Benzino believed his cause was righteous.
Eminem fans probably know the name Ray Benzino. Chances are, they have no love for the former mogul. Still, having helped bring The Source into the world Zino has earned the right to speak on his career. Over the weekend, the former Made Man rapper slid through Noreaga's Drink Champs for a conversation, and it didn't take long before Em's name was thrown into the mix.
Explaining that his whirlwind lifestyle and unmitigated spending habits were getting the better of him, Benzino opened up about his legendary war with Shady Records. As the conversation reaches the thirty-six-minute mark, Zino admits that he did use his position at The Source to his advantage against Em. "The only time I gave myself the mics was the Eminem situation," he reflects. "It was me against the staff, me against everybody. At that point, it was just fuck everybody. I was in a dark place where I felt like 'I'm standing for something that's right.' I felt like nobody backed me."
"You can't look at the industry to be righteous," he muses, prompting Nore to ask whether he'd change his tactics if given the chance. "At that time, I felt deep about what I was standing for," says Benzino. "My thing is hip-hop is the only thing that made white people come to the culture, buy into the culture, spend money, and also interact with the culture through hip-hop...I felt like once they get a white rapper and make it so white people want to buy him, they fuck with that balance. Cause now white people will just fuck with him cause of his skin color. Before they had to fuck with us cause of the music."
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"With Eminem, I felt hip-hop is big now, it's pop now," continues Zino, fueling his prediction that the industry would mobilize behind a popular white rapper. "He came in, there was a whole demographic of white people who just ain't fuckin with n***as, period. I don't give a fuck. Those are the guys who'd vote Donald Trump." He goes on to explain that while Eminem raps, he's not "of the culture." "Eminem is not in the culture that I'm from," he elaborates. "That's not a bad thing. I'm not mad at that. He grew up one way, I grew up a whole different way...He grew up where there weren't a lot of black people."
Despite the fact that Zino's claims may very well be unfounded, given Em's widely-documented come ups with D12, Royce Da 5'9", and The Outsidaz, it's still interesting to hear him reflect on a beef that many hip-hop heads hold dear. Of course, Em has likely forever tarnished Zino's reputation in the eyes of the Stan-army, but we can't forget what he did contribute to hip-hop culture. The Source remains a legendary publication, and arguably the most impactful piece of hip-hop media to date. Check out his full Drink Champs appearance below.