Eminem recently joined Zane Lowe for Apple Music’s At Home With conversation series. The award-winning MC talked Pete Davidson’s “Stan” parody on SNL, the rappers who influenced him, and much more. Stream the full conversation below.
In particular, Em pointed to Nas’ 1992 debut single “Halftime.” The track, originally recorded for the Zebrahead soundtrack, was produced by Large Professor. Eminem says the track played a major role in his own rap style.
“One of the reasons that I picked Halftime is because there’s some rhyme schemes on there that most rappers to this day probably can’t do,” he said. “And that’s one of the things that has made Nas so great over his career. Like when he [said] “Because when I blast the herb, that’s my word, I’ll be slaying them fast, doing this, that, and the third. But chill, pass the Andre, and let’s slay. I bag b-tches up at John Jay and hit a matinee.” He was rhyming entire sentences. And I’m like, “What the f–k is this?” You know what I’m saying?”
The track led to Nas’ initial record deal with Columbia Records. One of his first debut tracks, the positive feedback from the record fed into the growing anticipation for his debut album, Illmatic.
“Everybody knows that is a classic, essential album,” Em continued. “I don’t know where you place that in Hip Hop, but it’s got to be at the top. It’s got to be up at the top. I’ve been inspired by so many rappers that that’s probably where I get … It taught me different flow patterns, different schemes you can do, and then when you start finding your own that you feel like haven’t been done yet, that’s when it becomes fun.”