When Dr Dre got word of a white kid from Detroit that was being widely touted as the best freestyle in the world, his interest was piqued. The former N.W.A man was slowly earning his stripes as a producer and, while working with Jimmy Iovine at Interscope Records, was looking for new talent to really launch himself into the stratosphere. Of course, that kid would be Eminem and he would deliver on all the promises made for him.
Below, we’re revisiting the dynamic duo shortly after Eminem’s success was apparent. The rare footage shows not only the two men frittering away some time in the studio in the year 2000 but also dropping the odd freestyle too. it’s essential viewing for any hip hop head.
Eminem’s big break came in 1997 when he made an appearance at the Rap Olympics. Although he finished second, in the long run, Eminem proved to be the real winner as, in a fortuitous slice of luck, an intern from Interscope Records was in attendance and immediately knew that Shady was destined for greatness. Following the performance, the intern passed it on to the label’s head honcho Jimmy Iovine, who was in total awe. “I heard something in the kid who gave it to me,” Dre’s partner in crime, Jimmy Iovine, told Rolling Stone. “He was 19, an intern.”
“He said, ‘I heard a tape on the street, at this rapathon.’ I said, ‘Tell you what – people helped me a lot when I was your age. I’m gonna do something for you. Bring me the CD, and I’ll play it to Dre. I trust you enough.’ It was a combination of the kid and what I heard. And it all came together. But that’s producing.
“I put him with Dre. I listen to music in my gym. Dre came by. I said, ‘Before you leave, take this. It’s a white rapper who sounds like his pants are on fire. He’s one pissed-off white guy.’ He says, ‘OK, I’ll check it out.’ — Dre says about six words a day. He calls me when he gets home: ‘Have this kid out here on Monday.’”
What ensued was an iconic rise to stardom as Eminem unlocked the gate to mainstream hip hop success. Using his innate oddball sensibilities, he and Dre delivered countless off-the-wall records that shaped an entire generation and it is within this moment of creative zenith that we find our footage below.
Capturing Dre and Eminem in their natural habitat — the studio — the footage showcases all of the brevity, bravado and joyful bounce the two men would bring to the world over the next few years.