Dr. Dre And Eminem’s Relationship: History & Best Songs

More than 20 years ago, Dr. Dre signed Eminem to his Aftermath imprint after Interscope founder Jimmy Lovine played him a demo-tape by the Detroit rapper.

During his speech inducting the now 50-year-old into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame, Dre explained he wasn’t aware Eminem was a white guy, and joked about how ‘f-cked’ up he was when Jimmy Lovine later told him.

“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 in his speech. “The first thing I said when I heard it was, ‘What the f-ck 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?’ f-ucked 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.”

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During the lengthy speech, he also revealed he was discouraged from working with the then-unknown artist due to the color of his skin, but decided to take a chance because Eminem’s “gifts were undeniable.”

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AMSTERDAM, NETHERLANDS – APRIL 30: Rapper Eminem, performs with Dr Dre at the Paradiso on April 30th 2000 in Amsterdam, Netherlands. (Photo by Frans Schellekens/Redferns)

Eminem, whose real name is Marshall Mathers was reportedly star-struck when he first met Dr. Dre. “I’m looking at Dre like, ‘Dude, I see you on TV all the time — you’re one of my biggest influences ever in life,” he said, according to Billboard. And it didn’t take long for them to get to work.

On February 23, 1999, Eminem rewarded Dre’s gamble with the release of his The Slim Shady LP. Propelled by the lead single, My Name Is, The Slim Shady LP debuted at number two on the Billboard 200 and number one on the Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart, and went on to become the label’s first successful album release. The album won Best Rap Album at the 2000 Grammy Awards, while “My Name Is” won Best Rap Solo Performance. In 2000, The Slim Shady LP was certified quadruple platinum by the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA).

Though Dr. Dre, born Andre Young was already a staple in hip hop, it was his subsequent mentorship of the then-up-and-coming performer that, in part, cemented his reputation not only as an artist, but as a kingmaking producer. Dre took the younger rapper under his wing, collaborating with his protege on best-selling albums such as The Marshall Mathers LP and The Eminem Show, as well as hit songs “The Real Slim Shady,” “Still D.R.E.,” and “Forgot About Dre.”

Their relationship has since blossomed into one of the most celebrated in entertainment. And while the realm of hip-hop is well-known for it’s myriad feuds, the connection between Eminem and Dre has seemingly stood the test of time, with Eminem calling Dre “a father figure to him.”

Em has often alluded to The Chronic creator saving his life a couple of times in interviews and on records.

“Where’d the man, where did Dre go? The man who saved my life, ladies and gentlemen, Dr. motherf-ucking Dre,” said Eminem during his Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame acceptance speech.

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Eminem and Dr Dre Press Conference at Brixton Boxing Club, London, England, 2nd May, 2000. (Photo by Jo Hale/Redferns)

Beyond their professional collaboration, Dr. Dre became a mentor and guiding figure in Eminem’s life. Dr. Dre’s experience, wisdom, and unwavering support provided Eminem with the guidance he needed to navigate the complexities of the music industry. Together, they weathered challenges, celebrated triumphs, and pushed each other to new heights of artistic expression.

Through the highs and lows, they stood together, inspiring and challenging each other to continually evolve their craft. In the 2011 song “I Need A Doctor,” Eminem expressed his deep connection with Dr. Dre. Through his lyrics, he alluded to the super producer being a savior during his lowest moments.

“I don’t know if I was awake or asleep when I wrote this/All I know is, you came to me when I was at my lowest/You picked me up, breathed new life in me, I owe my life to you,” he rapped.

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Dr. Dre and Eminem (Photo by James Devaney/WireImage)

On the same track, Dre talked about how Eminem was the only one to stay consistent when he needed his friends.

“Went through friends, some of them I put on, but they just left/They said they was ridin’ to the death/But where the fuck are they now, now that I need them?/ I don’t see none of them, all I see is Slim/Fuck all you fair-weather friends! All I need is him.”

On February 13, 2022, the dynamic duo reunited to perform at the Super Bowl LVI halftime show alongside Snoop Dogg, Kendrick Lamar, and Mary J. Blige, with surprise appearances from 50 Cent and Anderson. Paak.

Their relationship is a testament to the power of mentorship, friendship, and shared artistic vision. Dr. Dre provided Eminem with the platform to showcase his talent to the world, while Eminem’s undeniable skill and unwavering determination validated Dr. Dre’s ability to identify and nurture exceptional talent.

How Did Dr. Dre Sign Eminem To Aftermath Records?

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Eminem and Dr Dre during MTV VMA 2000 Stage at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)

An intern at Interscope Records brought Eminem to the attention of the label’s CEO, Jimmy Lovine after Eminem came second during the annual Rap Olympics in 1997. He saw Eminem’s potential and handed the rapper’s demo tape containing six songs including three instrumental tracks – all original work to Lovine who was blown away. When he had Dr. Dre listen to Eminem’s demo tape, the legendary producer was hooked from the beginning.

“In my entire career in the music industry, I have never found anything from a demo tape or a CD. When Jimmy played this, I said, ‘Find him. Now,’” Dre recalled on an episode of The Defiant Ones.

“I was like, ‘what the f-ck?, and Who the f-ck is that?’” Dr. Dre added, saying to Iovine. “Rewind that, play it again.”

Dre admitted that his associates had their uncertainty about him signing a white rapper, “I come up with Eminem, this white boy,” he said. “My general manager had these eight by ten pictures of him, and he’s like, ‘Dre, this boy got blue eyes! What are we doin’?’”

But Dr. Dre was confident in his decision. “I don’t give a f-ck if you’re purple; if you can kick it, I’m working with you.”

The Best Eminem & Dr. Dre Songs

Forgot About Dre – Dr. Dre ft. Eminem

The track serves as a powerful reminder of Dr. Dre’s influence and impact on the rap scene, as well as a testament to Eminem’s lyrical prowess. With its hard-hitting beats, aggressive rhymes, and catchy chorus, the song became an instant hit, solidifying Dr. Dre’s comeback and cementing Eminem’s rising stardom. “Forgot About Dre” remains an iconic anthem that showcases the artistic chemistry between two legendary artists, and its enduring popularity continues to resonate with hip-hop fans to this day.

I Need a Doctor – Dr. Dre ft. Eminem

“I Need a Doctor” is a powerful and introspective hip-hop track. Featuring Eminem and Skylar Grey, the song delves into Dr. Dre’s personal struggles and his desire for a reawakening in his career. The lyrics explore themes of redemption, perseverance, and the need for a guiding figure. Eminem’s emotionally charged verses add depth to the narrative, reflecting on their longstanding friendship and the impact Dr. Dre has had on his own life. Skylar Grey’s haunting vocals on the chorus amplify the emotional intensity of the track.

The Real Slim Shady – Eminem

This track served as a satirical commentary on the state of popular culture and music at the time. Eminem adopts his alter ego, Slim Shady, to deliver clever and controversial lyrics that challenge societal norms and mock various celebrities and public figures. The song’s catchy chorus and energetic beats add to its infectious appeal. “The Real Slim Shady” became a massive hit, propelling Eminem to mainstream success and establishing him as a fearless and unapologetic artist. The track’s impact lies in its ability to provoke thought while entertaining listeners, showcasing Eminem’s unique blend of wit, wordplay, and social commentary.

My Name Is – Eminem

“My Name Is” is a breakout hit and Eminem’s debut single, released in 1999. The song introduces Eminem to the world with his distinctive blend of humor, wit, and controversial content. “My Name Is” showcases Eminem’s unique storytelling ability and his knack for crafting clever and outrageous rhymes. The track features Eminem adopting multiple personas, including his alter ego Slim Shady, as he raps about various absurd scenarios and personal experiences. With its catchy chorus and playful production, “My Name Is” immediately grabbed attention and became a commercial success. The song’s irreverent lyrics and Eminem’s bold delivery marked the beginning of his iconic career, establishing him as a boundary-pushing artist who would go on to redefine the rap genre.

Cleanin’ Out My Closet – Eminem

“Cleanin Out My Closet” is a deeply personal and emotionally charged song by Eminem, released in 2002. The track serves as a cathartic outlet for Eminem to address his troubled relationship with his mother, Debbie Mathers. Through poignant and raw lyrics, he confronts his feelings of anger, betrayal, and resentment stemming from his difficult upbringing and the turbulent dynamics within his family. “Cleanin Out My Closet” showcases Eminem’s vulnerability and willingness to expose his personal struggles to his audience, resonating with fans who may have experienced similar familial challenges.

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