“Loyalty” – Paul Rosenberg Interview

“Loyalty” – Paul Rosenberg Interview

Eminem’s partner in crime remembers how it all started.

By now, almost everyone on the planet has been familiarized with Eminem’s ascension from scruffy battle rapper to stalker-worthy hip-hop icon. But Marshall’s saga is not the only success story that begins in Detroit’s underground rap scene and ends in triumph. Accompanying him every step of the way has been Paul Rosenberg, Em’s manager, business partner and friend. Once an aspiring rapper dubbed Paul Bunyan, the Detroit native is now president of Shady Records, manager of Shady Ltd. (Em’s clothing line), and the president and CEO of Goliath Artists Inc. We chopped it up with Rosenberg about all things Shady and SIRIUS.


Eminem’s partner in crime remembers how it all started.

By now, almost everyone on the planet has been familiarized with Eminem’s ascension from scruffy battle rapper to stalker-worthy hip-hop icon. But Marshall’s saga is not the only success story that begins in Detroit’s underground rap scene and ends in triumph. Accompanying him every step of the way has been Paul Rosenberg, Em’s manager, business partner and friend. Once an aspiring rapper dubbed Paul Bunyan, the Detroit native is now president of Shady Records, manager of Shady Ltd. (Em’s clothing line), and the president and CEO of Goliath Artists Inc. We chopped it up with Rosenberg about all things Shady and SIRIUS.

How did you go from aspiring MC to manager?

It was a big evolution. Originally, I didn’t intend to be a manager. I was really interested in music. It was my passion and if I couldn’t be an artist, I was going to figure out a way to get involved in it with my career. The plan was to go to law school to be a music lawyer… [but] nobody wanted to hire me full-time coming straight out of [Mercy School of Law at the University of Detroit]. If you’re not from an Ivy League school or don’t have strong connections, it’s really hard to get in the field right off the bat. I started working for a personal-injury law firm in downtown New York, and I figured if nobody was going to hire me, I was going to start building up my own client base. That’s when I started keeping the relationships I had with artists from Detroit and figuring out who I was really going to try and step out with and shop their material and build a name for myself and the artist.

What was it about Em back then that made him an attractive artist to work with?

I thought he was really talented. After I listened to his first album, Infinite, I thought he was really good but wasn’t quite where he needed to be. As he has said, he was trying to sound like other people instead of himself, and it was pretty evident. But when I reached back out to him, his new stuff was really credible. I got ahold of him, asked him to send me what he was working on, and it was the barebones of what would become The Slim Shady EP. He had really figured out what he wanted to be as a rapper. I asked if I could represent him.

Why do you two work so well together?

I don’t know. I just really understand him and he trusts me. That’s the foundation for it. That has to be there for any professional relationship to work. Plus, through the whole process we became friends, and that helps play into it. We don’t always see eye to eye, but we trust each other.

Was there a particular vision in mind when you created Shady Records together?

He really wanted to put D12 out, and I really wanted to start a label. Those two goals worked well together. We started the label and the first act we released was D12. From there, Em became more interested in producing, and because of that, he was interested in signing more stuff. I have an A&R staff, and they listen to everything, and I listen to things myself and when we come across things we think are really good, which is rare, we bring it to Em.

What inspired the callabo with SIRIUS to create Shade45?

It sort of came to us; we didn’t search for it. The idea was presented to us because Interscope had a relationship with SIRUIS through Jimmy Iovine. They were discussing what kind of channel they could put together with Interscope artists or Interscope itself. The people in SIRIUS said they were really interested in doing something with Em. Em and I were, of course, blown away by the opportunity to have a radio station. Who wouldn’t be? We figured out the basics– what it was going to sound like, what it was going to be about– and just starting building it from scratch. I think the most appealing aspect is that we could do whatever we wanted. We can play whatever the fuck we want. That’s a pretty great feeling to have, and an incredible freedom.

How is programming decided?

I think our programming style would be described as “hyper-aggressive” because we’re so early on things. We feel like we know what’s going to be a hit in two months so that by the time it’s huge on a pop station, we’ll be done with it. We want to do sort of regular programming during the daytime and, at night, be heavy on the mixshows. Part of the vibe is that people are listening to the Aphilliates on a Friday night and it feels like you’re part of a live mixtape.

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