In a recent interview with Apple Music‘s Zane Lowe, Eminem breaks down his many years in the music industry, taking fans through what started his hip-hop foundation.

Sitting in front of an entire wall of rap cassettes, “the real Slim Shady” takes Lowe back to the time when he started collecting these tapes as a child. He reminisces about how difficult it was to purchase these tapes then, and thinking to himself, “If I ever make it one day as a rapper, I’m going to get every tape that I always wanted.” His collection is now larger than ever, and Eminem has even met many of the names that appear on his cassette wall. Eminem talks about his encounters with famous rap legends, including the first and extremely memorable moment he met LL Cool J, and having his own rap lyrics quoted back to him.

Eminem answers the age old question of whether or not the newcomers of the rap genre have lived up to the hype of the legends from decades past. The Detroit MC speaks about bridging the gap between these young rappers and the rap icons and joins the worlds together in his Billboard 200 No. 1 album, Music to be Murdered By. Earlier this month, fans saw Eminem unite Dr. Dre with Don Toliver and the late Juice WRLD on Side B.

The bulk of the conversation involved Lowe speaking to the MC about which era he felt is most influential in the rap world. Eminem pinpoints the golden age of hip-hop from the ’80s and ’90s to be the best era of the genre noting pioneers such as LL Cool J, Public Enemy, Run-D.M.C., Beastie Boys and Eric B. & Rakim. He goes on to explain that, “I feel like a lot of these kids won’t understand the experience of hip-hop in its infancy stages… Everyone’s going to think their era is the best era, but this really was to me… The golden era of hip-hop was the best era to me just because it was so new.” He discusses the longevity of that era reminding Lowe, “Here we are, what, 40, 50 years later? It’s crazy. And it’s the biggest music, if I’m not mistaken, it’s the biggest genre.”

Despite hip-hop’s legendary past, Eminem gives credit where credit is due and lists Lil Wayne, J.Cole, Kendrick Lamar, and Joyner Lucas as his favourite MCs in the current era. He notes their work ethic and states, “I feel like when you push yourself like that, that’s what I feel like inspires greatness.”

Listen to the conversation between Zane Lowe and Eminem above and on Apple Music.

In other music news, Kendrick Lamar headlines 2021 Roskilde Festival.

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