Published Wed, October 12, 2022 at 2:00 PM EDT
On the most recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, producer/creative extraordinaire, Rick Rubin, delved into the creative process of two of the most well-established MC's in Hip-Hop: JAY-Z and Eminem.
“Jay-Z doesn’t write anything down and he just listens to the beat, hums, goes on the mic 20 minutes later, and says a whole complicated verse. I don’t know how he can remember it much less have just written it and just be able to do it free. It’s wild.
When we were recording ’99 Problems’ I played the beat for him, he likes the beat, and then he says ‘okay, just keep playing it.’ He then sits in the back of the control room on the couch and you just hear him humming (hums along). 15 or 20 minutes (later) and then he jumps up and is like ‘okay, I got it.'
And he goes in, no paper, no writing, nothing. And he delivers the whole thing and then says ‘let’s try it again’ and then he does it again. And th words will be the same but the phrasing will be different so it’s more like an improvisational solo. If you have a melody you can play the same melody with putting emphasis on different parts of it. So he does it, it’s not the same. The words are the same, or close to the same. But the feeling of it and the rhythm of it changes when he does it again and he does it a few times.”
“You’ll see Eminem, he’s always writing in a book. Always writing all the time. And he’s always got notebooks and writing. And I ask him, like ‘are these all rhymes to use?’ and he’s like ‘nah, 99% of what I write I’ll never use. It’s just to stay engaged in the process of writing and finding new ways to write so that when I need it it just comes.'”
Other topics touched upon during the 3-hour interview include how he got his start in music, his feeling as Hip-Hop exploded, and the story behind creating "Walk This Way" with Run-DMC and Aerosmith.