Jeff Bass, a former producer and songwriting partner with Eminem, recently spoke about how their relationship has changed since their last collaboration on 2009’s Relapse.
“I still love him and everything and I’m sure he still loves me,” said Bass, who with his brother Mark is collectively known as The Bass Brothers, the production and songwriting duo who worked extensively with Eminem on his first few releases, during an interview with grantland.com. “But we don’t communicate like we used to. He told me he had to experiment with other writers, other producers. It was very fair. All artists probably do that. We could only have our vision of what he should be. Life happened. Life just moves on. It’s not like he said, ‘Jump! You’re fired.’ It was just, ‘I’m gonna go in a different direction.’ ‘Cool, I wish you the best of luck.’ I can guarantee that we could sit down today and write a song, and we could still put something out that the fans would love. And maybe someday that’ll happen.”
During the interview, Bass also spoke about what he saw in Eminem’s music when they first met, prior to Em’s fame.
“When Marshall came into the picture, I wasn’t quite sure about his ability because I couldn’t understand what he was saying,” Bass said. “He was triple-timing, spitting rhymes. I was just trying to comprehend him. Then I started writing tracks for him. And it became apparent that he was amazing.”
Bass also said he and his brother coached Eminem through compositions.
“In between Infinite [Eminem’s independently released first album] and The Slim Shady EP, we figured out how to communicate with him,” Bass said. “Because he doesn’t come from a musical background. We had to figure out a way emotionally to get through to him. So how I approached it is, any song that had a happy feel we’d call a happy tune. Angry, sad, violent — we’d use adjectives to get through to him. So that he could write the type of lyrics that’d go with the track.”
Jeff Bass Details Dr. Dre’s Discovery Of Eminem
During the interview, Bass also speaks about Eminem’s journey to being signed.
“He was doing the Rap Olympics, and he was winning all over the place,” Bass said. “And then he lost in L.A., but when we were there we had a bunch of The Slim Shady EPs. At that particular show, there was somebody in the audience watching. A young kid, 17 years old, and he saw all the passion that Marshall was putting into his show and his lyrics. And he came up to us after, ‘Can I get a CD?’ Little did we know, he worked in the mail room at Interscope Records. And he loved Eminem. And what he did for us, on his own, is slip the CD in Jimmy Iovine’s listening bag that he used to take home every Friday. And Jimmy actually listened to it, and said ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa. What is this?’ And he called Dre, and then Dre came and listened to it. It’s not like Dre found it on the floor in his garage. The true story was that he was called by Jimmy. And then it all snowballed from there.”
Bass also talked about Eminem’s emotions during this period.
“He was really excited, first of all, that Dr. Dre was gonna be involved,” Bass said. “[Dre] was a big star in ’98. He was freaked out. ‘Oh my god, I can’t believe it!’ Me and my brother were excited. ‘Dr. Dre wants to talk to us!’ And Marshall went out to L.A. with my brother first. They got there a week before me. And it started immediately. Meeting Dre, talking with Jimmy, meeting all these people, this whole crazy period. I think it was February of ‘98.”
Jeff Bass Discusses Eminem’s Marriage With Former Wife Kim
During the interview, Jeff Bass also spoke about Eminem’s marriage with his former wife Kim and the long-standing friendship he built with the rapper.
“He’s been with me since ‘95,” Bass said of Eminem. “When he was a young buck. I was with him when Hailie was just born. I knew Kim. She used to come into the studio with us all the time. We used to take Marshall out to the different clubs in Detroit. She would come with us, be her crazy self.”
Bass was also asked if the couple was dysfunctional.
“It was always obvious,” Bass said. “He basically lived with us in the studio on 8 Mile road. And you got to know the person. We had to deal with his mother. We had to deal with Kim. We had to deal with uncles and friends trying to be hangers-on. You really get to know a person. And it was amazing. As he would come up with the stories [on the songs], those of us who were close to him working on the project, we knew there was so much truth in what he was saying. That’s pure emotion. That’s realism. And he told it like he was speaking to every kid out there that was going through the same thing. He was their voice. It was quite incredible.”
In addition to his songwriting and production credits on various Eminem albums, Bass also appeared on various Eminem skits, including “Soap,” “Lounge,” and throughout “Bad Meets Evil,” off The Slim Shady LP.