Eminem Reveals What He Looks For In A Shady Records Artist

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With new Shady Records artist GRIP dropping his album this Friday, Eminem opens up about his boutique record label.

Eminem and Paul Rosenberg’s Shady Records has a long and storied history since it first launched in 1999. From its inception onward, Shady signed a wide array of artists like D12, Obie Trice50 CentSlaughterhouseYelawolf, Westside Boogie, Conway The Machine, Westside Gunn, and most recently GRIP.

With the lattermost set to release his Shady debut this coming Friday — check out the tracklist for GRIP’s I Died For This!? right here — Eminem took a moment to speak on his signing process with Complex. “We all got excited about GRIP after we heard Snubnose,” Eminem explains. “It was really refreshing to hear a new artist so focused on making a conceptual project and it caught my attention.”


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“It’s definitely great when artists we sign connect with a larger audience, and 50 is a perfect example of that,” Em says, speaking on what many believe to be the best signing in his label’s history. “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.”

Given Em’s own unparalleled technical prowess, it’s not entirely surprising that it’s among his most desired criteria in a potential signee. Look no further than some of his recent artists, with Conway The Machine in particular encapsulating the spirit of a well-rounded and hard-hitting MC. “It’s really important in a creative collaboration for there to be that personal connection for it to succeed,” he continues. “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.”


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“The people we sign have a point of view and vibe that made us want to work with them in the first place,” explains Em. 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.”

With GRIP set to add another chapter to the ongoing Shady Records story, perhaps it’s time to familiarize yourself with the label’s history. If you’re interested in learning more about Em’s “boutique label,” check out our complete history pieces right here: Part 1, and Part 2.


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