His tape reels were named among a slew of musical works in the New York Times' investigation into the fire on the Universal Studios lot, which destroyed a vault that may have contained 175,000 multitrack recordings, session masters and outtakes by "a genre-spanning who’s who of 20th- and 21st-century popular music," as reporter Jody Rosen writes.
Martin said he was spurred to undertake the "thorough process" of backing up the tapes when Universal, Eminem's label, requested that all of the rapper's recording reels be sent to L.A. "They was some type of effort underway to get all of the master tapes into one place," Martin said.
Rare video captures Eminem and the Bass Brothers 20 years ago during the "The Slim Shady LP" release (Photo: Mandi Wright) The backups, while vital, still don't equate to the original session reels — the first-generation magnetic tape bearing the cleanest, most precise document of the music.
Eminem isn't the only iconic Detroit music figure whose original recordings may have been destroyed in the Universal fire: The Times reports the casualties apparently included the master tape of Highland Park native Bill Haley's "Rock Around the Clock," the towering 1955 single that topped the Billboard chart to launch the rock 'n' roll era.
And the earliest recordings by teenage Aretha Franklin — gospel music captured at Detroit's New Bethel Baptist Church — were also "very likely lost" in the fire, the Times reports.