The Oral History Of Bad Meets Evil

Eminem: “After we did the single Royce got his deal with Tommy Boy, and I kind of felt like ‘Alright, he’s good now.’ Then right around that time me and Proof settled our differences. He was like, ‘Yo we should get the group back together.’ So that was kind of my main focus from that point on.”

Royce da 5’9”: “Yeah, I’d been doing the hype man thing for a while, but then I went to work on my album so Proof came on and took over. I still came out on a couple shows, but he was doing the hype-manning. We also did a couple records for my album together. One with the Neptunes—”

Eminem: “Oh, I forgot about that record!”

Royce da 5’9”: “Yeah, we did one with the Neptunes and we did ‘Rock City.’”

Eminem: “Jesus Christ, I forgot about that record too. I remember now. As soon as you said that, I thought about the video.”


[Royce] was in L.A. with Em when Em dyed his hair blonde. I remember he called me and was like, ‘I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but he just went and dyed his hair completely blondish white.—Paul Rosenberg


Royce da 5’9”: “You know, Paul came up with the hook for that: ‘Come on and rock with me. Come on and rock with me.’ Paul’s got a lot of good ideas.”

Eminem: “Paul writes all my shit.”

Royce da 5’9”: “Yeah.”

Eminem: “Mostly all of it. All of most of it. Only the good shit.”

Jonathan Shecter (Founder Of Game Records): “The record gets mixed, we do the shoot, it all comes together, and gets pressed up. I remember getting so excited about it because I thought it was a great record. I thought both songs were awesome underground rap songs. We got really lucky because people started jumping on it right away.

“The first day it came out, it got played in L.A. and New York. It was on Power 106’s mix show on a Friday night in L.A. I got a call from Eminem from L.A. and he was like, ‘I can’t believe it, yo. They’re playing this shit!’ He put the phone up to the [speaker] and I hear ‘Scary Movies.’ I’m like, ‘Wow! That’s incredible.’ It was like a big charge.

“Then Funkmaster Flex played it, too, the same night. He ran it a little. He ended up running with it for maybe a couple weeks. He didn’t give it a hard run like he would another big rap song at the time. But, for an underground record, Flex gave it a nice run for a couple weeks, which is huge for an independent piece of vinyl. At that point, it was a piece of vinyl. Flex gave it a run, so it made some noise.

“This was before ‘My Name Is’ had got any radio play or had been released yet. So, it was right before. That was the first record that people in New York and L.A. heard. L.A. had probably been playing him a little, but I know New York had not played any of the early Eminem stuff. They didn’t play ‘Just Don’t Give a Fuck’ or anything like that, so that was the first Eminem record to really break the airwaves in New York. It was both songs. I remember feeling like that was a good look.”

Paul Rosenberg (Eminem's Manager, and President of Shady Records and CEO of Goliath Artists): “[Royce] was in L.A. with Em when Em dyed his hair blonde. I remember he called me and was like, ‘I don’t know if this is a good thing or a bad thing, but he just went and dyed his hair completely blondish white.’ [Laughs.]

“Em just went and did it. He didn’t tell anyone anything before or anything. I don’t even know where the idea came from. He was just out there being wild, trying to find his identity, who he was gonna be, and I think he was just experimenting. He told me the idea just popped into his head and he just did it.

“It was a very non hip-hop thing to do. [Laughs.] Especially back then, but I think he was just looking for something to set himself apart. For people to remember how he looked so it was the right decision at the time.”

Jonathan Shecter (Founder Of Game Records): “Then, of course, ‘My Name Is’ comes out, literally two or three weeks after Bad Meets Evil. Then it’s like a rocketship to the sky. “My Name Is” is on MTV, radio stations. Now, it’s like Eminem is becoming this big star overnight. It was great timing to put out an independent rap record. We did well on the vinyl.

In the independent hip-hop world there is a lot of gray areas. I think that Paul did the right thing; he wouldn’t let any record under Eminem come out. Calling it Bad Meets Evil gave us the position to [say], ‘It’s a Bad Meets Evil record. It’s a separate group.’ The truth is, it was so under the radar for Interscope.

“They knew he had independent records. He had the Rawkus stuff and he had another song that he did with Skam that he references on ‘Stan.’ He had a number of independent records. I don’t think Interscope was so shocked that there’s an independent with Eminem on it. It wasn’t the end of the world to them, it was just more hype, probably, to build Eminem.

“It did well and they started performing. We did a bunch of shows where they would perform Bad Meets Evil back then. We did a couple different cities. I was present for Philly, New York, and L.A. They were traveling. During that time, when Eminem would do a show, Royce—this is kind of before D12 signed to Shady—was kind of doing the stuff that Proof later became known for. Royce was actually the first man playing that role. In the process of promoting the record and Eminem getting all these shows, we would bring Royce on and they’d do at least one of the Bad Meets Evil songs, usually ‘Scary Movies.’

“Coming out of the Bad Meets Evil thing, it gave us a lot of great momentum and we put out a couple more Royce records with quick succession soon after that. One of them was with Alchemist and then, eventually he did ‘Boom’ with DJ Premier, which became a really big underground hit.”

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