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Workalcoholics
November 6, 2013 8:50 PM   Subscribe

"We pressed up Infinite. We might have pressed up maybe five hundred, a thousand records tops. We couldn’t give them away. Nobody was feeling it. We don't know why. Then Marshall, I think he was sitting on the toilet making a poop, and he came up with the alter ego. He came into the studio, talking about this alter ego that he has now."
An interview with Jeff Bass
, who, along with his brother Mark, produced and co-wrote Eminem's first two albums (plus Lose Yourself from the 8 Mile soundtrack).

In this 2000 interview with Mix Magazine, Jeff and Mark talk about the more technical aspects of their style, as well as being white in a predominantly black part of the industry:
"Hip hop is a culture," says Marky. "It should have nothing to do with race, color, breed, whatever, but of course it does. As white producers working with black artists, it was always hard to be taken seriously by our peers and by the record companies. Eminem changed that to a great extent; however, we will always have to overcome the fact that we are seen as an anomaly."
posted by mannequito (25 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Man, Infinite is a great album.
posted by Drexen at 9:10 PM on November 6, 2013


Man, white guys got it tough.

In other news, Marky Mark apparently liked rapping to the tune of the world's saddest song being played on the world's tiniest violin.
posted by edheil at 9:20 PM on November 6, 2013


Man, we gotta find a new way to start comments.
posted by nevercalm at 10:45 PM on November 6, 2013 [6 favorites]


Dude.
posted by Now there are two. There are two _______. at 10:46 PM on November 6, 2013 [1 favorite]


wait do white women have it tough or do they get a pass? Because my girl gets doors held for her 24/7 and she couldn't rap her way out of a christmas present.
posted by Teakettle at 10:49 PM on November 6, 2013


Is it okay to stop liking Eminem yet? *pulls off mask to reveal George F. Will*
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 11:23 PM on November 6, 2013 [2 favorites]


(my bad on the phrasing, should be produced and co-wrote Eminem's first two major label albums, plus Infinite & SSEP)
posted by mannequito at 12:40 AM on November 7, 2013


Man, white guys got it tough.

In other news, Marky Mark apparently liked rapping to the tune of the world's saddest song being played on the world's tiniest violin.


Are you honestly comparing Eminem and Marky Mark? How very dare you? Marky Mark's got skills, yo.
posted by Optamystic at 3:41 AM on November 7, 2013


It really doesn't sound like there was that much work involved. When you listen to the songs - they are pretty simple.
posted by mary8nne at 3:51 AM on November 7, 2013


From like 1996-1999, I was a sandwich artist - the sandwich fucking master, in fact - at the Subway in the University of Michigan student's union. We were a bunch of young idiots, still in high school, flirting with college kids and getting nowhere, and listening to music. Loud.

At the time, I had made the hop from grunge and industrial to basically listening to anything from the Dischord, Touch & Go, and Merge records catalogs. Lots of Jesus Lizard, lots of Polvo. I had this co-worker named Eric, a gawky, awkward 6' 2" white kid who wore a pooka shell necklace, who lived in Ypsilanti, 25 minutes or so outside of detroit, and was a big fan of the Detroit hip hop scene.

We spent entire shifts, 8 hours or more, incessantly ridiculing the music that the other listened to. At the time I hated hip hop. It didn't make sense. It was just talking and repetitive and dumb and what the fuck. To him, indie rock just sounded like moderately talented musicians yelling. In retrospect, he's probably more correct than I was.

But after a year or so, even though I wasn't penetrating his rock defenses at all, I noticed that the music he was playing was really starting to grow on me. He made me a tape of Aquemeni and Enter the 36 Chambers, told me about Mobb Deep. We both laughed at Snoop's No Limit records, but we were really into "20 Dollars to My Name".

And then one day he brought in the Slim Shady EP. I can't really remember where he got it, probably a friend. I was skeptical at first "M&M? Like the candy? That's the stupidest name ever." But after a few listens, I realized I had never heard anything like it, really. His crazy nested rhyming style, calling out every white rapper by name, super violent, amazing imagery. At the time, when you talked about hip hop in Detroit, it was a lot about E-SHAM and ICP (well, and Slum Village), but this was totally next level.

"My Name Is" came out like 3 weeks before I quit Subway to go work at a video store. I remember very clearly hearing the radio edit first -- "Hi, kids, do you like Primus?" I thought that Slim Shady had totally sold out, and I expected this album by a white rapper with a high pitch voice to sink like a lead balloon, never to be heard from again.

Whatever, I'm an idiot.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 4:11 AM on November 7, 2013 [9 favorites]


to sir with millipedes,

Cool story, brah. Me, my friends and i saw the censored "My Name Is..." video on MTV one night, and made fun of the "li'l Beastie Boy." Goofy, harmless novelty song, whatever.

It might have been a few weeks or months later when i was at my older brother's place, getting really stoned and drunk as one sometimes gets in the first year of college. Someone was playing the album on the stereo, and the more weighty songs -- Rock Bottom, If I Had, and especially Still Don't Give a F*ck -- blew my mind completely out the back of my skull. My other friend eventually bought a copy, and we listened to it an insane number of times. While stoned.

It was a pretty cool year. Kind of a blur now.
posted by ELF Radio at 5:41 AM on November 7, 2013


Great interviews, was always curious about these guys, thanks for posting.
posted by frenetic at 5:58 AM on November 7, 2013


i've always pretty much liked eminem. i find parts of his persona problematic (i'm glad to hear sia is donating her proceeds to an lgbtq charity) and i prefer him more introspective and less cartoonish, but all in all, i enjoy listening to him.
posted by nadawi at 5:59 AM on November 7, 2013


Can someone explain to me where Asher Roth fits into all of this?
posted by GrapeApiary at 6:21 AM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


nadawi: i'm glad to hear sia is donating her proceeds to an lgbtq charity

This is good, especially with Eminem's continued use of gay slurs in his rhymes. His new album is well-produced, though his lyricism hasn't progressed.
posted by filthy light thief at 7:16 AM on November 7, 2013


> I think he was sitting on the toilet making a poop

"Making a poop"? Is that the way music producers talk these days?
posted by languagehat at 7:16 AM on November 7, 2013 [2 favorites]


> "Making a poop"? Is that the way music producers talk these days?

They need some way of differentiating it from the turds they drop in the studio.
posted by Freon at 7:26 AM on November 7, 2013


It really doesn't sound like there was that much work involved. When you listen to the songs - they are pretty simple.

It's almost like they knew to use exactly what the record needed and not an ounce more.
posted by uncleozzy at 7:32 AM on November 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


It really doesn't sound like there was that much work involved. When you listen to the songs - they are pretty simple.

It's like Dave Hickey said, "It's so simple you just can't do it."
posted by meadowlark lime at 7:42 AM on November 7, 2013 [4 favorites]


They need some way of differentiating it from the turds they drop in the studio.

SNAP
posted by nevercalm at 7:52 AM on November 7, 2013


Yeah good criticism, Sike! It sounds easy because it's clean! Like the way skilled pros make anything they're good at look easy.

Although if it were my dull time job I'd hopefully get good at it. But most of the time you gotta hustle and earn some respect producing before anyone frees your ass up from the daily grind.

Eminem needs to lead and knock off the gay slurs. We get it, you've done it so much it's a crutch in your repertoire. But that ain't any excuse to be a record whore. No homo? I'm really proud. Make sure you preach it nice and loud. Because you're afraid someone might call you gay ain't no reason to betray a recognition of humanity, so drop this inanity because you sound like a punk more like Hannity. Motherfucker.
posted by lordaych at 7:57 AM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Oh and "Rap god" has some outright MRA bullshit justification for misogyny. He hints that it's his problem and he's just fucking witcha but he needs to spend some time reading MetaFilter or something. Dude. You're old. Stop acting a fool. Start communicating a real message. Why the fuck not? OK, yes all good MCs tend to bare their souls and share their worst and they aren't necessarily proud when penning the verses but then the crowds go wild and dump out their purses. Jay Rock is problematic about "no homo" and I can put up far more with his glorifying of gangster culture because his message is ultimately that it's something a hopeless "trapped" person does to feel empowered. It doesn't justify but it's an admission of vulnerability. The anti gay stuff is just so fucking childish, like so many of these fools skipped high school and college for various reasons and didn't get a chance to grow out of the "fags LoL" phase.
posted by lordaych at 8:07 AM on November 7, 2013


I just came in here to say
Once you are sitting on a toilet
The poop was already made
posted by spicynuts at 9:01 AM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


Also... To Sir With Millipedes: If you were a real fucking sandwich master you would have been working at Zingerman's. Unless the UM Union Subway got extremely better between '92 when I graduated and '96 when you started working there, nothing masterful ever came out of that Subway.
posted by spicynuts at 9:02 AM on November 7, 2013


...Subway paid better.
posted by to sir with millipedes at 9:18 AM on November 7, 2013 [1 favorite]


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