On Tuesday night during the BET Hip-Hop Awards, Eminem said some mean things about Donald Trump, who seized the White House on the premise of saying mean things. This year, we’ve seen a number of pieces comparing Eminem’s brusque appeal to Trump’s rhetorical approach. The New York Times also studied listening patterns across the country, and revealed significant geographical overlap between Eminem’s fans and Trump’s electoral base.
Even if Eminem threatens to drop a hot coffee pot on Trump or smash him into The Wall, they’re natural bedfellows. Nothing makes this clearer than a 2004 clip, in which the future president endorsed his future nemesis for president.
“The Shady National Convention” was the sort of thing that could only happen in 2004. As Time notes, it was an oddball stunt hosted by MTV back when they were in the business of artist-centered oddball stunts. In this particular case, Eminem staged a convention for a fictional presidential run to promote his satellite radio channel Shade 45 (eerie numerical choice). Em’s theoretical cabinet was filled out by cameos from 50 Cent and Dr. Dre, campaign manager Ludacris, and the “unofficial” mayor of NY, P. Diddy. The event also featured high-profile stump speeches, including from Trump, Shady’s “Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Cash.”
The faux-endorsement took place before he really leaned into public xenophobia, but we still got the same gestures, self-praise, and talk about winning that we’re far too used to. “Of course I’m right. I’m always right,” Trump said in the speech. “I know a winner when I see one. And Donald Trump is telling you, right now, Slim Shady is a winner. He’s got brains. He’s got guts. And he’s got Donald Trump’s vote. Ladies and gentlemen, our great candidate, Slim Shady.”
Trump hasn’t tweeted about Eminem’s vicious, silly freestyle yet, but whenever he does, it’ll be a far cry from this relic: