NEW YORK — Eminem found himself on the defensive Tuesday (November 18) after The Source magazine owners Ray Benzino and Dave Mays held a press conference to play a recording of the MC delivering racial slurs.
On the first of two tracks purportedly recorded in 1993, an audibly young male, who says he’s Eminem raps, “All the girls I like to bone have big butts/ No they don’t, ’cause I don’t like that n—– sh–/ I’m just here to make a bigger hit.”
The second track, made in 1988, featured Eminem rapping about a black girlfriend he broke up with. “Blacks and whites, they sometimes mix/ But black girls only want your money, ’cause they dumb chicks,” he rhymes. Later in the freestyle Em raps, “Never date a black girl, because they only want your money/ And that sh– ain’t funny.”
The first track was only a few lines long, but the second track went on for several minutes with Em — seemingly rhyming off the top of his head — repeatedly saying he did not like black girls and that they were only out to get money. Both tracks sounded amateurish.
“Don’t make this right now a double standard,” Benzino said at the press conference. “We gotta treat this the same way you treat Mike Tyson, like you treat Kobe Bryant, like you treat R. Kelly, like you treat O.J. Simpson.”
Eminem responded to the latter track on Tuesday by insisting he isn’t racist and explaining that the recording was made when he was just 15, foolish and angry.
“Ray Benzino, Dave Mays and The Source have had a vendetta against me, Shady Records and our artists for a long time,” Eminem said in a statement. “The tape they played today was something I made out of anger, stupidity and frustration when I was a teenager. I’d just broken up with my girlfriend, who was African-American, and I reacted like the angry, stupid kid I was. I hope people will take it for the foolishness that it was, not for what somebody is trying to make it into today.”
Eminem’s manager, Paul Rosenberg, said Wednesday that neither he nor Eminem had “heard or heard of” the first track Benzino and Mays played.
Eminem, 50 Cent and the rest of the Shady/Aftermath team have had a long-running feud with The Source, fueled by Benzino’s accusations that the media operate on a double standard when it comes to the multiplatinum white MC and that an artist of color could never get away with saying some of the things Em says in his music (see “Benzino Ignites Beef By Calling Eminem ’2003 Vanilla Ice’” ).
After their comments, Benzino and Mays refused to entertain questions about the tape and its origins. They did say they plan to include a CD of the Eminem recordings in February’s issue, and they promised another press conference concerning Eminem will be held in the future, when they’ll answer questions and have civic leaders and members of the hip-hop community on hand.
[This story was updated at 4:58 p.m. ET on 11.19.2003]