The Meeting That Changed History
While Eminem was washing dishes at a fast food restaurant, hitting the battle rap circuit and independently pushing his debut album Infinite, Dr. Dre was already an established name in the music scene. N.W.A. had established a reputation as one of hip-hop’s most controversial and beloved groups, and Dre’s solo career was on the rise. In late 1992, the Compton artist’s debut solo album The Chronic exploded onto the scene, turning the sample-based sonic landscape on it’s head; while early hip-hop instrumentals were the product of sampling pre-existing records, Dre’s approach was to recreate the samples from scratch using live instrumentation.
The professionalism with which Dr. Dre produced and engineered all his own material caught the eye of aspiring record mogul Jimmy Iovine, who was looking to make a mark with his new record label: Interscope records. Iovine took a chance on Dre, and the pair developed a mutual trust that would develop over the years to come. Meanwhile, Em was steady pushing his cult classic Infinite from out the back of his trunk, participating in the event that would ultimately change his life: the 97’ Rap Olympics.
While Em was out there spitting bars, Dre was looking for his next artist. The good doctor’s Interscope deal was fraught with back to back early flops – Dr. Dre Presents Aftermath and The Firm – and pressure was beginning to build. Luckily, Dre managed to get ahold of one of Em’s early demo tapes, after one of Iovine’s interns caught Em’s dominant (yet second place) performance at the Rap Olympics. Slim’s flow immediately caught Dre’s attention, and before long, Em was on a plane to California.
HBO’s The Defiant Ones revealed some footage of Em & Dre’s first studio session, which culminated in what became known as “My Name Is.” From the opening minutes, it was clear that the duo were kindred spirits, and even though many record executives cautioned against the signing, Dre stuck with his guns and changed music history.
“It’s an honor to work with Dre, and now, I’m past the honor stage. Now it’s like, we developed–it’s more than a business, a friendship now.” – Eminem, Making Of Forgot About Dre.
On Em’s official studio debut The Slim Shady LP, Dr. Dre produced three songs – “My Name Is,” “Guilty Conscience,” and “Role Models,” as well as executive producing the entire project. It’s no surprise that each of the Dre produced cuts were singles, and the duo continued their hot streak on Dr. Dre’s legendary 2001. Em and Dre linked up for two tracks (three, if you count background vocals on “The Watcher”), and “Forgot About Dre” and ‘What’s The Difference” both stood out as some of the album’s most memorable singles.
There are many who would say that Dre and Em’s musical peak came on Em’s sophomore album, 2000’s The Marshall Mathers LP. Dre had perfected the sound he conceived on “My Name Is,” and hooked Em up with a batch of carnival-esque, off-kilter bangers. Together with producer Mel-Man, Dre laced six of the album’s nineteen songs, many of which stood out as highlights.
Dre’s input continued deep into Em’s career, producing two tracks for Em’s group D12’s Devil’s Night debut, and three on Eminem’s most personal album yet, The Eminem Show. Along with a few loosies along the way, and another joint on D12’s sophomore album, Dre produced eight out of twenty records on Em’s fourth studio album Encore.
Unfortunately, Encore marked the beginning of a dark period for Em, which led to Marshall essentially disappearing from the game as a solo artist. While his work on Shady Records yielded many tried-and-failed endeavors like Bobby Creekwater, Cashis, and Stat Quo, his own musical output slowed to a grinding halt.
Years passed, and eventually it was revealed that Eminem had been battling addiction; it got so bad that he nearly lost his own life. After a stint in Brighton rehab center, Em got his mind right, sobered up, and once again linked with Dre on his 2009 comeback album Relapse. While Relapse wasn’t to everyone’s liking, Dre’s production was undeniably on point; the good doctor and his team handled eighteen out of twenty of the album’s tracks. In fact, Relapse looked to be, at least on paper, Dre and Em’s most collaborative project yet.
However, Dre and Em seemed to distance themselves in the years to come. On Recovery, Dre only came through for “So Bad,” (and the “Ridaz bonus track). On Marshall Mathers LP 2, Dre contributed no production, despite having been the album’s executive producer. While some wondered if the dynamic duo’s creative run was coming to an end, it appears they have been back in the lab for Em’s upcoming album.
If The Defiant Ones is any indication, Em and Dre still have the utmost respect for one another, and there’s no denying that the chemistry they have forged has solidified them as one of music’s most iconic duos. As Brothers, muses, and friends, Eminem and Dre’s legacy is one worthy of respect. If you haven’t already, check out our controversial “Top 25 Best Eminem Songs Of All Time” list, which features many collaborations with the Good Doctor.
Here is a comprehensive list of every track Eminem and Dre have ever worked on together, including features and production. All songs are produced by Dr. Dre unless otherwise stated.
Eminem – The Slim Shady LP (1998)
My Name Is
Guilty Conscience ft. Dr. Dre
Funkmaster Flex – The Tunnel
Eminem – If I Get Locked Up Tonight ft. Dr Dre (prod by Dr. Dre & Funk Flex)
Wild Wild West OST (1999)
Dr. Dre & Eminem – Bad Guys Always Die
Dr. Dre – 2001 (1999)
The Watcher (background vocals by Eminem)
What’s The Difference ft. Xzibit & Eminem
Forgot About Dre ft. Eminem
Eminem – The Marshall Mathers LP (2000)
The Real Slim Shady
Remember Me ft. RBX & Sticky Fingaz
Bitch Please 2 ft. Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Xzibit, Nate Dogg
D12 – Devil’s Night (2001)
Ain’t Nuttin’ But Music
Eminem – The Eminem Show (2002)
Say What You Say ft. Dr. Dre
My Dad’s Gone Crazy
Obie Trice – Cheers (2003)
Shit Hits The Fan ft. Dr. Dre & Eminem
D12 – D12 World (2004)
American Psycho 2
Eminem – Encore (2004)
Never Enough ft. 50 Cent & Nate Dogg
Just Lose It
Ass Like That
Eminem – Relapse (2009)
Bagpipes From Baghdad
Same Song And Dance
We Made You
Stay Wide Awake
Old Time’s Sake ft. Dr. Dre
Must Be The Ganja
Mr. Mathers (Skit)
Crack A Bottle ft. Dr. Dre & 50 Cent
Steve Berman (Skit)
50 Cent – Before I Self Destruct (2009)
Psycho ft. Eminem
Eminem – Relapse: Refill (2009)
Hell Breaks Loose ft. Dr. Dre
Taking My Ball
Drop The Bomb On Em
Eminem – Recovery (2010)
Dr. Dre – I Need A Doctor (2011)
I Need A Doctor ft. Eminem & Skylar Gray (prod. By Alex Da Kid)
Dr. Dre – Compton (2015)
Medicine Man ft. Eminem (Prod. Dem Jointz & Focus…)
Eminem – Till Hell Freezes Over (1998)
Eminem – Ghost Stories (1998)
Eminem ft. Dr. Dre, Jay-Z & 50 Cent – Syllables (2011)