Still shady after all these years: A review of Complex mag's Eminem/ Shady documentary

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Metro Times contributor Kahn Santori Davison sent in the following overview of Complex's look at Eminem and his label which was uploaded at around noon on March 5, 2015:

Today, Complex released Not Afraid: The Shady Records Story via YouTube. The 32 minute documentary starts off with urban/ ruin porn images from Detroit then jumps right into how Paul Rosenberg first met Em’ through rapper Big Proof at the hip-hop shop. “At that time I was excited for anybody to listen to me and take me seriously,” Eminem says to the camera. Em’ comes across half silly and half serious for most of the film.

The next 15 minutes quickly slides into how an intern gave Em’s tape to Jimmy Iovine; who passed it to Dr. Dre. “I thought what the fuck is this, I really need to meet this guy,” Dre says in the documentary. There’s a swift visual run through Em’s albums, videos, and performance footage. His relationship with Paul Rosenberg is often highlighted. “Marshall makes music and I figure out hot to get it out to the world to sell it,” Rosenberg says to the camera.

The final 15 minutes highlights Shady's building of D12, the domination of  rapper 50 Cent, and the introduction of Obie Trice. The film also explores how Proof’s death affected the label and the dip in sales that started in 2006. It ends with Em’ and Paul discussing why they chose to sign Yelawolf and Royce, with 50 praising their Shady Records experience.

If you’re a Detroit hip-hop head; you won’t learn much here. Although there are interviews with Royce Da 5’9, Mr. Porter, 50 Cent, and Dr. Dre; the documentary would have greatly benefited if the members of D12 were included. Overall, this was a pretty cool Shady Record promo, commercial and is worthy of your click.

About The Author

Mike McGonigal

Metro Times music editor Mike McGonigal has written about music since 1984, when he started the fanzine Chemical Imbalance at age sixteen with money saved from mowing lawns in Florida. He's since written for Spin, Pitchfork, the Village VOICE and Artforum. He's been a museum guard, a financial reporter, a bicycle...
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