out there in Kronickland who Steve Berman is and where they might have seen him before.
EMINEM: Steve Berman is the head of Marketing and Sales at Interscope. He's the guy that gets in contact with all the stores to order it as soon as your record is done. Steve Berman was in the Dre Day video and he was playing Scary Heller in a cameo where he was talking to Sleazy-E when Dre and Eazy had their beef. But that was Steve's cameo in that video. But you gotta know Steve 'cause he's a character just by the way he talks. So we thought of a skit where we have Steve coming down on me like everyone else does. So we put it together on the album, then we thought it would be perfect to have is ass in the video for "The Way I Am". So that's where you can see Steve Berman.
KRON: What's up with Mushrooms and Vicodin? Are those your drugs of choice?
EMINEM: Mushrooms I haven't fucked with since last year in Phoenix. Me and Proof were playing catch with a football that was hittin' us all in the face and shit. That was a bad day because we had a show to do and we were trying to come down before we went and did the show. We were trying to sober up before we had to go on stage, and that shit just wasn't workin'. And when you do 'shrooms, it puts us on a laugh kick where its like, everything is fuckin' funny. Vicodin is good like, after you've been drinking a lot and you wanna come down from your alcohol buzz an' shit... Pop a Vicodin and you'll be straight! (Kids, do not try this at home!)
KRON: How old should a kid be to listen to a Parental Advisory copy of your album?
KRON: How come there's an extra track on your clean album that's not on the dirty version?
EMINEM: I had too many songs for a 72 minute CD. We had 74 minutes. And I had a "Kid's Song (from South Park)" that I wanted to put on the album. So in order to do that, we felt that the "Kim" song would be too fucked up to put in Wal-Marts and K-Marts even if there was a clean version of that. So we said fuck it and put "Kid's" on the clean version, which is still fucked up because every other word is spun back anyways. And then on the regular dirty version we put the "Kim" song on there.