Esham is a Detroit acid rap artist. He is also known as « Esham the Unholy ».
The whole beef started when Eminem mentioned acid rap in his « Slim Shady LP ».
In the « Kill You » track from the Marshall Mathers LP, he says : « I don’t acid rap, I rap on acid … »
Esham pretends to have the same content than Eminem in his lyrics :
“It’s a fucking major struggle, when the same lyrical content that Eminem has is the same lyrical content that I have. But at the same time, they won’t put me up on MTV saying that shit. It’s just different rules. We’re all playing on different sides of the fence.”
Esham accuses Eminem of stealing his style. Eminem was influenced by Esham, but whatever Esham may say, both artists sound completely different.
In his « Still Dont Give A Fuck » lyrics, Eminem claims : « Im a cross between Manson, Esham and Ozzy ».
On the 2001 Warped Tour, a struggle between Esham his NATAs member T.N.T and the D12 members (except for Eminem who wasnt involved because he didnt participate to the tour) happened that lead to Eshams hospitalization. Esham accuses Eminem of programming and anticipating his murder.
Road manager Brian Curran witnessed the scene :
« I was walking toward the area where all of the buses were parked, and saw them [Esham and T.N.T,] walking by the guard rails that surround the buses. Then I see this blue bus which later I was told was D-12’s, drive by them bust a u-turn and then 30 or 40 guys piled out of the bus and started to beat on Esham and T.N.T. »
D12 member Proof has admitted being involved :
“…at the show in Philly. I hoped off [our bus] and D12 followed and we whooped him and TNT ass”
Esham dissed the D12 group on his album. He insisted on how much the D12 were scared of him (why should they ?). In his song « Chemical Imbalance » he disses Hailie badly : “I wont get on MTV cuz I beat up Carson Daily, remind Eminem of D’Angelo Bailey, Hailie’s in a coma, Hailie’s in a coma I smell the aroma of a dead body killa.” Esham also calls « D12 » « Dick 12 ».
Most of Eminems enemies dont seem to have serious arguments against the talented MC and Hailie seems to be their main target. They calculate the effect created by their diss on Hailie in advance in order to get a mad answer from Marshall. Personal attacks are meant to weaken him (anybody who would attack my kids that way would certainly affect me). But even if it may affect Marshall and get on his nerves, they seem to forget that they have to do with the best battle MC !
Eminems enemies also lack originality most of the time. Their attacks on the talented rapper appear to be publicity stunts. They more they talk about Eminem, the more they are talked about.
The D12 member Swifty MC Vay expressed on Esham in an interview given to « Live Daily » :
« Esham is doing that to get money.this is my opinion. Esham been out, as far as I know, since 1991.He dropped over 10 albums already and they did nothing for nobody, except for [Eshams side project] NATAS. I cant knock him for bringing his boys out. But he does nothing for nobody. Now Eminem took the world by storm and Im not saying this just to be arrogant. Eshams in the same city.Hes dissing (Eminems) daughter, hes dissing his ex-wife. Hes dissing Eminem for no reason except to make us talk about him again. Its a publicity stunt. Eminem doesnt even know him.He doesnt have any kind of excursion with him. They never hung out. They never exchanged money. He never borrowed any money. It seems to me that he is doing this so we can talk about him back, just so the crowd can see what Esham is gonna say about us. »
Maybe Eminem has found some inspiration in Eshams style, but Esham has never been his one and only source of inspiration. Eminems musical influences are various and numerous, you can find them in Ice Ts music as well as in the Beastie Boys, NWA or LLCool J and many others.
Many artists like Esham or Cage have accused Eminem of copying their style. Matter of fact : those artists are still underground and unknown by many people. If their art was that great, why didnt they emerge from their « underground status » ?
Eminem has nothing to prove in that way. Even if some artists style has been a source of inspiration to Marshall Mathers, he has fully proven to be an original artist with a lot of imagination and a sophisticated rhyming style.