Eminem Declares ‘I’m Back!’ With Roaring Epicenter Concert

Detroit descended upon California as Eminem made a triumphant return to the West Coast at the Epicenter 2010 Festival on Saturday. Marshall Mathers performed just before fellow Motor City mavens KISS, and what the rapper lacked in pyro he more than made up in fanfare. Still one of the biggest-selling artists in the world, Epicenter was one of only a handful of concerts Em put on in 2010. Cali happily welcomed Eminem back, roaring, dancing and rapping their approval.

Epicenter’s first of two days was marked by sweltering heat in the 100s and a handful of performers whose absence from the stage was even longer than Slim Shady’s self-imposed hiatus. 1990s alt-rockers Bush, featuring frontman (and Gwen Stefani’s husband) Gavin Rossdale, made the fest their first major show in nine years, while House of Pain made it their first in 12 years. Oft-troubled rapper DMX rapped for a VIP-only audience.

Sponsored by Los Angeles rock station KROQ, Epicenter is only in its second year and is the brainchild of the same veteran music-industry trio who put together Rock on the Range in the Midwest and Canada. Last year’s lineup included Tool, Linkin Park and Alice in Chains. This year, Epicenter moved to the parking lot of the expansive Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, part of California’s Inland Empire.

The first major player to hit the main stage was one half of the mega-selling progressive hip-hop duo Outkast. Big Boi emerged in the afternoon, after opening sets from Hollywood Undead-spinoff Deuce and keyboard-heavy L.A. trio Crash Kings. Big Boi’s DJ complained about the heat nearly melting his vinyl, but the Atlanta MC smoothly mixed solo tracks into an otherwise Outkast-leaning set that included some freestyling.

Papa Roach may not sell as many records as they used to, but the band received a heroes’ welcome the second they hit the stage. They’ve updated their look, too, trading the nu-metal garb for skinny jeans, hipster sneakers and longer hair, all of which suits them. They unleashed a dirtier, darker side than was apparent on their earliest hits, and frontman Jacoby Shadix was the consummate showman, leaving fans hanging on his every hand motion. “Last Resort” closed the set, sounding appropriately more raw and energized than the version on their major label debut.

Gavin Rossdale may have dabbled with the band Institute and a solo career, but at Epicenter, the singer/guitarist got back to Bush, performing the music that put him all over the radio in the ’90s and touring with an opening act called No Doubt. Back then, Bush became one of the first bands to capitalize on the mainstream doors blown down by Nirvana. Bush hail from England, not Seattle, but grunge motifs are all over their numerous hits, many of which they played: among them “Machinehead,” “Swallowed,” “Everything Zen,” “Glycerine” (which Rossdale belted out solo with an acoustic guitar) and a set-closing “Come Down.”

The sun mercifully went down as the second stage prepared for hip-hop headliners House of Pain, who came on after Kinda Major, Smile Empty Soul, the Knux and Big B warmed up the crowd. It’s been an eventful journey for rapper/singer Everlast, who began his career as a scrappy solo artist, found fame with House of Pain and their massive hit “Jump Around,” before reinventing himself as a guitar-slinging country/rap troubadour after suffering a surprise heart attack.

Everlast had his guitar for most of the set as he led a full band (drums, bass, keys and a horn section!) flanked by Danny “Danny Boy” O’Connor. The pair rapped House of Pain songs like “Shamrocks and Shenanigans,” “On Point,” “Put Yer Head Out” and, of course, “Jump Around” over a variety of familiar songs, including the beats made famous by Dr. Dre’s “The Next Episode” and Tupac’s “California Love,” all during a rousing and lively set that included a dedication to Gang Starr’s late MC, Guru. There was also an appearance by members of their most recent project, La Coka Nostra.

Expectation was palpable for Eminem’s first West Coast concert appearance this year. Video screens projected a message written as if it were taken from news headlines. The text spelled out the dark period in Eminem’s career, when retirement seemed a possibility, before heralding his triumphant return. Looking healthy and ready for battle, Eminem was backed by huge production (including several clever, stylized videos that played throughout), a hype man, a band, and even D12 for a short medley. Like his September stadium shows with Jay-Z, Eminem kept the song selection diverse, drawing from newer material and classic tracks like “The Way I Am.” The show kicked off with “Won’t Back Down” and “3 a.m.,” setting the tone for the rest of the performance.

“I’m back, man,” he told the crowd early in the set. “You miss me? I missed y’all.”

He led the crowd in a “Free Lil Wayne” chant as he launched into “No Love.” Em asked the crowd if they had ever “had beef” with their parents just before “Cleaning Out My Closet.” A “Big Proof Forever” message was displayed on the screen when the rest of his Detroit crew D12, including a shirtless Bizarre, flooded the stage for tracks like “Fight Music.” Cell phones and lighters were raised high during the Aerosmith-sampling “Sing for the Moment.” It was a long marathon of quality tracks during which Em proved to have as much stamina as ever, despite his lack of touring.

Sandwiched right between the night’s biggest acts, DMX gave the tiny VIP tent something incredible to remember when he banged out hits like “Party Up in Here,” as well as one new track. The Ruff Ryder looked to be in good health and grateful for the audience’s enthusiasm. He made several references to his faith, thanking and praising God profusely.

What can you say about KISS that hasn’t been said? The band closed the night with pyrotechnics and dependable spectacle. There’s the makeup, the production, the costumes, the stunts, the constant marketing of everything from condoms to Dr. Pepper, sure, but you know what else? There’s the songs! KISS, who have been together for close to 40 years, crafted a catalog at their height that includes lean, mean, muscular rock anthems like “God of Thunder,” “Detroit Rock City” and the ubiquitous “Rock N’ Roll All Night.”

Founding members Ace Frehley and Peter Criss are both gone, but Paul Stanley and Gene Simmons still tear it up live for their the KISS Army, and Epicenter was no exception. Drummer Eric Singer has of course been part of the KISS family for a longtime and Thommy Thayer does an admirable job of filling Space Ace’s shoes, guitar effects and all.

Sunday (September 26), the second and last day of the outdoor festival, will feature Blink-182 in their only North American appearance this year, alongside Rise Against, Bad Religion, Against Me! and more.

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Maino Says He Had Eminem Songs 3 Yars Before

New York rapper Maino says he had three of Eminem’s new “Recovery” album not only before him but three years bofore the album was released. Maino even says that the lead single, “Not Affraid,” was his along with two others, all done three years before.

“I had three records on Em’s album,” explained Maino, before revealing that the tracks ultimately became “Not Afraid,” “25 to Life,” and “Talkin’ to Myself.” “I recorded that in 2007,” he recalled of “Talkin’ to Myself.” “A lot of times, you record a lot of the album, you record a lot of music before you actually put the music out. What happens is, sometimes you don’t actually love everything you do. That particular record, I didn’t love my performance on it–to the point where I loved the hook, but I didn’t feel like I did it [justice]. I was gonna get back to it and redo it, but I had never done it.”

Eminem, Jay-Z Joined By Dr. Dre, Drake At Historic Detroit Concert

Detroit hasn’t screamed this loud at a baseball park since Kirk Gibson was hitting home runs in the 1984 World Series. Hip-hop history was made as Jay-Z and Eminem co-headlined the Motor City’s Comerica Park (home of the D-Town Tigers for the past decade) on Thursday night (September 2), the first of two shows on consecutive nights.

While Jay’s high-grossing touring schedule helped him to top this year’s Forbes’ “Hip-Hop Cash King” list, Eminem took a much-needed sabbatical to deal with a myriad of personal issues. Now beyond his darkest hour, Em had one of his brightest moments ever onstage. Not only did he gift his hometown with a seemingly endless string of hits, he pulled off some major surprises. After D12, 50 Cent and the G-Unit — acts that fans likely expected — came out for performances with Em, Slim Shady pulled off a shocker. Dr. Dre came out, first stunning the people then delighting them with smashes.

After his name appeared on the Comerica big screen, the man heralded by many as the greatest producer of his time came out to the opening notes of his world-famous “Next Episode.” Then the familiar first keys of “Still Dre” were played.

“Haters say Dre fell off,” the Doc rapped. “How n—a? My last album was The Chronic.”

After that, the Shady/Aftermath duo took it back to Dre’s Chronic days with “Nuthin’ But a ‘G’ Thang.”

“One, two, three and to the fo,” Em rapped in Snoop’s cadence.

” ‘Cause you know we came to rip sh– up!” Dre spit later.

Dr. Dre appeared to be in the best shape of his life. Wearing a T-shirt with the late Proof’s face printed on it, Dre looked strong enough to end the Undertaker’s undefeated streak at Wrestlemania.

“Got dammit, Detroit. Do I love you or what?” Eminem asked his fans. “Look what I brought out for you.”

Em then told Dre he wanted him to feel the love; Detox chants followed.

“Deeee-tox. Deeee-tox,” they yelled from the bleachers to the bullpen. Dre just smiled and said, “I’m Comin’!”

One would-be guest who couldn’t attend for obvious reasons was Lil Wayne. But Shady made sure to salute Weezy after “No Love.” And the Young Money flag did wave proudly in Detroit as Drake came out for “Forever” and gave a special nod to the Motor City.

“In Detroit, faded off the brown,” Drake rapped.

“Nino!!!!” the crowd responded.

“I’m so honored to be here to tonight. This is history in the making. I want y’all to make some noise for the muthaf—in’ legend that is Emimem.”

Em’s legend was largely built off his mastery of music and a catalog made for the kind of environment he played on Thursday: stadiums. The Detroit rapper has been making sing-along anthems throughout his career. Not just tracks you rap in the shower or in the car, but big records like “Sing for the Moment,” “Stan” and “Cleaning Out My Closet” — tracks practically begging for an audience of tens of thousands holding lighters up. Em proved he still has that rare connection with his fanbase. Grown men took off their shirts and got rock-n-roll rowdy when he rapped.

“Got dammit, Detroit, I’m back,” Em said early on in the night. “Did you miss me?”

It was clear that Em missed his fans as well. He was engaging, lively and energetic on this night. After the “Real Slim Shady” and “Without Me,” Em thanked his fans again.

“I love you. This song is for you.” “Not Afraid” followed. After screams of “encore, encore,” Em brought out the Unit, D12 and Detroit legend Trick Trick who had earlier performed on “Lose Yourself.”

Thursday’s Home and Home show kicked off with B.o.B, who came back later for “Airplanes, Pt. 2,” and set the tone with a quick set that included “Nothin’ on You.”

The audience was eventually alerted that the Jiggaman was 10 minutes away from showtime. Two clocks filled two oversize screens on the enormous stage while the Beastie Boys’ “No Sleep Till Brooklyn” blared from the speakers. When the countdown hit “0,” Jay rose from beneath the stage, the lyrically intricate “Dynasty Intro” being played by his band, the Roc Boys. Then a brief snippet of “Lucifer” played before Jay went into his jaw-dropping verse from Rick Ross’ “Free Mason.”

During “D.O.A. (Death of Auto-Tune),” Jay rhymed “this might need a verse from Jeezy.” On cue, the Snowman came out for the “Dey Know” remix followed by “Soul Survivor.” His mini-set ended with “Put on for My City” and “Lose My Mind.”

After that though, it was the Jay hit parade — with assistance from Memphis Bleek. The Brooklyn duo rocked with a flurry of big records, including “You Don’t Know,” “99 Problems” and “(Originator 99).” During “Big Pimpin’,” Jay delivered Pimp C’s verse in the late UGK legend’s cadence.

“What y’all know about them Deetroit boys?” Hov asked.

A tribute to hip-hop’s fallen soldiers ensued, as the audience shouted in unison, “Prrrrrooooooooof!”

“I know y’all going through a lot, but Detroit has heart and Detroit will be back,” Jay said.

Hov and Slim Shady shared but a few minutes of stage time as Jay emerged for “Renegade” during Em’s set.

The Home and Home Tour continues Friday night (September 3) at Comerica Park and comes to the Bronx, New York, on September 13 and 14 at Yankee Stadium.

Were you at Jay and Em’s Detroit stop? Tell us what you thought of the show!

Jay-Z, Eminem Stadium Show A Victory For Hip-Hop, Critics Say

It’s one thing to produce a legendary concert, it’s another for it to actually go down without a hitch. Jay-Z and Eminem set the bar pretty high for themselves back in May when they announced they’d be performing two nights of stadium shows in each of their respective hometowns. That’s literally months of anticipation, and anything could have gone wrong during that time.

But according to early reports, last night’s show at Detroit’s Comerica Park was nothing short of historical.

“What [Detroit] got was an evening that may well go down as a milestone for hip-hop,” Brian McCollum wrote in USA Today. “Rock ‘n’ roll has its enduring concert superstars, its Springsteens and Stones. But for hip-hop — whose live legacy has been comprised mostly of flash-and-burn young acts and retro-circuit oldies — Thursday’s confident, high-quality production represented something unique. It was loud, resounding evidence that hip-hop can do the larger-than-life thing, too.”

Aside from the evening being momentous for hip-hop culture, it was also a return to form for one of Detroit’s native sons. “Eminem set out to confront his past demons, put them to rest and claim a victorious and potent present,” Gary Graff wrote at Billboard.com. “[H]e largely did during an exhaustive, guest-filled 100-minute performance at Detroit’s Comerica Park that spanned his entire recording career with full or partial performances of 33 songs.”

At Spin.com, Chris Handyside wrote, “Both men stepped up huge with a one-two punch of sets that over four hours encapsulated the hip-hop flavors of their cities and pop music in general. For his part, Jay was at ease delivering a catalog of career-spanning crowd-pleasers from ‘The Dynasty’ to ‘Hard Knock Life’ to a majestic ‘Empire State of Mind’ … Jay is, simply, a rock star.”

But according to Handyside, for all the spectacle Jay’s show had, it was merely an alley-oop for Em to slam-dunk the night away. “This was Eminem’s night, after all was said and done,” he said.

At the MTV Newsroom blog, Kyle Anderson compared the night’s festivities, complete with its revolving circus of guest performers — Dr. Dre, D12, 50 Cent, Lloyd Banks, Drake, Young Jeezy and Memphis Bleek — to the Band’s 1976 retirement concert, “The Last Waltz.”

“[T]he cameos were piling up like the junker cars that lined Em’s set,” Adam Graham wrote in The Detroit News. “Drake joined him for ‘Forever,’ returning a favor for when Em appeared at the Toronto rapper’s hometown performance earlier this summer; 50 Cent and Lloyd Banks came on for mini-set of 50 Cent songs, including ‘Patiently Waiting’ and ‘In Da Club’; and Dr. Dre appeared — wearing a Proof shirt, no less — and did a small set of songs with Em, including ‘Nuthin’ but a G Thang’ and ‘Still D.R.E.’ Em got the crowd to chant for Dre’s long-delayed Detox LP as Dre left the stage, and the reclusive star promised, ‘I’m comin’!’ ”

But Graham also wrote that Em’s performance dragged a bit during a D12 mini-set. He also noted that Jay-Z has played a lot more shows in the past few years, and hints that as a result, Jay’s show seemed a bit more refined. “Unlike Eminem,” he wrote, [Jay-Z] didn’t seem to be relying on pre-recorded tracks to bolster his vocals.”

Could be much ado about nothing, though, as Handyside felt differently. “Where Jay put on a full-on polished show,” he wrote, “Em hosted a loose cannon revue and seemed to enjoy every minute of it. He’s made clear that he’s through with the ‘game’ element of hip-hop. And Thursday he let it be known what that looked like.”

Eminem To Battle For Number 1 Again

Eminem will once again battle it out for the number one spot on the sales charts next week, this time with Epic Records recording artist, Sara Bareilles. Her “Kaleidoscope” album is set to sell around 80-90k which will put her right next to Eminem’s “Recovery” which is also set to do around 90,000 more copies sold.

Eminem, Jay-Z Fans Recall Favorite Moments From Detroit Shows

There’s no question that Jay-Z and Eminem’s Home and Home Tour stops in Detroit were two of the biggest events the city’s hip-hop community has ever seen.

On the final night, Em and Hov fans recounted an unforgettable show to MTV News, in which rap titans like Dr. Dre and 50 Cent joined Shady and Jigga on the Comerica Park stage.

Although she “loves Eminem,” one D-Town fan gave Hov’s set the biggest props. “It had to be Jigga. Coming from underneath, giving a shout-out to [Michael Jackson], it was Jigga,” she said.

Another concertgoer said witnessing the hip-hop heavyweights rip up the stage with one of their classic collabos was her favorite moment of the night. “Probably when Eminem and Jay-Z got on the stage together [for ‘Renegade’],” Lindsay said, describing the show highlight. “That was pretty tight.” Fellow audience member Bridget echoed the same sentiment, bellowing, “Renegade!”

Some fans loved when Em made a move that few hip-hop stars have the clout to pull off, and brought out his mentor, Aftermath kingpin and rap pioneer Dr. Dre.

“My favorite part was when Dr. Dre came out,” said Jen, who was accompanied by a fellow Doc-loving pal. “We’ve been … big [fans] for forever.”

As Jay-Z and Em signed off from the Motor City, many fans were amped they were able to witness the historic show firsthand.

“I’m glad I was a part of it,” said Dianca. “It was a great concert, it was awesome. I love Jay-Z.”

Clutching an Eminem tee and bubbling with post-show energy, Christina was grateful for the opportunity to see the superstar MCs work magic in the D. “It was amazing. I’m glad I didn’t miss it,” she enthused. “I’m glad I got to be there. I really feel sorry for everyone who did miss it but it was awesome.”

Juanita trekked from Jacksonville, Florida but conceded that the Motown show was a singular event.

“I loved everything ’cause I love Jay-Z. I loved the [extra guests] they brought out, I love Dr. Dre. I love everybody, Eminem, everybody!” she said. “Go Detroit, yeah! Only in the D!”

Did you see Jay-Z and Eminem in concert? Let us know in the comments below!