Author: Gary Graff
Date: ~1999 ish
As far as rapper Eminem is concerned, the National Football League can go get stuffed — kind of like the body in the trunk of the car in the song “’97 Bonnie and Clyde” from his double-platinum debut, The Slim Shady LP.
The NFL recently pulled its new promotional spots that used Eminem’s hit “My Name Is” in tributes to hall of famers Joe Namath, Joe Gibbs, Joe Montana, and “Mean” Joe Greene. Though the spots have scored a touchdown with viewers, the league got cold feet when officials discovered that Eminem’s music carries — proudly — a parental advisory sticker for its prodigious amount of obscenities and references to violence and drugs, which the rapper defends as “just vulgar humor.”
Eminem says he saw the NFL spots once, when he was in Los Angeles earlier in the fall. “I didn’t know they were using it,” he says. “I was like, ‘What the f–k?'”
After hearing that the league was taking them the off the air, he says, “It just makes me laugh, you know what I’m saying? I was laughing on the phone with my manager, like good, f–k ’em. It doesn’t make any difference to me at all.
“People are so f–king stupid, man, to actually take my s–t that seriously. I don’t walk around and try to portray this gangster image, but the media has made me out to be that way, like I think I’m some kind of f–kin’ white thug.”
A more pressing problem for Eminem is his mother, Debbie Mathers-Briggs, who’s accusing him of being a liar — via a $10 million lawsuit. She claims his portrayals of her in songs and interviews as a drug addict who habitually files nuisance suits are untrue and have caused “physical and psychological injury and damages.” The case is due to be heard next week, Eminem — who’s real name is Marshall Mathers III — maintains that he’s telling the truth about her but can’t comment much beyond that. “It’s kind of a s—ty feeling, like, damn, your mother’s suing you,” he says. “It doesn’t bother me. I expected it.”
In fact, Eminem says he’s written a song about the legal fracas that may or may not appear on his next album, which he’s currently recording with label chief and producer Dr. Dre. He hopes to have it out during the first half of 2000 and describes what he’s done so far as “along the same lines” as Slim Shady, but with song topics that are “a little bit harder. The beats are harder, too.”
— Gary Graff