Bobbito Garcia and Stretch Armstrong were radio gatekeepers in the 1990s. From premiering some of Wu-Tang Clan’s first material to the world to showing off gems from other East Coast legends early, the duo had an unmatched Hip Hop radio ear at the time.

Recently recalling his early experiences with Eminem and in the wake of the forthcoming documentary about Bobbito and Stretch, Complex Editor-In-Chief Noah Callahan-Bever recalled what it was like hanging around Eminem early on and his first appearance on the show.

“One thing was for sure, though, if Eminem was to succeed he was going to have to black out on Stretch and Bob first,” he wrote in the piece published on Complex. “By the summer of ’98 Marshall Mathers’ career was a rapidly growing snowball that was gaining velocity with each passing day, but success was still far from a foregone conclusion. In the previous nine months he’d released the Slim Shady EP regionally, signed to Dr. Dre’s Interscope-distributed Aftermath Records, and recorded his debut LP (though it wouldn’t be released until January of the next year). Those of us close to Em, who had heard the music, knew he had something incredibly special, but to the rest of the world there was still a litany of question marks around the project.”

Complex’s headman also explained Em’s vulnerability at the time and detailed how much of a student the Detroit native was of the game and its media.

“Eminem, a student of hip-hop if ever there was one, knew [how important it was for a positive Stretch and Bob appearance was] all too well,” he continued. “You couldn’t read The Source or RapPages without seeing references to the damage that had been done on Stretch and Bob. But, a battle rapper to the core, Em couldn’t get the X factor of Cage out of his head. And he had a right to be concerned.”

Read the full Complex piece here.

For more Eminem coverage, watch the following DX Daily: