Rick Rubin Reveals Where Eminem’s Greatness Comes From: “I’ve Had Great Rappers Ask Me How He Does What He Does”

Rick Rubin Reveals Where Eminem’s Greatness Comes From: “I’ve Had Great Rappers Ask Me How He Does What He Does”

Music mogul Rick Rubin recently talked about his experience working on Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 solo album and why Slim Shady is able to demand greatness at the ripe age of 41.

In Rubin’s opinion, Em’s undying and never-ending work ethic has kept him a top contender.

“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)

He also noted how fans can hear the hunger in Em’s voice throughout his music.

“Yep. Especially, again, when so many MCs get popular, you hear stuff that sounds like it’s phoned in–either performance-wise or writing-wise. It’s like there’s not enough room on a CD for him to get to say all the stuff he wants to say and say it well. It’s unusual 15 years into your career to have that.” (Complex)

Recently, Slim Shady boased about working with Rick and noted what makes 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)

Over the summer, Rick talked about his involvement on Jay Z‘s Magna Carta Holy Grail album.

When we recently caught up with Rick over the phone, he explained: “The point of me being in the commercials was that he was filming a documentary and he asked me–I imagine he’s just comfortable talking to me–to come listen to the songs with him and just talk about the songs. Just listen to it and talk about it, and that’s what we did. It was fun.” He went on to divulge what he initially thought of Magna Carta, saying, “I liked what I heard, but it was a little difficult–after just coming from the Kanye sessions–to listen to Jay’s album, because they’re so different. I was in a very alternative and progressive headspace, and Jay’s record is a more traditional hip-hop record.” (XXL Mag)

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