It’s hard to believe it’s been 25 years since Dr. Dre signed Eminem! We’re not sure about you, but we think that’s plenty of cause for celebration. After all, who’d have thought that when an intern working for Interscope Records picked up an EP from a young rapper from Detroit, he’d set the wheels in motion for one of hip-hop’s greatest partnerships?
But, of course, that’s exactly what happened. The intern passed the EP on to Interscope CEO Jimmy Iovine and record producer Dr. Dre. Immediately impressed, Dre invited the rapper to his studio. The two hit it off from the start, and within hours, the beginnings of “My Name Is” had started to take shape. The finished song would launch Eminem into stardom, earning him a GRAMMY Award for Best Rap Solo Performance.
Dr. Dre had already overseen the launch of many artists’ careers and wanted to sign Eminem with his newly established Aftermath Entertainment. Not everyone was enthusiastic about positioning the newcomer as the latest rap sensation, though. Some of Dre’s confidantes at the time found it hard to even believe a white man could “do” hip-hop. Luckily for Eminem (and for us), the producer didn’t listen and signed him anyway. Dr. Dre famously told Vibe magazine:
“When I heard Em for the first time, I didn’t even know he was white. I just knew I wanted to work with him. And that kind of actually made it better for me, because it was so different.”
It was the start of what would become a 25-year-long (and counting) friendship. Since their first collaboration, Dre has since co-produced all of Eminem’s studio albums, including The Slim Shady LP (1999), The Marshall Mathers LP (2000), and The Eminem Show (2002). In fact, three out of Dr. Dre’s six GRAMMY Awards came about through collaborations with the rapper.
This collaboration has been a two-way street as well. Eminem himself has ghost-written lyrics for Dre’s own music. The pair also delivered some iconic performances together – including the 2022 Super Bowl LVI halftime show with fellow Dre-signees Snoop Dogg, Mary J. Blige, and Kendrick Lamar. The performance was so well-received, it was awarded that year’s Emmy for Outstanding Variety Special.
Although greatly successful, the duo has still faced its share of adversity. Following the release of 2004’s Encore, Eminem’s career arguably hit a slump. Criticized for its lack of originality and rushed production, the album was a low point for the pair. Despite this, they stuck together. Eminem’s following album Relapse (2009) became the most collaborative project between the two. Dre produced every single song on the album, and its quality definitely shows.
To this day, the pair continue to be very close friends. Dre even inducted Eminem into the 2022 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Hopefully, there will be many more years and much more music to come!