Rick Rubin told Ed Sheeran a story from the recording of Eminem & Kendrick Lamar’s “Love Game.”
K. Dot had the honor of being the only rapper on Eminem’s 2013 album The Marshall Mathers LP 2, but he earned it by passing a test. To ensure Kendrick didn’t have a ghostwriter, Eminem only allowed Kendrick Lamar (who showed up with some friends) in the studio to write and record his feature for their song “Love Game” on the spot.
During an episode of the Zach Sang Show, Ed Sheeran relayed an interesting story about Eminem and Kendrick Lamar, which was told to him by Rick Rubin, executive producer of MMLPII. When Eminem was told that Kendrick Lamar was one of the best rappers out, he had suspicions that Kendrick had a ghostwriter.
“Eminem heard that Kendrick Lamar was the best rapper and he invited him to the studio to get him on a song,” Sheeran says
“He arrived and Kendrick came with all his mates and Eminem said, ‘I just want you in the studio, just you on your own and then my engineer is gonna come in and then record you doing it, but your mates aren’t allowed in.’ And then, Kendrick did it and wrote a sick verse. And then everyone came in to listen to it and Eminem said that he did it to test Kendrick because he thought he had a ghostwriter.. And, he then realized that he didn’t, and then claimed he was the best, which is kinda cool I think.”
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While writing and recording his verse, Kendrick Lamar suspected what was happening. In 2014, he discussed the song’s recording process during a radio interview. “He brought me out to Detroit, I had a show, and he brought me to the studio to do a hook.. I go in, do the hook, and he’s like ‘I like the hook.’ Then I’m like, ‘Alright, cool, I’m finna dip,’ then he says ‘Think you could do a verse?’.. The thing with Em which was crazy to me is he kicks everybody out of the studio… I took it as him kicking everybody out to see if it’s really you writing them raps that you’re writing.”
Listen to Eminem and Kendrick Lamar’s collab “Love Game” below.