Def Jam co-founder Rick Rubin recently shared his thoughts on the hip-hop game’s biggest artists and explained why Detroit superstar Eminem could be the best rapper alive. #RapGod
In Rick’s opinion, Em’s greatness goes well beyond what he does on the microphone.
“Maybe the best rapper of any emcee. He may be the best,” Rubin said referring to Eminem. “He’s very hyper-critical of detail. And hears the music in a very deep way. And hears internal rhythms in tracks. And writes words to work on so many different levels rhythmically within what’s going on musically. To where if we change a little thing in the track to better the track it might not work in his mind how it relates to what he’s saying and how he’s phrasing. His phrasing is so glued to the music and written that way.” (BBC Radio 1)
Rubin also dished out some habits of the self-proclaimed “Rap God.”
“Like he just sees it as not just riding the flow. It’s much more complex. And he’s always writing. He’s always writing–Not when he’s making an album. He’s always writing in life. He’s got these notebooks he carries around and he’s always writing. And he said to me he knows probably 99 percent of it, 98 percent of it will never be used for anything. But he wants his facility to be there so that when he needs to write something it’s like practice.” (BBC Radio 1)
While Em touched on topics mostly surrounding his new Marshall Mathers LP 2 album, Slim Shady delved into working with the mega mogul last November.
“I’ve always been a fan of Rick. My manager Paul [Rosenberg] had been talking to him and Rick had expressed that he had interest in working with me. When Paul brought it to my attention, I was like super excited, just honored at the fact that he was even thinking about it. I had my reservations just because I felt like, I’m a super fan of Rick, so I’d probably be a little nervous. I don’t know what the vibe would be just because I would be wanting to impress him, so it was very much kind of like the feeling I got early on with [Dr.] Dre. I hadn’t met him [before this]. I’d never had met him. I was nervous to meet him and even more nervous to work with him.” (BBC Radio 1)
A month prior, Rubin spoke on Em’s undying and never-ending work ethic.
“I just think he’s a one-of-a-kind MC. And he’s first and foremost an MC. That’s it. I’ve had other great rappers ask me how he does what he does. You know, how does he do that? And I mean really great rappers. It really is him, and it’s natural. And a lot of his greatness come from his work ethic. It’s just on. It’s really an obsession.” (Complex)
Slim Shady previously boasted about working with Rick and noted what made him so unique.
Some tracks, including the Rick Rubin-produced, Beastie-esque single “Berzerk,” draw on old-school hip-hop. Eminem was already headed that way when his manager, Paul Rosenberg, hooked him up with Rubin. “Getting with him was like, ‘Holy sh*t!'” says Eminem. “As many genres of music that he is able to f*ck with, he’s like Yoda. I couldn’t do it. You sit me there with a rock group, I don’t know the first f*cking thing about banging on the drums.” Eminem emphasizes that the album, which includes collaborations with Kendrick Lamar, Nate Ruess and Rihanna (again), is “not necessarily a sequel, as much as it is a revisitation. “So there’s not gonna be, like, continuations of every old song on there or anything like that,” he adds. “To me, it’s more about the vibe, and it’s more about the nostalgia.” (Rolling Stone)
Check out Rick Rubin’s interview: