Eminem’s blazing talent behind the microphone has helped inspire a generation of emcees, yet, for Kanye West, it’s his skill as a producer which he finds most impressive.
The first time that the two crossed paths came in 2004 when Ye worked on the title track for D12’s sophomore album, D12 World. At the time, West was still on the rise both as a producer and as a rapper. Despite always being graced with an immense amount of self-belief, even Yeezy felt nervous about the task at hand.
Eminem walked on water during that period, and there was no bigger fish in hip-hop. Ye even admitted that he was initially intimidated by the presence of ‘Shady’, and he found it a frightening experience.
“I had to work with D12 right?” West remembered to Scratch Magazine a few years later. “And I think Eminem is a dope-ass producer, so I wanted to ask him to trade drums but I was intimidated because he was such a superstar and everything.”
“They were badder to me,” Ye added in awe about the beats that ‘Shady’ had up his sleeve, before adding, “Eminem has some of the best drums in hip hop.”
In fact, West liked the drums so much that when nobody else was nearby, he tried to duplicate them. “I’m going to try and get as many sounds copied before they come in, I started copying them and the next thing I know an engineer comes in and straight grabs the disk and leaves,” West continued.
Overall, this experience was one that Yeezy found incredibly beneficial, and it made him step up as a producer. The rapper revealed, “I started seeing how he do, doing shit I wouldn’t do because I still had certain rules.”
He continued, “I was seeing how he truncated sounds, like chopping the air completely. It gives it a certain sound, the sound he wanted. I learned a lot going through Eminem’s drum kit.” Yeezy then heaps even more praise, and said, “Eminem is one of my top five producers, let alone one of my top five rappers. Me and Em together, damn.”
It’s rare to hear Kanye speak in such superlative terms about anyone, and the respect he holds for ‘Shady’ is towering. Somehow, apart from the D12 track, the two greats have only crossed paths on one further occasion when they both jumped on ‘Forever’ by Drake alongside Lil Wayne.
Here’s hoping the pair get in the booth together again sometime soon and rewrite that wrong.