WEIRD SCENES INSIDE THE GOLD MINE
In the strangest convergence of underground and mainstream since Chuck Manson met the Beach Boys, Eminem made his first Detroit appearance since releasing his now-platinum-selling Slim Shady LP at BTM Productions "True Masters" rave Saturday night. The scene outside as could be expected was a madhouse, with a line 15 ravers wide still a block long just an hour before the Slim Ones 1:45 a.m. appearance.
But to BTMs credit, the Mack and Bellevue space home to their last booking coup, which brought Wu-Tang Clans resident eccentric Ol Dirty Bastard in last February sure didnt feel like an outlaw party. In fact, with its surprisingly mellow, biker-gang security force a kinder, gentler Altamont, anyone? and omnipresent rave-scene lawyer Barry keeping the stage orderly, and the warehouse remarkably under DPD radar (a few cops did stop by for autographs for their kids), the party felt more like a packed concert than a rave, give or take the sea of nitrous balloons and glowsticks. Which isnt to say the excitement wasnt there. In fact, DJ Mike Z spinning Jeff Mills rave anthem "The Bells" made a weird kind of underground sense leading up to the opening sets by Eminems former cohorts in the Detroit hip-hop underground scene, Da Ruckus, with guest rapper Paradime, Da Brigade, as well as rhymes by Bizarre, who delivered an apt summation of the night when he freestyled, " from the 3-1-3, the only girls wholl fuck me here are on Ecstasy."
For his part, Eminem didnt disappoint, coming onstage in a "HONKY" T-shirt flanked by bodyguards as flashpot pyrotechnics Detroit Rock City!! went off on the opening beat of "Brain Damage." Even though the onstage entourage of rap scenesters basking in reflective glory threatened to overwhelm his performance at times, Eminem showed why his skills have carried him platinum. He and MC Proof freestyled over Redmans "Pick It Up," covered (!) Dr. Dres "Nuthin But a G Thang" before tightening up for "Role Model," "Just Dont Give a Fuck" and "Still Dont Give a Fuck." So tight were these that the closing "MTV Spring Break" anthem, "My Name Is," seemed strangely anticlimactic.
But the party didnt stop there. After Eminems set, J-Money dropped uptempo, trick-happy tracks, while tag-teamsters Rectangle and Miami bass king Magic Mike tricked three copies of Queens "Flash Gordon" theme on as many turntables. Pakman was rewarded for having to shield his gear from the dance floor mob during Eminem by turning in his own set of spacesuit groovebox techno. By the time Frankie Bones ended the night with inspired non-techno tracks (house, proto-jungle breakbeats), the mood of the 1500 or so ravers was still pretty up there. Also enjoying the festivities were several underage gals who dropped top for the Eminem photo-op.
Promoter Ty Manica tried to keep media tipsters in check, ignoring calls from all the news stations and having the dailies reporters searched for hidden cameras "Fox 2 News Crave the Rave fucked that up, so they figured theyd come in on the sneak," said Manica. And perhaps strangest of all he listened incredulously to reports that 89X was playing his info line message giving directions to the pre-sale-only party over the air.
Meanwhile, Eminem will film Sway n Techs "Wake Up Show Anthem" video with RZA and Kool G Rap, as well as his own vid, probably for "Role Model" with Dre directing again before bringing the "Slim Shady Tour" to the State late May. As for "True Masters," safe to say its the first time the Detroit rave scene has hosted a Rolling Stone cover boy, but with other parties planned by both BTM and System in May and July, the Detroit underground is back, even if for better or for worse, its with an arena-rock-sized profile.