Eminem knows how to shock an audience — and back in 2000, Shady gave the MTV VMAs a potent dose of that shock value when he took over with an mind blowing performance!
Everywhere you looked, there was one Eminem clone after another as he performed The Real Slim Shady. It was a brilliant move that set Em on the road to rap icon status. He showed that rap could be cool, fun and yes, smart as hell. Eminem finished up his set with a heavily bleeped performance of The Way I Am.
The American rapper started his performance outside Radio City Music Hall and then entered the venue while rapping and being followed by 100 lookalikes! The Slim Shady impersonators sported bleached blond hair and dressed in white T-shirts and jeans, replicating the rapper’s image in the video for “The Real Slim Shady”
Paul Rosenberg, his manager, details how the idea to have the look-alikes with Eminem came about.
“I think it was originally Dr. Dre’s idea to create Eminems,” he says. “The whole idea of the song was — there’s a lot of people like me, but I’m the real deal. And also that there’s a lot of carbon copies, but there’s a Slim Shady in all of us.”
It’s so emblematic of who Eminem is. He’s literally starting outside and metaphorically starting as an outsider. These clones would come storming into the building led by Eminem, sweeping in the room to take it over.
“That’s one of the things about Em, as an artist, that I’ve really enjoyed working with,” Rosenberg says, “is that he’s always had this sort of fun accessible stuff that he uses to lead you in and go on a path you might not know you’re going on and then hit you with records like ‘The Way I Am’ or ‘Stan’ or more extreme things like ‘Kim’ and stuff you might not know you’re getting into. So, [the performance] goes along with that theme of starting off where you might think it’s all fun and games and then going into something more serious.”
Without a doubt, it is Eminem’s most memorable performance at the VMAs — and perhaps his most memorable performance ever. Don’t believe me? Listen to the crowd roar as he enters the auditorium at approximately 1:41 in the video of the performance!