On Eminem‘s excellent Re-Up closer “No Apologies,” he once rapped about how he was “sick of talking about these tattoos Cartoon did.” That was in 2006, more than a decade gone. Yet enough time has since passed for a new perspective, and behind-the-scenes anecdotes surrounding hip-hop icons have become precious cultural tidbits. Now, legendary tattoo artist Mister Cartoon recently hit up Adam 22’s No Jumper to reflect on inking Marshall Mathers’ recognizable tattoo of his daughter Hailie Jade. Naturally, associating himself with such a rising force proved beneficial to Cartoon’s career in a game-changing fashion, leading to the design of Em’s Shady Records label logo
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“He was a phenom rapper,” marvels Cartoon, himself a phenom in his respective field. “I seen him perform before I even knew who he was. It was at one of Bigga B’s events downtown. We showed up, and Em walked to the stage and the whole crowd was like boooooo. People were not hyped. And then five minutes of him rapping the place was quiet as fuck. I ended up meeting him through Cypress [Hill]…Once I tattooed him, I no longer needed a portfolio.”
“He was on so many covers of magazines like that,” continues Cartoon, reenacting Em’s “forearms-out” pose. “Little by little he would come and get more.” Cartoon eventually reveals that his first Em-tattoo was completed in a hurry, as Slim was set to go on a date. “I was like, you know I’m doing your daughter’s portrait, holmes,” laughs Cartoon. “No pressure, shit!”
Be sure to check out the full conversation below, courtesy of Adam 22’s No Jumper. Salute to Cartoon, an integral player in hip-hop culture.