Eminem is one of hip-hop’s most inspiring success stories. Born and raised in Detroit, the emcee (real name Marshall Mathers) was inspired by the hip-hop culture in cities such as New York and Los Angeles and made it his mission to take over Detroit and then the world with his music.
The ‘Stan’ lyricist has professed his love for several artists before and has explained the impact of acts from the late-1980s and early-90s on his lyrical style and delivery. However, there is one underrated artist who was a massive part of Eminem’s adolescence.
The Infinite creator has cited MCs, including the late Notorious B.I.G., Big Daddy Kane, and Kendrick Lamar as lyricists he admires. However, in an interview with Zane Lowe, Mathers let fans in on an underrated rhymer that reminds him of Biggie Smalls.
During an appearance on Zane Lowe’s At Home radio show on Apple Music, Mathers unveiled that he has an old-school cassette collection totalling around 600 tapes. With material from the likes of Biz Markie, LL Cool J, and Run-DMC, Lowe questioned Mathers about his favourite emcee.
However, the Detroit act claimed that it’s impossible to have one, responding, “When people compare when they try to compare eras… hip-hop’s went through too many different transitions for anyone really to be the best rapper of all time because rap has went through transitions, it’s evolved.” He continued, “When they ask me who my top favourite rappers are, I don’t even know how to answer that because there’s so many rappers that have been so great and still are great.”
Each time Lowe has a guest on his show, he asks them to compile a playlist that reflects them and their musical taste. Still, one artist who got featured heavily on Em’s list was Jamaican-American emcee Heavy D. The late rapper’s ‘Don’t Curse’ was ranked high and, full of queries, Lowe asked why he holds the underrated artist in such high regard.
Explaining to Lowe his affinity for Heavy D, Mathers detailed, “The reason I picked Heavy D too and couple of these songs is because sometimes I’ve gotta go back and remember how great some rappers were. RIP to Heavy D. I have nothing but the utmost respect for that dude, and he was one of the most underrated rappers to me because he was like a chameleon. He could get on a song with Treach and keep up. He had commercial hits, and then he could go.”
Mathers concluded by unveiling, “Heavy D was like Biggie to me. He had the kind of commercial hits that no matter how much you heard them, you never really got tired of them.” You can hear Mathers speak about Heavy D below.