The owner of a Detroit studio where Eminem purportedly cut his best-selling debut album, The Slim Shady LP, was found dead Tuesday, the victim of an apparent vendetta, according to local authorities.
A business acquaintance discovered the body of Amjed A. Abdallah lying in a pool his own blood on the floor of Studio 8. Investigators said the 36-year-old Jordanian engineer was shot at least twice, most likely on Sunday, based on the bloated condition of the corpse. A bullet casing from a.357-caliber handgun was recovered at the scene.
Police do not have a definitive motive in the slaying. Initially detectives suspected it was a robbery, since several pricey pieces of studio equipment had been taken. But that theory has now been discounted as evidence surfaced indicating Abdallah may have been killed over a money fight, perhaps involving his rap productions.
“It’s not a random act. He was threatened because of financial issues,” Detective Lieutenant Norman Raymond of the Ferndale Police Department told E! Online. “The threats we’re tracking down involve people that had felt they were owed some recording proceeds that he did at some point in time and we’re trying to establish if they have any validity.”
Studio 8 is located in a two-story building near Eight Mile Road, the street that divides Ferndale from Detroit and former stomping grounds of Marshall Mathers III. Aside from inspiring much of Eminem’s hard-charging rhymes, the ‘hood also supplied the title for his hit 2002 semi-autobiographical flick, 8 Mile. (It was also where his mother, Debbie Mathers, was carjacked nearly a year ago).
According to investigators, Abdallah was hardly the type to be involved in a rap feud. Instead, friends called the man nicknamed A.J. a “prince of a guy” who produced rap and Middle Eastern albums and was a percussionist on the Motor City music scene who loved to jam with fellow musicians, including local rockers the Howling Diablos.
“He was a great musician, a great entertainer,” Howling Diablos singer Tino Gross told the Detroit Free Press. “He was a very colorful character whom people loved, a fun-loving guy, very soulful.”
But it was his connection to Eminem, if tangential, that made Abdallah and his studio stand out.
The producer was fond of hyping the 1,500-square foot Studio 8 as the place that Mathers recorded his major label breakthrough, The Slim Shady LP, in 1999. In reality, most of the multiplatinum album was recorded in Los Angeles under the supervision of Eminem’s mentor, Dr. Dre.
Abdallah even installed a small yellow sign at the entrance to the building that proclaimed: “Recording Studio, Eminem’s First Album.”
As the mythology grew, so did Abdallah’s interest in capitalizing on Em’s fame. Just before his death, Abdallah had decided to sell Studio 8 and relocate to Brooklyn. He put the studio up for auction on eBay in December with an asking price of $215,000. As of press time, he had only one taker. Bidding on the studio is expected to end Jan. 14.
Police are considering offering a reward on Thursday for any information leading to an arrest in the case.