The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted its 2022 class on Saturday night, with Eminem, Lionel Richie, Dolly Parton, and more joining the prestigious group.
Dr. Dre, who, alongside Jimmy Iovine, the CEO of Aftermath’s parent company Interscope, signed Eminem in 1998, inducted the Detroit rapper into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame with a speech in which the hip-hop mogul reflected on his relationship with Em.
“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,” Dre said. “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!” Dre continued. “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.”
Following Dre’s induction speech, Eminem delivered a medley of hits, including classic songs like “My Name Is,” “Forever,” and “Not Afraid.”
“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,” Eminem said after his performance. “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,” he continued. “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 Hailie.”
Eminem went on to credit dozens of hip-hop artists for influencing him at the outset of his career. “I put this list together yesterday,” he shared, before running through the names that included 2 Live Crew, De La Soul, Public Enemy, 2Pac, the Notorious B.I.G., and Ice Cube, among many others.
“I know this induction is supposed to be me talking about myself and shit man, but fuck that,” he concluded. “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.”
You can watch the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony on HBO on Nov. 19.