FEATURE: Eminem, Underground

[Editor's Note: These are outtakes from the edited discography that appears in the June 2009 issue of XXL. In the outtakes, Talib Kweli, Bun B and fellow Detroit MCs Elzhi and Guilty Simpson revisit Eminem's underground days and speak on the first time they realized Em's star potential.]

Proof hit me up, this was about [94]. Proof hit me up, we used to always talk about patterns and shit and rhyme schemes, so you know we connected like that. So one day he hit me up with Em on the phone, introducing me to him I ain’t never heard of him or whatnot so he had Em spit for me and so Em spit probably like a 16 bar verse and at the end of it he said, “How’d you like it?” I said it was dope and he was like, “I bet you ain’t know he was white though?” I was like, “that’s crazy” and from there I knew he had skills and I started seeing him at the hip-hop shop [in Detroit]. He was coming through ripping. I knew he was a star at the shop by how he battled. Man, he got this one dude, my mans was nice too, his name was IQ. Man he went on and on, he did like an eight or 10 bar run that go with [the] initials I.Q so he was calling him illiterate queer all type of stuff I was like, “man, this cat is crazy.” So I knew he had that star quality when I seen him live in action at the shop.

Guilty Simpson
The first time I figured out he can rhyme would probably be “ I Just Don’t Give A Fuck.” That was the first time I heard from him. I was like, “who is this, what is this?” That was a song where I knew he was a lyrical beast. When I knew he was a star would probably be when he dropped the “My Name Is” video. It was pop but it was still hip-hop, it was lyrical, and it was funny.

Bun B
I think “Without Me,” that’s when I realized that he wasn’t going anywhere. I couldn’t see what the fuck the plan was. He started being so critical of himself and then critical of his past. If you really think about that song, “What is hip-hop without him?” Shit is boring. Thank God for him and Ludacris, if not for them Hip-hop would be a bunch of serious niggas sitting around posing harder than a motherfucker.

Talib Kweli
When I first realized he was gonna blow up is at the time Eminem started he got signed to Aftermath. Black Star, we had just put our album out, we were a force to be reckoned with, people was fucking with Mos Def and myself and we were doing a show called Brooklyn Vermont and it was hosted by Green Lantern. This might have been the first time Eminem met Green Lantern now that I think about it unless he met him before. It was hosted by Green Lantern and it was in Vermont and it was like a skiing resort and we were headlining and Eminem was suppose to open up but from the time the show was booked to the actual time of the event, “My Name Is” had dropped and Eminem got on the cover of Rolling Stone and he had dyed his hair blonde for the video.

And it’s like… ok, like to me I see it was a conflict of interest for me cause I seen him come up through the ranks, I seen him do his thing, I seen him battle the best of the best, there is no taking his stripes away from him, so I felt like I gave him his props but to see him with his first single ever on the cover of Rolling Stone with blonde hair that fucked me up because cause I’m like, “yo who gets on the cover with one single out?” What black rapper would do that no matter how big they are, they would never do that so I realized that Eminem no longer belonged to me, no longer belonged to us like the community that I was involved with. It was like, “ok something way bigger is going on here.” When we did the show…. I’m not sure [if] we had to switch the order or he just got more response that we got, I’m trying to remember then, but I remember soon after that show I realized like, “ok, these dudes out here, these white boys from Vermont, they came to see Eminem they ain’t come to see Black Star.” Like, I realized Eminem was the draw for his show. -Compiled by Jesse Gissen and Rob Markman

Recommended for You

Around the Web

Best of XXL


    DAMN, MORE EM! there are other rappers you know. XXL makes it seem like 50, rick ross, and eminem are the only rappers out!

    • Jamal7Mile

      What’s up DETROIT?

      I feel ya, man, but I love Em… I must’ve been standing right next to Elzhi on one of them days at The Hip Hop Shop. I saw Em get busy on the mic and I was straight up dumbfounded. Proof was the star attraction at that joint, but DAMN if Em wasn’t trying to catch up to him. This is BEFORE Aftermath and MTV! And Em was high as Hell, too!! Ha!

      Oh yeah, I saw that you were the ONLY one who knew who No Face was, lol!! We OLD, homie!!! LOL!

      • Detroit Draper

        Lol yea yall may be old cus I have no idea who no face is and Im a young dude who’s well versed in the classics

        • Jamal7Mile

          What up Drap3r?!

          LOL, yup I’m getting a lil dusty with the D.O.B. numbers. Can’t speak for DETROIT but he seems to be WELL VERSED with classic Hip Hop as well. I probably even met him before and I just don’t know it yet.

          No Face had a quick 15 mins in ’91 or ’92, but they were funny as hell! I mentioned them in the “Wacknificent” blog. They are not easy to find on YouTube (due to typos in the headline) and their album is even more harder to find since it’s out of print.

          They have a vid with 2 Live Crew and they are one-hit wonders with a song called “Fake Hair Wearing Bitch.” They wore BIG hats and Ed Lover (MTV/radio) co-signed them big time. And the album, while not too lyrical, is VERY enjoyable!

        • Detroit Draper

          “Fake hair wearin bitch” lmao and cosigned by Ed Lover kinda like the prerequisite to being a one hit wonder lol. But I saw the ?mark Draper’s my name.

        • Jamal7Mile

          Yeah man, sadly they were one-hitters. But don’t forget that I said they were highly enjoyable!

          And Draper, everyone knows that you are “Detroit Draper” and that you are having trouble with your screen name and XXL bleeping it out. Send an e-mail to Harris Publishing and tell them your beef. Go to the very bottom of this page and click on CONTACT XXL.

          That should do it homie.

          BTW, 7 Mile and Meyers is my spot. I don’t go to clubs that much anymore, but since you’re younger than me, what’s the hottest spot(s) nowadays? I hung out at Legends and (pick any) titty bar on 8 Mile near Livernois. LOL!!

        • Detroit Draper

          Well Im not much the club type either but I guess any where downtown. I use to stay in the King Homes if you ever heard of em but club Intus right on Lafayette and St. Aubin is a good 26 and up crowd and it be bangin. They changed the name to somethin else though not too long ago but it stay packed.

      • http://tonygrands.blogspot.com Tony Grand$

        @ 7Mile

        Nah, I was just picking up my kids from school when you asked………….

        “Haaaaaaaaalf, of evrythang I own – (my girl has leeeeeft me – now I’m dry as a boooone!), haaaaaaaalf (oh she took half), of evrythang I own -”

        Ha! Just couldn’t respond, juice.

    • J_Huztl

      datz cuz they da hottest n best on da scene…tha only otha one that should be thr wit all them is TIP

    • lent

      XXL only gives info 2 GOOD rappers dumbass

    • hannah

      cos theyr the best rappers out! jk they r good but i c what ur sayin








  • Joe

    Hey Detroit,

    What do you expect he just came back after 5 years off, of course theres goin 2 b hella stories about him.

  • J

    Is it just me or does Kweli sound bitter? lol

  • Detrot Draper

    I understand what Mos was sayin but that was kinda hate. You cant be mad if white kids from Vermont wanna see another white artist rap.

  • http://-- gaddic

    Finally respectable Mc’s share their their opinion on Eminem…..RELAPSE!!!!

  • Hi Hater!

    one of the best rappers alive is back!


  • j.ezy

    xxl have done the marketing for asher toh and eminem. who needs b.e.t major dick suckers.

  • holla mann

    With rap becoming more of a drama show than a actual art form the good people at Street Commodity Ent. proudly present the best unsigned with lines…… The and only Holla Mann hails from the grimey streets of Flint michigan with the rhyme skill of the best out and the heart of a soldier at his finest. Equipped with enough 16′s to upset your more established artist Holla Mann brings forth his debut mixtape series L.I.V.E Thru ME ( life-in-various-events). The 13 track opus is a soundtrack for those from all aspects of life be it ya’ bodega hustler or your average 9 to 5′er. Holla Mann’s uncanny ability to cover a wide range of genres from gutter,conceptual, lyrical and street gives listeners a reason to feel every track. Known for his metaphors, realism and ability to slaughter verses this force to be wreckoned with in the form of a man will make you holla for more! The world has been awaiting a artist like this, so open ya’ ears’ and put ya’ eye’s forward the futures before you…EXCLUSIVELY ON DATPIFF.COM FOR FREE

  • alien

    All this stuff about Eminem’s hair dye reminds me of 1990 or so, a time when I bleached my hair white-blond. I was in the laundromat in San Francisco, and two black girls were in there, asked me how to get their hair that color. So I told them, with warning that if your hair is dark, you have to leave the bleach on for a long time, like 6 hours, but it could be done. I told my roommies and they made a joke about hey, those black people are stealing our (punk rock) culture. Which was strictly a joke, because we were there gentrifying their neighborhood. Ohhh well. Some of the (black) landlords were making a lot of money renting to us slackers.

    15 years earlier, the punkers got some ear decoration ideas from the Masai and other tribespeople. A lot of Asian cuisines (Thai, Indian, Korean, etc) are famous for using lots of chili peppers, which were brought from the Americas to Asia by the Portuguese and Spanish in the 1500s. Jazz was invented by African Americans playing instruments invented by Europeans for use in classical European music.

    Human cultures play off each other and evolve through exposure to new ideas. Is this a bad thing?

  • Agyemang Evans

    Please send the magazine to the address below
    P.o.box 217[divine healers no.2]
    Ghana -West Africa

  • http://www.mctim.se Mc Tim

    Eminem really made a point with thiz comeback-shit, hes back, better then ever and ready for combat, bitch- and this is really just a keystyle im printing,a keystyle that equals a freestyle,baby,i gotta say:”Whut up Shady?”Relapse iz the shit,dog,some cant stand admitting it,you other cats aint Marshall and you aint spitting the way hes spitting it,myself?A white cat,have also been thru rehabs and relapses,so i can relate to his raps just/enough to make another day,this guys enjoying it and making sense/what the fuck would rap be in this mans goddamn abscence??? Mc Tim.