Speaking with French radio station Skyrock, Marshall Mathers said the song spoke to him and immediately made him think of Beyoncé for the hook, which she delivered after Skylar Grey’s original.
“Beyoncé’s been on the wish list for me, for a long time,” said Em. “We talked about it with Paul [Rosenberg] and Rick [Rubin] and we thought, ‘This would be perfect, if she would do it.’ I didn’t know if it was gonna be possible. The fact that she did it was crazy for me. I felt like she probably could relate to the bar you set for yourself and people set for you and the standard that they have and she’s always gotta meet ’em and try to one-up the last thing she’s done. I guess I was right.”
The Coachella 2018 headliner, who celebrated Rakim, Kool G Rap, Big Daddy Kane, Masta Ace, and Naughty By Nature’s Treach as major influences during the Q&A, also spoke on the importance of honoring rap’s past. Read additional quotes from the conversation below.
On His Creative Process: “I approach each album differently. I probably record anywhere between 40-50 songs from each album. As I go through my 2-year process — I make a few songs a month. If each song gets better, then I’ll go, ‘I have two songs that I feel confident about. Let me see if I can get three.’ Then I’ll do the third one and it doesn’t come out the way I thought it would, in my head. So I go back to the drawing board and just build like that. As you go through, some of the older songs get replaced by newer songs. That’s kind of how the process is for every album.”
On Hip-Hop History: “I’ve always been such a fan of rap. My heroes will always stay my heroes, the people who especially paved the road for people like me. I always pay homage to the ones who came before me because they made hip-hop what it is today. They are responsible. Our hip-hop forefathers are responsible that rap is even here. What I would say to someone coming up who’s young in the game and doesn’t really respect that, should go back and listen, and get a hip-hop lesson.”
On Proving Himself: “There’s always something left for me to prove because I’m always wanting to prove to myself that I could still do it. Rap music, I don’t know anything else. I don’t know what I’m gonna do when I can’t rap anymore. I’ll probably jump out a window or something. I don’t know what I’m gonna do but I always try to stay inspired.”
On Consistency: “Nothing’s really changed with the way I approach music. It’s always been the same formula for me. The approach is the same but different. The inspiration and preparation, all the things that go into the album stay the same. Just paying attention to what is out and what the wave is right now.”