Thank you, Marshall Mathers
I’d be working a miserable job and living a dead-end life if it weren't for you.
I wasn't just one of the 1.76 million people who went out and bought The Marshall Mathers LP the first week it came out, I was the kid who held it in my hands and knew it was a fork in my life's path.
A couple of weeks after its release—the summer between my junior and senior of high school—I got drunk at a lake with my friends, flipped a jet ski, and couldn't get back on. The boat police came, my mom was called, and I began my senior year doing community service. I stopped partying but I didn’t have anything else going for me. I wasn't good at sports, I didn't get good grades, and I didn't even really like school. All I had was an album where a 27-year-old rapper from Michigan rhymed “Jason mask” with "make it as" and "naked ass."
I began writing raps like you. I blew off community college after high school and built a studio in the living room of the house I rented in Mechanicsville, Iowa. The rap songs I recorded led to a Public Access TV show which led to the development of the character who became Larry the Weatherman.
Thanks for making that album. So many questions I want to ask you. Did you write most of it when you were on that tour overseas in late 1999? Oh, and there's a part in The Defiant Ones where Kendrick is in a studio, points to a mixing board, and says, "The classic board. The Marshall Mathers LP was recorded here." Which studio was it? What did Dre say when he heard "The Way I Am"?
Your voice brought life to my fear and loneliness. You being your true self showed me, at a time when I was very impressionable, that coming from a place of honesty and vulnerability doesn't need permission or an excuse.
To thank you I'd like to thank someone who inspired you.
In 1996, when you released All Eyez on Me, there was a white rapper from Detroit recording Infinite, his debut album. It flopped and after he attempted suicide, he evolved his sound and spoke from a more authentic place. It worked. His next project was an EP that made its way to Dre, who signed him in '98. The rapper's name was Eminem and after Dre's touch, he released albums that sold stupid numbers, and influenced a whole generation.
It took a lot of bravery for him to be who he was. I feel he looked to you for some of that bravery. Thank you for inspiring him.
Oh, hey, remember that interview you did with Tabitha Soren? You were so charismatic. Makes my heart smile every time I see it. Oh, and remember that Vibe interview where you said, “If God gives me breath for the next 20 years I see myself changing the world because my thoughts are so different than the world’s”? The interviewer brushed over it like it was nothing. It was the most profound thing ever spoken.
People really like Makaveli's album.
Thanks again, Mr. Mathers. I feel Entrepreneurship for the Cool Kids will impact others the way your projects impacted me. No you, no me—creativity continues.
Ha! Just playing.