Eminem Celebrates Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction: “I’m Probably Not Supposed to Be Here”

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Eminem celebrated his induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame on Saturday by performing a six-song set that featured surprise appearances from Steven Tyler and Ed Sheeran.

Marshall Mathers ran through hits like “My Name Is,” “Rap God,” “Forever,” and “Not Afraid.” He also teamed up with Aerosmith’s Tyler on “Sing for the Moment” and Sheeran on “Stan.”

Eminem was introduced by his mentor, Dr. Dre, who spoke of the Detroit rapper’s “undeniable gift.” “His raw, dark, and humorous lyrics coupled with an impeccable cadence stood out from anything I had ever heard before, and he was hungry,” Dr. Dre said of Eminem. “Both of us were. We were two artists in do-or-die situations: he was desperate to find a way to feed his family and I was searching for something to sink my teeth into creatively. Each of us was exactly what the other needed and I was willing to bet my entire career on it.”

“Eminem was able to hold up a mirror to White America while also expressing the pain of living through poverty in dysfunctional families devoid of hope,” Dr. Dre continued. “Eminem brought hip-hop to middle America and offered kids who looked like him a way to connect to it.”

During his own acceptance speech, Eminem commented that, “I’m probably not supposed to actually be here tonight because of a couple of reasons. One of them that I’m a rapper, and this is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And there’s only a few of us right now that have been inducted in already, but there’s only a few of us. Secondly, I almost died from an overdose in 2007, which kind of sucked.”

“And finally, I had to really fight my way through man to try and break through in this music, and I’m so honored and I’m so grateful that I’m even able to be up here doing hip-hip music, man, because I love it so much,” Eminem added.

He then named-checked the many hip-hop artists who paved the way for him. “I know this induction is supposed to be me talking about myself and shit man, but fuck that. I would not be here without them. I’m a high school dropout man, with a hip-hop education, and these were my teachers. And it’s their night just as much as it is mine,” Eminem said to conclude his remarks.

Below, watch fan-captured footage of Eminem’s performance and transcripts of Eminem’s and Dr. Dre’s speeches (via The Detroit News).

In addition to Eminem, this year’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame class included Dolly Parton, Judas Priest, Carly Simon, and Duran Duran. A recording of the ceremony, which took in Los Angeles, will air on HBO on November 19th.

Read Eminem’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech:

“This shit is crazy… I realize what an honor it is right now for me to be up here tonight, and what a privilege it is to do the music that I love, and the music that basically saved my life.

“Where’d the man, where did Dre go? The man who saved my life, ladies and gentlemen, Dr. motherf-ucking Dre. So I’m going to try to make this as quick and painless as possible. I’m fucking stuttering and shit, I mean Jesus Christ.

“So I’m probably not supposed to actually be here tonight because of a couple of reasons. One of them that I’m a rapper, and this is the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. And there’s only a few of us right now that have been inducted in already, but there’s only a few of us.

“Secondly, I almost died from an overdose in 2007, which kind of sucked. Hailie, plug your ears: because drugs were fucking delicious, and I thought we had a good thing going man, but I had to go and fuck it all up and take too many. God damn.

“OK, so. Hold on, I lost my motherfuckin’ spot. [Eminem’s manager] Paul [Rosenberg], did I say, I said drugs were delicious, right? And finally, I had to really fight my way through man to try and break through in this music, and I’m so honored and I’m so grateful that I’m even able to be up here doing hip-hip music, man, because I love it so much.

And they say you won’t work a day if you love your job and shit. This part I’m not crazy about? But, OK.

“My musical influences are many, and they say it takes a village to raise a child. Well it took a whole genre and culture to raise me.

“They say success has many fathers, and that’s definitely true for me. So whatever my impact has been on hip-hop music, I never would have or could have done this shit without some of the groundbreaking artists that I’m about to mention right now.

“And this is a list man, I put this list together yesterday. And I kept adding to the shit, adding to the shit, and if I forget anybody, I apologize. But these were my teachers right here:

“I’m gonna start with the 2 Live Crew, 2Pac, 3rd Bass, Alliance, Apache, Audio Two — Milk Dee, what up! — Awesome Dre, the Beastie Boys, Big Daddy Kane, Big Pun, Big L, Biz Markie, the Notorious B.I.G. of course, Black Moon, the Boogie Monsters, Brand Nubian, Brother J from X Clan, Buckshot, Casual from Heiroglyphics, Chill Rob G, Chubb Rock, Chuck D and Public Enemy, Cypress Hill, D-Nice, Dana Dane, De La Soul — now I’m about a third of the way done.

“De La Soul, did I say De La Soul? Def Jef, Del the Funky Homosapien, DJ Quik, Dr. Dre of course, Dres from Black Sheep, Ed O.G., EPMD, Fat Boys, Fat Joe, Fu-Schnickens, Gang Starr, Geto Boys, Heavy D, House of Pain, Ice Cube, Ice-T, the Intelligent Hoodlum, JJ Fad, Jaz-O, Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince, Just Ice, K-Solo, Kid & Play: I’m a tenth of the way done.

“King Sun, King Tee, Kool G Rap, Kool Moe Dee, KRS-One, Kwame, Lakim Shabazz, Large Professor, Leaders of the New School, the one and only LL Cool J — love you bro. Lord Finesse, Lords of the Underground, Mantronix, Masta Ace, MC Breed, MC Lyte, MC Shan, Melle Mel, Merciless Ameer, Mobb Deep, Monie Love, Nas, Newcleus, Onyx, Organized Konfusion, Outkast, Andre 3000, Paris, Pharcyde, Queen Latifah, Rakim, Redhead Kingpin, Pete Rock and CL Smooth, I’m almost done.

“Redman, Roxanne Shante, Run-D.M.C., Salt-N-Pepa, Slick Rick and Doug E. Fresh, Snoop Dogg, Souls of Mischief, Special Ed, Stetsasonic, now I’m all down to the S’s. Super Lover Cee and Casanova Rud, the D.O.C., the Roots, Black Thought, the Skinny Boys, Tony D, Too $hort, Treach from Naughty By Nature, A Tribe Called Quest, U.T.F.O., Whodini, Wise Intelligent and the Poor Righteous Teachers, Wu-Tang Clan and YZ.

“Those were my rock stars man, and I just want to say, like, those are just a few of the names that I hope will be considered in the future for induction. Because without them, a lot of us wouldn’t be here. I know I wouldn’t.

“So that’s all I had to say, man. I know this induction is supposed to be me talking about myself and shit man, but fuck that. I would not be here without them. I’m a high school dropout man, with a hip-hop education, and these were my teachers. And it’s their night just as much as it is mine. So thank you.”

Read Dr. Dre’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame introduction of Eminem:

“Over 20 years ago, Jimmy Iovine, who is also one of tonight’s inductees and one of my best friends, played a demo tape for me from a guy who called himself Eminem. The first thing I said when I heard it was, ‘what the fuck did he just say?’ I loved it so much that I couldn’t stop listening to it.

“A few days later, Jimmy called me and said, ‘you know he’s a White guy, right?” Fucked me up! The last thing I was thinking about when I was listening was that he was White. It never even crossed my mind. Looking back, I don’t know why it didn’t cross my mind. He certainly didn’t sound like a Black rapper, especially because of what he was saying. I guess it was my ignorance at the time, thinking that if you’re a really good rapper, you must be Black.

“Not too long after that, we met for the first time. We hit it off and the next thing you know, we’re at my house working. The first time I put on a beat, he gets on the mic and says, ‘hi, my name is.’ Boom! And that was the beginning of what became an amazing creative collaboration.

“Then came the backlash. ‘Look at him, Dre! He has blue eyes! You can’t sign him! There was a massive amount of resistance from my own team and from a lot of people around me: people who had never even heard the music, but didn’t want me to sign him or work with him simply because he was White.

“While everyone else around me had their doubts, I knew that his gift was undeniable. His raw, dark, and humorous lyrics coupled with an impeccable cadence stood out from anything I had ever heard before, and he was hungry. Both of us were. We were two artists in do-or-die situations: he was desperate to find a way to feed his family and I was searching for something to sink my teeth into creatively. Each of us was exactly what the other needed and I was willing to bet my entire career on it.

“My rebuttal to those naysayers went something like this: ‘he’s going to be the biggest selling artist on our label.’ Little did I know he was going to be one of the best-selling music artists of all time.

“From the moment he introduced himself to the world with The Slim Shady LP, he skyrocketed to the top of the charts and stayed there for 100 weeks while earning a Grammy for Best Rap Album and Best Rap Solo Performance.

“Can you believe after promoting violence to little children and killing his daughter’s mother, this guy still had more shit to get off his chest?

“Well, then The Marshall Mathers LP dropped. On that album alone his alter ego, Slim Shady, tied me up in his basement, had sex with his mother and killed his daughter’s mother, again, while proceeding to offend just about every special interest group we have. It clearly struck a collective chord and became one of the fastest selling solo albums in United States history.

Em would go on to overdose, relapse and recover not only on his albums, but also in real life. Let me tell you something, this guy goes through a lot of shit just to get a concept for a song.

But here is Em’s genius, with his incredible wit and wild imagination: he was able to hold up a mirror to White America while also expressing the pain of living through poverty in dysfunctional families devoid of hope. Eminem brought hip-hop to middle America and offered kids who looked like him a way to connect to it.

Hip-hop wasn’t just for Black kids in desperate inner-city circumstances anymore. People of every stripe could have the art form speak to their struggles, too.

Eminem wasn’t just the underdog who broke through the glass ceiling of hip hop. He shattered it: 220 million albums sold, 13 No. 1 albums, 10 of which all consecutively debuted at No. 1, making him the first artist ever to achieve this. Grammy Awards, an Emmy and an Oscar. Best-selling music artist of the 2000s. Best-selling hip-hop artist ever. And he doesn’t care about any of that. I care about it more than he does.

What’s most important to him is that he’s earned the respect of his peers as one of the best to ever do it.

Turns out this unassuming White guy with blue eyes from Detroit went from being repeatedly turned down to turning everything we thought we knew about hip-hop on its head while forcing us to confront our own biases, growing not only the genre, but all of us right along with it.

It is my great honor to induct my friend, Eminem, into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Eminem Celebrates Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction: “I’m Probably Not Supposed to Be Here”
Alex Young

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