In 2013, Eminem released my favorite album of the year, an album that shouldn’t have been possible at his age. When most artist start losing their skills, Eminem seems to be getting more precise. What he lacks now is the effortlessness he once had—when it seemed like he could vomit out clever and witty ideas on the fly—but that’s now replaced with a guy that lives and breathes rhyme patterns. He’s now a surgeon, dissecting words like no one I’ve ever seen before.
Rubin discussing Em’s writing process:
We were just talking about it the other day. He said, “I write constantly, to the point where while I’m writing in my books I know 95 percent of this stuff, 98 percent of it’s never gonna get used. But by writing all the time it’s like I’m sharpening my tools. And I’m more able to draw upon that skill-set when needed. And sometimes a reference that I wrote two years ago might come back and find it’s way into a record completely unrelated just because I was doing this homework and coming up with a new rhyme scheme or just hearing a word I liked and thinking about how that could rhyme. And there might not be any context for it. But then I might be working on a song years later and think, ‘Oh, maybe that phrase could work in this context.’” And it’s like that always. There is no time off. And it’s really unusual. I’ve never met another rapper like that, who is so on. So on and so obsessed. It’s No. 1 in his life. Period. That’s it.