Photo courtsey Elektra Records
"Never date a Black girl cuz Black girls only want your money."
- Eminem Don't you find it strange that Eminem's been walking around with a doo rag for over five years now and no one's said anything? Well actually, over a year ago, Ray Benzino, owner of The Source, released two freestyles dissing Eminem, presumably to create some hype around his (terrible) "Rock The Party" single. It was the first time a hip hop artist directly attacked Em since Cage in 1998! Zino called Em "the rap David Duke, the rap Hitler" and launched a new platform: Eminem gets away with saying stuff that Black or more "ghetto" rappers could never say; he is stealing sales from hardcore hip hop artists such as Busta Rhymes and Fat Joe; Shady Records and Interscope are at the heart of hip hop's crossover "machine" (Benzino's buzzword), and so on. While this seemed like complete mumbo jumbo to most, one couldn't help but admit that Benzino had cojones to expose himself to a lyrically annihilating backlash. All through 2003, The Source shat all over Eminem. From wannabe scholarly articles "proving" that Em is a White supremacist to documents showing that 50 Cent is a police informant, it was clear that the mag's owner was obsessed with discrediting anything Shady-related. Now whether you remember it or not, in the 90s The Source was the shiznit, so it was somewhat startling to see what was once the hip hop bible come with fold-out teen mag-style posters of its owner beating up rap's top-selling artist. But what about the music in all of this? Well, in January 2003, Benzino's solo album is released and sells 14,463 copies the first week. Total scans of the record: around 62,000. Ouch. One month later, 50's album comes out and sells over 400,000 units in the first couple of days. He is now waaaaay beyond six times platinum and more famous than god. While 50 and Em rest on their laurels as high priests of MTV superstardom, Benzino is labeled a monomaniacal loser with a broke magazine. But whether he knows it or not, his status is slowly changing. Once a sour pickle rapper whose albums go double-copper, he is now the underdog in a desperate battle that has taken institutional proportions, as the almighty Interscope is cock-blocking him left right and center. Meanwhile, his cry for help is ignored by Middle America's G-Unit sneaker wearing wiggers who think Eminem created hip hop. And that's when things get really funky. In late November 2003, Benzino and The Source co-owner David Mays hold a press conference to announce that they've unearthed an Eminem tape dissing Black women. Benzino claims that the songs were recorded in the early 90s. These tracks must be heard to be believed. They sound like the Fat Boys and it's impossible that they were recorded after 1987. They're a bunch of freestyles by a prepubescent teenager, somewhat equivalent to infamous internet rapper Andy Milonakis. Indeed, you'll find lines about our Black sistas, gems like: "Black girls only want your money, cuz they're dumb chicks," and "Never date a Black girl cuz Black girls only want your money." Oh yeah, there's also: "Black girls are dumb and White girls are good chicks." It is a retarded high school kid fucking around, not a race war. That being said, Benzino's camp apparently had the cassette evaluated by experts in Washington who confirmed that it was recorded in 1992. This would mean that at the ripe age of twenty, rap's greatest lyricist ever recorded what he himself calls "the racist hour". (It should be noted that when Vice interviewed Em in 1999, he used the word "nigger," but only to refer to fellow honkies such as Cage.) We really wanted to get to the bottom of this feud. Is Interscope using Nazi rapper Eminem to lure audiences away from hip hop's Negroid roots? Or is Benzino crafting a perfect publicity stunt to get back at you for never buying those Made Men albums? Certainly, The Source's owner's obsession is symptomatic of the whole music industry's neurotic megalomania. In this epic of biblical proportions, David Mays ain't knocking down Goliath Artists, and the kids just don't give a fuck. We were even leaning towards Benzino's side when we finally got on the phone with him at press time. His assistant made allusions to us being hired by Shady Records to try and discredit him. Then Benzino got on the line. This is what he had to tell us: "Yo, you want to hear what I have to say? You're out there reading mtv.com to know the truth? This is what I have to say: you're a fucking coward. The things you say are not real, motherfucker. You're not from the streets. You're not from the block. You just try to spend one day on any fucking block. One fucking day, see if you don't get eaten alive. That's why you're a bitch. Just pick one block and try to spend an afternoon on it, see what happens to you then. Huh, what do you have to say about that, journalist?"