KJ-52 chatted with Breathecast about his career, and spoke briefly about his "Dear Slim" songs which addressed him writing an open letter to Eminem. That song created a lot of backlash toward the emcee, but at the end of the day he was able to rest assured that he was able to witness to Eminem.
The subject opened up when KJ was speaking about his moves as an artist looking back. "The music is bigger than myself, and I put my artistic pride away a long time ago, probably way back with the whole Eminem thing," he said.
"Dear Slim" put KJ on VH1, but not for the reason of being a great rapper. Instead they put him on for being one of the top worst moments in history. They viewed his song as a diss to Eminem, and only played a clip of the song without really dissecting the message.
The song is modeled after Eminem's "Stan" which is a letter written by a crazed fan to him. In the story he speaks about Stan going crazy and growing angry at Eminem for not writing back. KJ flipped the song, and wrote it as a letter from a fellow rapper who was praying for him and hoping he change the tone in his lyrics to help people instead of feed them nonsense.
"Thanks for that list, Dear Slim is such a diss/ I mean praying for him, it's obvious/ I mean that's not hip hop, right?/ I guess I could rap on, shooting and killing/ Looting, stealing, villains, drug dealing/ And I could sell 10 million/ I mean forget about doing something for the children, right?" he rapped on his 2005 album Behind the Musik.
On his 2006 KJ-52 Remixed, he did a remix of "Dear Slim Pt. 2" which featured an intro by someone who claimed they were able to speak to Eminem about the song. The man says he was able to hand a copy of the song to Eminem backstage at the music awards, and told him it was not a diss toward him, but rather something encouraging.
"He's actually showing you a lot of respect and love. This is a message of hope he is giving you. And I said, if you don't mind I would like to give you one of these CDs," the man said in KJ's song. He said Eminem took the album, but they are not sure as to whether he ever listened to it.
When asked if Eminem ever got back to him, KJ said he believes a reference off of Eminem's "Be Careful What You Wish For" on the extended version of Relapse in 2009, was made to him.
"He wrote a song in 2009 called 'Be Careful What You Wish For' and in the third verse he talks about a fan who had been praying for him and how it had been weighing on his mind," KJ said, "He kind of ends the song with saying 'I appreciate the prayers but I already have God on my side' was his answer."
"I got a letter from a fan, that said/ He's been praying for me/ Every day and for some reason/ It's been weighing on my mind heavy/ 'Cause I don't read every/ Letter I get, but something told me to go ahead and open it, but/ Why would someone pray for you when they don't know you?/ You didn't pray for me when I was local/ And as I lay these vocals I think of all the sh** I had to go through/ Just to get to where I'm at/ I've already told you at least/ A thousand times in these rhymes/ I appreciate the prayer, but I've already got/ God on my side" Eminem raps in the song.
KJ said he does not know whether that reference was about him, but knows for a fact Eminem received the song and probably listen to it.
"I have talked back and fourth with Kim Mathers while she was in jail. There were other instances when I thought it had to be on his radar. I can't say I sat down and wrote that song with the intention that it would get to him, but I was just writing a song. It's just funny how all these years later that thing holds so much weight."
The Mental rapper said he was not out there looking for a response, and it was actually a fan he pointed it out to him.
"'Hey dude you better check this out and listen to the third verse'" he explained, "A lot of stuff when you deal with celebrities, it's tempting to want to use that as a platform to get over. When all that is happening I tried to be really sensitive to that and not use this as a means to an end. So while my name was getting dragged through the mud and Christian rappers were getting at me. I just kept my mouth shut knowing what was going on behind the scenes and just let it be what it is. I made my bed I gotta' lay in it."
Aside from his songs about praying for Eminem, many music fans compared KJ to Eminem in the early 2000s. They said his voice was similar, and saw him as a Christian alternative.
"When that started happening people would compare me to him, and I'd be like look, 'I've been doing this before he came out. The record that you're comparing me to, was already dropped before he came out. So it's not some conspiracy to do that'."
He continued, "But I can't argue if it helps you get close to God because it's an alternative. I just had somebody tell me that I'm copying Macklemore because of my haircut. I was going to be the Christian Macklemore because I changed my hair. It is what it is, it comes with the territory."
Stay tuned for more of KJ's interview in the next couple of days. Here is yesterday's where KJ spoke performing "Jesus Freak" with TobyMac.
KJ-52's Mental will be out on October 21 and it can be pre-ordered on iTunes here.
The album features KB, Soul Glo Activatur, Lecrae, Tedashii, and others.
"Gameface [1st Half Edition]" can be heard below: