hands of Interscope Records‘ Jimmy Iovine and LA hip hop production svengali Dr Dre. The Slim Shady LP was born and the rest, as they say, is hip hop history.

The young Marshall Mathers was brought up by his mother, a woman he depicts as uncaring and wild and who bounced, jobless. from family member to family member until each got sick of them and they settled in East Detroit. Today he is decid- edly reticent on the subject of the lawsuit recently brought against him by his mother who. according to the lyrics of ‘My Name Is’, ‘does more dope than Ido’.

‘I don’t think it’s going to happen,’ he surmises. ‘I wasn’t surprised. my mother is kind of like that.’ Neglect appears to have played a big part in his life. ‘If I didn’t have a fucked-up childhood, I wouldn’t have anything to talk about.’ Other than his thirteen-year-old brother Nate, there is no love lost between Eminem and the rest of his family. ‘I’ve got family members crawling out of the woodwork now. They never wanted to know me before.’

Eminem’s mentor and producer Dr Dre raised more than a few eyebrows when he took the peroxide rapper under his wing. Could this be one of hip hop’s biggest names selling out and hooking up with a white kid? Eminem has, as the Beastie Boys once put it. ‘the skills to pay the bills’ his talent as a rapper is undeniable. His circular, stream-of—conscious rhyming style and swift turn of phrase are rarely heard by mainstream audiences, and serve as a welcome antidote to the flood of Puff Daddy recycled rap pap which saturates the British charts.

As one of the current pariahs for the Right in the US, Eminem is in good company with Dr Dre. No stranger to controversy, in early 90s Dre, as part of NWA (Niggaz With Attitude), saw his album Efi14zaggin reach number one in the US charts despite being banned by many stores across America for its inflammatory and violent content. Dre also pioneered the ‘West Coast gangster rap sound’, a hip hop production style fusing samples from funk and soul with weighty basslines and rhymes glamorising gangster life.

Eminem maintains he has no problems dealing with fame, but is decidedly offhand about the debate concerning who’s answerable to accusations over the effects of his music. ‘I don’t consider myself a role model,’ he declares. ‘I’m not trying to give a message to little kids ifI was, I’d say do the opposite of what I do. There’s a clean and a dirty version of my album, and I’m not going to censor myself because parents aren’t keeping an eye on what their kids are listening to.’ As to claims of being the Marilyn Manson of rap, Eminem is doubtful. ‘Marilyn Manson is corny. I respect him for being trying to be different, but there’s only so far you can take it. I don’t like the comparison and I don’t give a fuck what people say.’

This is where the chinks in Eminem’s armour begin to appear. When put in the position where he must take responsibility for his music or face criticism, he just claims ‘not to give a fuck’. He simply brushes aside arguments over the possible effect of music on the youth of America: ‘Those kids in Denver [who shot their schoolmates allegedly after listening to Marilyn Manson] were crazy to begin with. If it wasn’t Marilyn Manson, it would have been Eminem or a movie that inspired them. Kids like that are already mentally disturbed and do what they do regardless. I grew up on NWA and 2 Live Crew, and I never shot nobody.’

'I grew up on NWA and 2 Live Crew, and I never shot nobody.’


Eminem plays Barrowland, Glasgow on Wed 10 Nov.

An Evening of Spoken Word with


Wednesday 24th November, Queens Hall, Edinburgh

Tickets: 0131 667 7776 Virgin and Ripping

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