A 2004 interview highlights the time a young Kanye West sneakily lifted Eminem’s drums from a D12 studio session.
Kanye West is seen by many as one of the greatest producers of all time, with Eminem being held in equal esteem as a lyricist. In reality, both artists are multitalented across a variety of fields, each one capable of crafting incredible instrumentals in their own right. While Ye’s discography needs no introduction, many forget how vast Em’s production repertoire expands — should you need a refresher, check out his 25 best beats of all time right here. As it happens, Yeezy himself once thought the world of Eminem’s production, to the point where he actually tried to steal some of Slim’s sounds during a D12 studio session.
The anecdote derives from a 2004 issue of Scratch magazine, as shared by Twitter user @Trebworld and brought to attention on r/hiphopheads. Joking about how he used to steal No ID’s drum records back in his “madman” days on the come up, Ye began reflecting on another attempted act of grand theft audio. “I had to work with D12 right?” he begins, alluding to the D12 World title track. “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.”
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He explains that while Kon Artis (Mr. Porter) used to give him plenty of drum sounds, he always had his sights set on Em’s. “They were badder to me,” gushes Kanye. “Eminem has some of the best drums in hip-hop.” As fate would have it, Yeezy soon found himself alone in the studio with Eminem’s MP kits in sight — cameras be damned, he made the move. “I’m going to try and get as many sounds copied before they come in,” he reasoned. “I started copying them and the next thing I know an engineer comes in and straight grabs the disk and leaves.”
While Kanye wasn’t able to make off with the sounds in their entirety, he did learn a few tricks from watching Eminem work. “I started seeing how he do, doing shit I wouldn’t do because I still had certain rules,” says Kanye. “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.” He closes things out by revealing that Em was, at least at the time, one of his top-five producers. “Me and Em together, damn.”
Check it the full interview scans below, especially if you’re interested in artistic growth and hip-hop history. Do you feel that 2000-2004 Eminem was worthy of being in the best producer conversation?