Occupation: Former co-owner of The Source, rapper
Why we hated them: Because he tried to blackball Eminem
Lyrical shoutout: "I would never claim to be no Ray Benzino/An eighty-three year old fake Pacino." - Eminem on "Nail In The Coffin"
A day after Macklemore won his four Grammys this week, the news finally got to Benzino, sitting 3,000 miles and a computer away. Over a series of tweets, he said things like, "So everybody is upset about macklemore dominating the #grammys BUT 10 YEARS AGO WHEN I TRIED TO WARN U, YOU DIDNT LISTEN, NOW DEAL WITH IT!" and "#zinowasright."
What he was referring to was one of the sadder episodes in hip-hop history, when he commandeered The Source in 2002 in a relentless pursuit to bring down Eminem and promote his own rap career in the process. In his eyes, Eminem was a culture vulture, a white albatross, who had ruined hip-hop and capitalized off of it due solely to race.
There was a "rap battle" of sorts: Benzino released a couple of songs that got a little attention; Eminem crushed him with "Nail in the Coffin" and "The Sauce," two songs where he accused Zino of pimping out his son, being old, and being a hypocrite. The public sided heavily with Eminem; people stopped buying Source magazine, advertisers stopped advertising, and writers left in droves.
The Source went into bankruptcy and one of the stipulations of the new buyers was that Benzino had to leave. In 2012, he apologized, saying, "Thinking back, I probably could have did things differently. I had The Source as a platform, and you just get caught up and at the time, I was caught up." But if he wants to make #zinowasright a hashtag, you know, why not. Now he's on VH1's Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta, which he apparently does not find destructive to the culture in any way, shape, or form.