They tell you not to meet your idols, but sometimes those meetings produce the best stories. At least, that’s the case with a much younger Eminem’s first meeting with LL Cool J shortly after signing with Dr. Dre.
Em recently sat down with LL himself to recount their first meeting on LL Cool J’s Rock The Bells Radio show on SiriusXM, airing in full on September 1.
“The Slim Shady EP that we pressed up starting actually moving some decent amount of units. You know, it was like 1,000, 2,000,” Em began. “We had a guy in Vegas… They had a guy that wanted to buy 5,000 of them… So, we go to Vegas, we start running around putting the shit on consignment at different stores and stuff. I come back to the hotel just from doing that and Marky Bass was like, ‘Man, we got a call from some doctor. [Laughs]. He wants to meet with you.’ So I’m like, ‘Don’t fuck with me. Don’t fuck with me. Do not fuck with me.’
“Because I remember I was in the car with these two chicks right before I went out to Vegas to sell the tapes… These two chicks in the car were playing ‘Phone Tap.’ I was like, ‘Yo, if I could just get with Dre, oh my god!’ Literally a week later, we got a meeting with Dre when we go out there.”
Fast forward to his signing with Dr. Dre, and Eminem is suddenly face-to-face with one of his rap icons: LL Cool J. “And the next thing you know, I’m in Foot Locker with Kirdis Tucker and she’s getting outfits for the ‘Just Don’t Give a Fuck’ video, and I see you,” Em continued to LL. “I’m like, ‘Yo, he’s in here by himself.’ I was buggin’ the fuck out… You quoted a lyric back to me. You said, ‘Yo, how can I be white / I don’t even exist.’ You quoting that lyric back to me, was like, I think I shit myself.”
The song in question, of course, is “Role Model,” from Eminem’s debut The Slim Shady LP. The track likely caught LL’s attention as it makes reference to Canibus claiming Em ghostwrites for LL Cool J. Or, LL just thought it a good tune.
I'm cancerous / So when I diss, you wouldn't wanna answer this / If you responded back with a battle rap you wrote for Canibus —Eminem, "Role Model"
Regardless, having one of your idols recite your music is the ultimate inspiration to keep going. Eminem’s emphatic storytelling aside, his meeting with LL Cool J is a reminder that you never know who is listening to your music. All it takes is the right ear at the right time to inspire you and have your career blossom.
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