In 1998, when college-educated, father of two, Byron "Big Nasty" Williams took on the job of bodyguard to hip hop's great trinity, Marshall Mathers/Eminem/Slim Shady, he knew he'd be exposed to another threesome: sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll. What he didn't know was that his job would eventually lead to betrayal and violence.
In his self-published book, Shady Bizzness: Life As Marshall Mathers Bodyguard In An Industry of Paper Gangsters, Williams explains how the multi-platinum rapper went from being his "little brother" to his foe. This interview with the ex-bodyguard and found out exactly what goes on behind-the-scenes of Slim Shady's world—Kim, Ectasy, groupies and guns.
How did you and Eminem meet?
Through a friend, Mark Hicks. Paul Rosenberg (Eminem's manager) asked Mark if he knew of anyone who could do security and he recommended me.
What were your first impressions of Eminem and Paul?
I thought Paul was arrogant and Slim was a character.
What was the relationship between you and Eminem then?
We would sit down and kick it about shit. Slim tested me to see if I had his back by doing outlandish shit like stage diving and disappearing to see if I could find him. In like three months, we were cool. He trusted me.
Did he ever confide in you?
He always asked me how and why I didn't do certain things [like drugs]. He called me "Goody Two-Shoes." Paul once told me that Slim cared about me and felt like no one could take care of him [Slim] like I did. I was very flattered.
What's the reason for writing the book?
To teach Em a lesson about taking advantage of people. I thought of Slim as my little brother. He has to learn how to respect people and show loyalty.
So, you're not a disgruntled employee out to make some money?
I had no intentions of doing a book until he [betrayed me]. I put my life on the line for him and he went and took food out my children's mouth. As far as I'm concerned, he sold me out! When I went to confront him about the shit that he did, he tried to pull a gun on me!
We're you fired?
How did you take the revenge factor out of the book?
I toned the book down a lot. Shady Bizzness will teach people about the entertainment industry—how crooked managers are, and how the industry affects artists and their families.
How did Eminem change for the worse?
He lost his sense of reality—got caught up in his own hype and his characters.
Do you think that the people around him encouraged this behavior?
They never encouraged it, but they never [discouraged it]. If they did, he would turn it up a notch because he doesn’t listen to anyone.
What was Eminem's frame of mind on "The Slim Shady Tour"?
He would sleep, shop and perform.
What was your role on the tour?
Besides providing security, I had to deal with groupies—make sure they were [of] legal [age], had to stop fights. I was basically a babysitter.
What about the drug use during the first tour?
Drugs—mainly Ecstasy and Vicadin—was [sic] prevalent. I think Slim did drugs to deal with the shows and the press. After a while, that shit takes its toll on you. I remember Em saying he could stop [drugs] at any time. He would go off of them for like a week, then start up again.
How were the drugs made accessible to Eminem?
It was the road manager's job to supply them! (laughter) Paul kept us so busy and away from our families; I think that's why Slim lost his identity. Slim told Paul, "Slow down and stop doing shit without consulting me first. I wanna see my daughter." Paul would say, "You’re gonna see your daughter next week." But Paul don't understand because he's chillin' at his home while we’re out on the road. Shit would get so stressful; I could see why Em did so many drugs.
What about his wife Kim?
Kim had a problem with sharing Marshall with the world. And Em had to shit on her on his albums in order to support his family. She came out during "The Warped Tour," but I never saw them have a blissful time, never saw them hold hands.
Was he faithful to Kim?
On the first tour, he wasn't really doing shit with all the groupies. But the second tour, that’s when shit got started! I must say, Em was very selective with the girls he chose...
The interview on the last page gave you one side of the story, so we wanted to bring you another.
In an attempt to do this, SOHN contacted Paul Rosenberg (Em's manager) - the man behind the legend who gets his own attention in Williams' book. After much rapper red tape, our phone interview was set for 4p.m. on a Wednesday afternoon. I waited patiently for two hours because Rosenberg was in mid-flight and needed a landline to give me the goods on Em. Two, then three hours passed and my phone never rang. In between some Mexican takeout and a couple of games of trashcan hoops, SOHN started thinking this interview wasn't going to happen at all. So just incase, at 11p.m., I decided to take matters into my own hands and go in search of the real Slim Shady myself.
SOHN went to the message boards in the "MyClick" section of SOHH, to find out what our site's members think about the hype and all the recent Shady Bizzness:
"I think that this fool [Williams] is just another lazy hater. He obviously couldn't handle life on the road, or for that matter having the second best job [in the world], next to being Slim himself. Why can't people just do their jobs and quit hating!"
"...About his kids not getting food. That's bullshit. The interviewer of the article said in another forum that Nasty had a college degree. With [a diploma] you can sure as hell feed your children."
He sounds like he had madd love for Eminem at one point though. Thus far he is basically adding a little information to the image and events and stuff that everyone already sees and knows about Eminem. Just listening to his music and peeping his steez a little lets a person know basically how the cat is."
"Whether it's true or not (probably a [little] in between) he [Williams] just wants to get paid. Like Slim or not, that's probably the truth."
The wait continues...
The next day as our deadline was quickly closing in, Rosenberg called from his cell eager set it straight about his famous Midwestern client and friend:
What's Em's greatest quality?
How much he cares about his daughter. He does everything for her. He calls her multiple times a day.
What's his day-to-day life like?
He's living out of hotels, constantly traveling and trying to keep things straight. He talks to his friends. He's a normal person who gets into trouble and has to wake up each morning and deal with his problems.
What's his emotional state of mind?
I'd say he's unhappier than the average person-a lot of things haven't worked out for him. He's trapped as an entertainer - can't act like a normal guy, can't walk around, can't react to situations like other people can, can't confront things.
What would he be if he weren't a rapper?
He'd probably be what he says he would be: a short-order cook at some diner in Detroit. He has a sad past and not such a positive outlook on life. He's very smart and talented, but [growing up] he didn't feel like he could excel.
What's the most important thing in his life?
What are five words that best describe Em?
Courageous, brilliant, funny, reactionary, resilient.
What is his positive impact on society?
He's a good role model for the downtrodden. He has a really good heart. He always stands up for himself and he has tremendous courage. He really means well.
When is Em the happiest?
When he's at home with his daughter...when he's hanging with his boys and he's just relaxed and regular.
When's he the most upset?
When he's been on the road awhile.
If Em had one wish, what do you think it'd be?
Anonymity. I know it's totally contradictory because he's this famous rapper, but I really think that's what he'd want.