Eminem launched Shady Records with his manager Paul Rosenberg in 1999 and has since signed a dozen artists while releasing music through Interscope Records. D12 were the first group to sign to the label in 2000, and the philosophy has stayed the same since day one.
During a recent interview with Complex, Eminem talked about the moment he first heard his new signing GRIP, the success of 50 Cent on Shady and the main priorities when it comes to bringing artists into the label.
“We all got excited about GRIP after we heard Snubnose,” he said. “It was really refreshing to hear a new artist so focused on making a conceptual project and it caught my attention. It’s definitely great when artists we sign connect with a larger audience, and 50 [Cent] is a perfect example of that.
“Obviously we want anyone who signs with Shady to succeed. But first and foremost, we’ve always focused on the raw talent and ability of the artist as an MC. We’ve always been pretty clear on that being the main thing we look for: high level fundamental skills and mechanics are definitely the priority.”
Eminem revealed he wants to be inspired by his signees and gives them the freedom to do their own thing without him intervening.
“It’s really important in a creative collaboration for there to be that personal connection for it to succeed,” he explained. “Shady is a boutique label and we don’t sign a lot of artists, so we have a chance to get involved at a deeper level with the ones we do. And I think that goes both ways. I like to be motivated by the artists we sign and I want to feel pushed by their creativity as well.”
He continued, “The people we sign have a point of view and vibe that made us want to work with them in the first place. Part of our job is to help them get out to a bigger audience but also I don’t like to insert myself where I’m not needed. I am looking to find where and how I can get involved that adds to or builds on what the artist is already doing.”
Shady Records has been home to D12, Obie Trice, 50 Cent, Stat Quo, Bobby Creekwater, Cashis, Bad Meets Evil, Slaughterhouse, Yelawolf and Westside Boogie over the past two decades. Atlanta rapper GRIP is now the latest focus for Eminem, with his first Shady album I Died For This!? expected to arrive on Friday (August 27).
In recent years, Griselda released their WWCD album on the label in 2019, with Westside Gunn dropping his Who Made the Sunshine album in October 2020. Conway The Machine is also set to release God Don’t Make Mistakes on the label later this year.