The Source (Benzino) vs. Eminem

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Benzino and Eminem

Credit: Scott Gries/Getty Images; HENNY RAY ABRAMS/AFP/Getty Images

  • May 26 2002
    Eminem drops his album The Eminem Show. The Source magazine would give it a review of four out of five mics.
  • Sep 01 2002
    Eminem is at the 5th Annual Mixshow Power Summit in San Juan, Puerto Rico promoting his movie 8 Mile. After one of Eminem’s sets, Benzino tries to approach him but gets blown off.
  • Sep 01 2002
    Benzino gets in the studio at Hot 97 and starts speaking on his situation with Eminem at the time. He freestyles in the studio over Nas’ “Made You Look” beat and ends the freestyle with a jab at Eminem.
  • Sep 01 2002
    Eminem and 50 Cent appear on Hot 97. Em disses Benzino on air, speaking down on his music and calling him “Hasbeenzino.”
  • Oct 01 2002
    Benzino releases his Eminem diss track “Pull Your Skirt Up,” which would later be included on his album Redemption.
  • Nov 01 2002
    Eminem drops a mixtape hosted by DJ Green Lantern, titled, Shady Times: Invasion Part I, which includes four diss tracks directed at Benzino: “The Realest Label,” “The Sauce,” “Nail in the Coffin,” and Obie’s “Welcome to Detroit City.”
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If you’re familiar with the name Benzino, then odds are that you’re familiar with his beef with Eminem. It’s either that, or you’re a big fan of Love and Hip-Hop: Atlanta. Regardless, their blow-for-blow feud had profound effects on the rap game at the time it transpired. It tarnished The Source magazine’s rep, showcased Em’s lyrical lethality, and got both the G-Unit crew and Murder Inc. involved.

It all started at the 2002 Mixshow Power Summit: a four day conference for radio, mixshow and club disc jockeys that features a host of different hip-hop performances. Eminem attended the event, and after one of his sets, it is said that Benzino tried to approach Em and talk to him.

A couple months prior to the event, Eminem’s album The Eminem Show had been released, and The Source magazine had given it a review of 4 out of 5 mics. The Source had been supportive of Eminem in the past, most notably for including him in their Unsigned Hype section in his early days of emceeing. Benzino was the COO and co-founder of The Source at the time, so Eminem blamed him for the fact that he didn’t get a perfect review in the magazine.

With the stage set, Benzino’s Hot 97 freestyle after the Power Summit allegedly held a diss which the set the beef ablaze. As diss tracks started coming from both sides, it would be hard to argue that Eminem didn’t the lyrical upperhand. Benzino used his position at The Source as a pawn in his battle with Eminem, damaging its reputation as an impartial hip-hop outlet. This led to the beef being commonly considered to be between The Source and Eminem.

On tracks as well as in interviews, Benzino consistently cited issues of race and systematic oppression as his main issues with Eminem. He called Eminem the “hood ornament” of a oppressive machine, and hoped to put a dent in the machine by targeting him.

While Benzino and Eminem were going at it, Murda Inc. and G-Unit were clashing as well, as Ja Rule and 50’s beef fell around the same time period. Once Ja mentioned Em’s daughter, Hailie, in a diss track, Eminem seemingly lost interest in continuing the feud. In an interview with Sway, he says that his song “Like Toy Soldiers” is about trying to leave beef behind, considering the fact that label execs push beef for profit while MCs are left risking a lot more. Benzino would later show signs of regret for having Em’s family involved in the beef, seeing as he took a shot at his mother in its earlier stages.

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