Rick Rubin sheds some light on the Eminem and Kendrick Lamar collaboration "Love Game."
One of the most anticipated tracks off Eminem's MMLPII was the Kendrick Lamar collaboration titled "Love Game." When the album leaked, and thus the track as well, fans were surprised at the concept record, which was in no way a scathing hip-hop record that we expected, but a very quirky song actually about love.
The collaboration is definitely one that warrants multiple listens before you decide if you hate it or love it-- something, it seems, Rick Rubin was going for when he produced it. In a new interview with Complex Rick Rubin discusses working with Em on MMLPII, and he also sheds some light on "Love Game."
"Love Game" is a prime example of a record that "only Eminem" could do, something Rubin pointed out during his interview.
"One of the things that we [Rick Rubin & Eminem] 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. And you couldn’t necessarily have another MC 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," Rubin explained. "So we talked about that a lot and tried to pick more quirky... Like for example, “Love Game” is not a regular… You know, I don’t know if you want to hear Jay Z on that record. 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. You know?"
He continued to talk about how "Love Game" purposefully "sounds wrong." The founder of Def Jam explained, "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-D.M.C., 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.""
Another interesting part of the Eminem x Kendrick Lamar joint is the fact that K. Dot is almost on an Eminem tip when he spits, "I'm a sucker for love, you're a sucker for dick/ Suckin' dick in your momma's tub 'til your granny walked in/ Told the stupid nigga to duck under the water, he drowned/ Like abortion, they booked you for manslaughter/ You beat the case and I called you"
Rubin said of Kendrick's verse, "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," Rubin said.
Rick Rubin also spoke on the recording process, revealing that at first Kendrick just did the hook when Em was expecting him to do a verse. "They were not in the room together. 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."
Check out the full interview with Rick Rubin here.