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Mike Elizondo

Soon after he signed his publishing deal, Elizondo began working extensively with Dr. Dre, not only as a bassist, but playing keyboards and guitars. In addition, he became a co-writer on several of Dr. Dre’s projects. ‘The first song that came out was ‘The Real Slim Shady’,’ recalled Elizondo. ‘I initially played a bass line on the song, and Dre, Tommy Coster Jr. and I built the track from there. Em (Eminem) then heard the track, and he wrote the rap to it.’

‘The Real Slim Shady’ subsequently became a huge hit, which established Eminem as a superstar artist, and propelled The Marshall Mathers LP to worldwide sales of 16 million units. It was undoubtedly the breakthrough for Elizondo’s career also. ‘Having a hit song on the radio definitely changed my world, in terms of being in the music business,’ he explained. ‘But I really didn’t have time to think about the success. I was busy in the studio working with Dre on several other, artist projects. We started working with Eve, Mary J. Blige and Xzibit.’

Elizondo discussed the creative process of collaborating with Dr. Dre. ‘We have a routine for writing and recording. We would show up at the studio at 3:00 pm, almost like a day job. Then Dre would usually throw up some drum beats, and then we’d fire up the keyboards and G5 (Apple) computer. I would play keyboards and guitars. Sometimes we would work with other writers, such as Scott Storch, Mark Batson and Che Pope. We would find sounds that meshed with Dre’s grooves.’

After working on various projects with Dr. Dre, and collaborating with other artists (such as Macy Gray and Nelly Furtado), Elizondo & Dr. Dre began writing for Eminem’s follow-up album, The Eminem Show. They went to Detroit to work at Eminem’s new studio, and during an intense, week-and-a-half period, they wrote several songs which made it onto the album. ‘Em is very prolific,’ said Elizondo. It was like the old Motown style of working, with a group of us creating the music and tracks in the same room.’

Following the tremendous success of The Eminem Show album (which he co-wrote four songs, including the hit ‘Business’), Elizondo & Dr. Dre focused on writing with 50 Cent, who had signed a co-venture deal with Eminem’s Shady Records and Dr. Dre’s Aftermath Records. The duo co-wrote four songs for his Get Rich Or Die Tryin‘album, including the breakthrough hit, ‘In Da Club.’

actually wrote the track six months before, but the artist we were working on at the time passed on it,’ recalled Elizondo. ‘But we felt strongly about the track, so we stashed it away until we played it for 50 (Cent). He loved it, and he fiercely started writing the lyrics. About an hour later, 50 had written the entire lyric. He came back in the room and started singing (the now famous intro) ‘Go Shorty, it’s your birthday, we’re gonna party like, it’s your birthday’.’ Notably, ‘In Da Club’ also turned out to be the first cut which Elizondo received a production credit with Dr. Dre.


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He is now credited as producer (with Dr. Dre) on all of their cuts together.