Rick Rubin Praises Kendrick Lamar, Dr. Dre & Jay Electronica
"One of the things that we did talk about a lot is that it felt like early in his career the tracks that he had—when I say the tracks, I mean the music—sounded like Eminem tracks," Rubin says in an interview with Complex. "And you couldn’t necessarily have another emcee on them and have it make as much sense. The tracks had as much personality as he did. And I felt like more recently some of the tracks felt more like maybe they could have been on someone else’s record.
"For example, 'Love Game' is not a regular…You know, I don’t know if you want to hear Jay Z on that record," Rubin continues. "I don’t know. There’s a quirkiness about Em where he can get away and make his own… these kind of stranger records. And I think it actually makes it a strength, the fact that it doesn’t sound like maybe what's typical on whatever hot records you’re listening to now. It’s really different than that. I think that that’s a strength. My goal was always, I don’t want to make stuff that sounds like everything else or that fits in with what’s going on. I want to make interesting, challenging, unique, weird records.
"It’s almost like you like ‘em by default," Rubin says. "Do you know what I mean? Because stylistically it’s not what you’re looking for. But for me that’s more interesting. A track like 'Love Game' reminds me of a track that we might have done with Run-DMC, like 'It’s Tricky.' It’s kinda in that wheelhouse of weird pop crossover. You know? It sounds wrong. It’s supposed to sound a little wrong. But that’s the strength in it—how do you make this work? Like, 'Wow. I don’t really like this, but I want to listen to it again.'"
During the conversation, Rubin also talks about Kendrick Lamar's assistance on the track.
"They were not in the room together," Rubin says of the collaboration. "They were in the room partially together, and it happened in Detroit. And I was not there when they were there. But I know Eminem left Kendrick to do it and when he came back Kendrick had done the hook, which is not what Eminem was expecting. He was expecting a verse. There was a miscommunication. And then Kendrick ended up staying and doing the verse. He thought he was gonna just do the hook."
Rubin also discusses Lamar's input on the track.
"Amazing," Rubin says. "And, it sounds as if he is almost rapping as Eminem. It’s not… the lyrics are really different than what he seems to usually talk about."
During the interview, Rubin is also asked how he felt regarding Kendrick Lamar's verse on Big Sean's "Control."
"I can’t remember now," Rubin says. "Honestly."
When Complex's interviewer notes that Kendrick "sort of upstaged Sean and Jay Elec and threw down the gauntlet towards a bunch of other rappers, bringing a spirit of competition back into the music," Rubin says he does not view the verse the same way.
"Yeah, I didn’t hear it that way," Rubin says. "I just thought he was incredible. And I actually quite like Jay Electronica’s verse as well. I loved it...No, I loved it...I like his whole mystical trip. I like the stuff he talks about."
For The Marshall Mathers LP 2, Eminem enlisted his longtime collaborator, producer and mentor Dr. Dre to co-executive produce the album with Rubin.
"[Dr. Dre] mixed 'Berzerk' and I went to the mix and we hung out and talked about it," Rubin says. "And it was great. I’ve known him for a long time. I first came to the studio when they were recording Straight Outta Compton, so I know him since then...And it’s the first time we’ve ever worked on anything together."
Rubin says he "was a fan" of N.W.A and that he "liked them" at the time of their recording.