Dave Bry spoke to Rick Rubin about his work with Em on the MMLP2 for Complex and he opened up a bit about Em’s writing process and his near obsessive dedication to his pen game.
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.
Rubin also spoke on his desire to make music that doesn’t sound like anything you’ve ever heard, some of the samples they used on the album, his opinion of Kendrick Lamar’s “Control” verse, the time he dropped in on one of N.W.A.’s Straight Outta Compton sessions (!!) and more.
Read the full Q&A here.