Eminem is cocked, loaded and back in the game. His would-be-mixtape-turned-compilation-LP, Eminem Presents the Re-Up, is headed to #2 on the Billboard albums chart, and as the 309,000 fans who copped the disc have found out, he has a whole new arsenal of artists he's working on.
Of course you're already familiar with 50 Cent (whose Before I Self Destruct LP is coming in early 2007) and Obie Trice (whose third effort is due next Christmas or in early 2008), but who exactly are the new guys? If you don't know them already, buckle up: You're about to get real familiar as we run down some of Slim Shady's latest recruits:
Name: The Alchemist
Role: The Re-Up producer; Eminem's DJ; top-flank producer for Mobb Deep, the Lox and G-Unit
Down Since: 2005, when Em's DJ at the time, Green Lantern, abruptly parted ways with the camp
Re-Up Experience: "We pulled it off," he said. "It started out like a mixtape for the street and developed into this. Everyone is working on their albums, and they have to go in and make these songs that will be big. You expect that from a major artist, but to go in and just do stuff for the mixtape and put it in the stores is dope. This fits perfectly on a mixtape because everyone was just being themselves. I put [the album sequence] together like how I do my mixtapes. I went to Detroit and hooked up with Em. He gave me a couple of days to piece the joint together. It wasn't about using a bunch of intricate blends; it's about delivering you to the next song. It had to flow."
2007 Business: "Chemical Warfare is the name of the new sh--," Al said about his next solo release, which could very well come out independently. "It's hard. I'm just waiting for the right time, crafting my records; in the meantime, I'm dropping mixtapes. When it shapes to what I want it to be, I'll start promoting my album and it'll be dropping. Without blowing up, I'm working with most of the usual suspects: the Mobb, I'm also collaborating with the Shady/G-Unit camp. I'm rhyming a little more, having more fun making records. It's still about my beats though."
From: Orange County, California, by way of Chicago
Role: Spearhead the next wave of Shady Records' dope MCs
Down Since: "I got signed on March 7, 2006," he said. Ca$his was called off the bench when Em heard "Talkin' All That Sh--," one of the first songs he recorded for the label. He got his name years ago, though, because his trash-talking reminded friends of Cassius Clay, a.k.a. Muhammad Ali.
Re-Up Experience: "It's a good look," he said. "I'm honored to be a part of this album. I'm extremely honored to be a part of that single ['You Don't Know']. This time last year, I never thought I would be on anything Eminem-affiliated. It's overwhelming, but it pushes me to write even harder because I don't ever want anybody to feel I have a spot I don't deserve. I go hard like I don't have a record deal."
2007 Business: "I got an EP dropping late January, County Hound," he said. "I'm mixing it down. I call it that because I used to live in Cook County, Chicago, then moved to Orange County, California. And I've been to county jail.
"Then the album should be [dropping] sometime this summer. It's called Forks and Six Point Stars. I'm working with Alchemist, I got some joints from Emile, [(+44) drummer] Travis Barker, Jelly Roll, supposed to go in with DJ Quik, I have over 200 songs recorded for the album. Anything we do now is just the finishing touches. I'm gonna do like 30 more songs. Me and Em gotta go back in too. Every time I go to Em's crib in Detroit, I walk out with 15 songs. I'm getting something from [Dr. Dre] too."
Name: Bobby Creekwater
Role: Ride that Down South momentum to international fame as an MC
Down Since: This time last year. He was discovered by Shady A&R Director Riggs Morales.
Re-Up Experience: "Em, he's definitely ... dude is more focused, and he re-energized us. Being able to see a veteran that has reached the top of the food chain as far as music is concerned, we aspire to get to that point. Seeing him motivates us to go that much more harder. The energy [in the studio] is crazy. As a MC, you don't wanna be the one not coming with it. You might hear somebody bussin' and say, 'Let me get back to the pen and pad.' "
2007 Business: "Bobby is my grandfather's name," the ATL native began to explain about the origins of his moniker, while giving a little insight into his debut LP. "Creekwater, the full meaning of that name, is on the Brilliant Mistake album — my solo album, which comes out first quarter 2007. That title came from a conversation I had with my mother talking about child birth. You have people that plan to have children and children are sometimes things of circumstance. I asked her, 'Was I a child of circumstance or was I planned?' She said I wasn't planned. So I said, 'I was a mistake then?' She said, 'God don't make mistakes. Even if he did, it would be a brilliant mistake.'
"I'm working with all in-house [artists] thus far. I'm probably mid-point and haven't went outside my camp thus far."
Name: Stat Quo
From: Statlanta, Georgia
Role: Live up to his hype from a few years ago, when he emerged on the mixtape circuit rapping on a Dr. Dre beat
Down Since: "I signed officially ... it's been three years now," he said.
Re-Up Experience: "We went in the studio, everyone got to vibing and the music came out crazy," Stat said of the project. "Em was like, 'Let's make it an album.' It's a family thing. Sometimes hard times bring people closer together. The struggle, the strife brought everybody closer together. Em is killing it. He's almost done with his album, 50 is almost done with his album and Dre is coming in September."
2007 Business: "I feel like my album is not just an array of songs," Stat said. "I feel it's a total experience. When you listen to my music, it's taking you to another place, and that place is Statlanta. I'm working with Dr. Dre, Eminem, L.T. Mo, Three 6 Mafia, DJ Toomp, Scott Storch." Look for Stat first quarter of '07 as well.