With Eminem’s 10th album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, set for release on November 5, his fans are expecting to see the rapper dominate the charts. But 13 years ago, Shady was still digesting the fact that he was actually recording with Dr. Dre.
Over the past 13 years, we’ve seen Eminem and Dr. Dre team up for hits like “Guilty Conscience” and star alongside each other in the accompanying videos — who could forget watching Em and Dre play the very convincing roles of good vs. evil? — but early on, the Detroit native was acutely aware of the moment when it all began.
“The point where I actually knew that I made it was the first day I went to Dre’s house and we recorded three songs in less than six hours,” Eminem told MTV News in an interview from 2000. “It was like every beat that he made, I had a rhyme to either go with it, or sat down and wrote one right there and went in the studio and just spit as best as I could.
“I was really out to impress him, to show him what I could do,” he added. “And when I saw Dre nodding his head and laughing at some of the things that I was saying, I was like, ’I’m in. I made it.’ That’s finally when I realized, ’This is my big break.’ ”
After reflecting on those first moments with his mentor, Em added that landing his first “MTV buzz clip” was another early career milestone, which had his manager Paul Rosenberg “wide-eyed” with delight.
But while Eminem felt his movement growing, he was also well aware of the criticism that surrounded his rise in the rap game.
“When I first came out, I rarely read an interview where it wasn’t something to do with me being white or something to do with the lyric content,” he said. “Nobody ever really said, ’This kid’s got talent, he’s able to put words together in an incredible way.’ I never heard anything really positive like, ’This kid can rap.’
“I felt like I was being overlooked as far as having any talent or anything,” he added. “I felt like my talent was secondary and everybody wanted to keep talking about my lyrics.”
No matter what those critics said at the time, it clearly didn’t derail Eminem’s success, as he went on to become the best-selling artists of the past decade .