The Oral History Of Bad Meets Evil

So guys, it’s been about 13 years since the three of us were sitting in a room together. We got old, huh?

Eminem: Thanks.

Royce Da 5’9”: Yeah. [Laughs.]

Shit, me too—I was 19, now I got interns that call me “O.G.”! [Laughs.]

E: Fuck us all, right? [Laughs.]

Do you guys remember anything from that summer when you made the Bad Meets Evil single?

E: I have huge holes in my brain from Ambien. [Laughs.] I don’t remember shit.

R: Yeah man, are we going to talk about the past much? ‘Cause this might not go too well. [Laughs.]

Once I got sober the fog was lifted. It’s like, 'Alright it’s time to be a man. It’s time to be a father. It’s time to do what you’re supposed to be doing. Stop doing the dumb sh*t.' That had a lot to do with me calling Royce, and saying, 'Yo, this is f*cking stupid.' —Eminem

You remember being stuck in the elevator, though, right?

E: Honestly, I remember talking about it and hearing about it more than I remember it happening. Is that weird? How long were we in there?

Like two hours, bro.

R: Damn! it’s same for me. I know it happened, but I definitely remember talking about it more than I remember being in there. We were on a lot of drugs at the time.

Ah, how things change. For Em, at least. But Royce you have changed a lot, too. You touch on it on “Lighters,” but in a lot of ways, compared to how you were in the ‘90s, you’ve humbled yourself to the game—

R: Well, I had to have a certain level of maturity for Em to even feel like he wants me around him. It’s real easy to grow out of somebody. I think that might have been one of the things that happened back then [that drove us apart]. Em just started maturing and I wasn’t. I’m just a firm believer that you make all your mistakes in your 20s—that whole decade. Your 30s decade should be a lot smoother for you, because you learn from all these mistakes. At least that’s how it’s been for me. It’s impacted everything. Everything; my rhymes, everything that goes on inside and outside the booth.

Em, do you think your changes, particularly sobriety, helped mend this relationship?

E: Over the course of my career, through experiences and shit that I do and don’t remember, it’s been a learning process for me. It helped me slowly grow up and mature, but I don’t think anything made me mature more so than sobriety. I feel like once I got sober the fog was lifted. In these past three years I’ve done my most growing up. It’s like, “Alright it’s time to be a man. It’s time to be a father. It’s time to do what you’re supposed to be doing. Stop doing the dumb shit.” That had a lot to do with me calling him, and saying, “Yo, this is fucking stupid.”

If you don’t mind my asking, what exactly was the issue that drove you apart?

E: I don’t even want to rehash the beef. There’s no reason to talk about why we fell out or whatever. Point is, we repaired everything.

Fair play. How did the mending of fences begin?

E: Well, with me personally, and I think with D12 too, the shit happened with Proof made us think it was fucking stupid to beef. Not to mention him and Proof pulling guns on each other and going to jail, which we thought was stupid back then. We were like “This is getting retarded.” So him and Proof, when they were in jail together, they decided to squash it. Proof ended up coming back to me and the rest of the guys like, “Yo, I worked that shit out with Royce. We’re straight.” So then Royce went on tour with D12.

R: I went on a tour with Proof first, and then I went on a tour with D12.

E: My memory’s very hazy from around that time.

R: You might not have known this, actually.

E: No, I mean period. Just how everything all went down. I just remember that the devastation from that shit happening was just like: “No more beef.”

But you started hanging as friends before you got back to the music, right?

E: Yeah, we had to get that shit fixed first. So we started hanging out.

R: It was a process. It was a little weird at first. We were both kind of quiet around each other. But once we got back comfortable around each other, and once we got back used to being around each other, all the jokes became the same again. Everything became pretty much the same again.

E: Yeah. Everything picked up pretty much where it left off.

So how did you get from there to the decision to make the EP? Were you making Slaughterhouse records together and just realized you had a gang of good ones with just verses from you two?

R: That’s a good question. I think it started when I had a song for him to get on for my album, and we had a lot of fun doing it. We were already spending a lot of time together, because he was doing a lot of shows around that time, and I was traveling with him. Denaun [Mr. Porter] would bring a beat on the plane and we’d both like it, and we’d end up in the studio just cutting it, because we had time to do it with no real goal in mind. I mean, we both knew we had the Slaughterhouse album coming down the pipeline, but it wasn’t really for anything. Then we look up and we’re sitting on all these records, like “Goddamn man, what are we going to do with all these records.”

E: Yeah. We weren’t sure. We didn’t have a plan from the beginning. It was just us getting in the studio and having fun again, and getting the chemistry back in recording. At the rate we were able to knock them out, it was pretty quick. It was just like “Fuck it. Lets keep going.”

So how does you partnership work, creatively? What’s your process?

E: It changes. Like, he’ll pick a beat sometimes like, “Yo, I think we should rap on this.” So he’d lay a verse and then I’d hear where it’s going and lay a verse. Or I may pick a beat. Or, on a lot of the shit where we’re going back and forth, we have to be in the studio together. He might go in there and lay a rhyme, and just stop and see what I come up with playing off his. And that was the funnest part about making the record. We both have, for the lack of a better term, chemistry, where if I stop here, I know he’s going to be able to pick it up and say something crazy. It’s also the type of relationship where one of us isn’t afraid to say “Yo what if you said this? What if I said this?” and then it doesn’t work and it’s, “Okay, scrap that idea. I might have a better one, hold on.” It’s not about time. It’s not about ego. It’s just fun.

R: We didn’t care about song structure.

E: Yeah. That was another really fun part about this. We weren’t in there necessarily trying to make hits. “Let’s try to make big radio records.” No. It was like, “Let’s get in there and just fucking rap, and make it fun again.”

Tags: eminem, royce-da-5-9, bad-meets-evil, bad-meets-evil-week, best-of-complex
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