Kendrick Lamar has a had a busy 2016. In addition to releasing his loosie-filled project, untitled unmastered., the TDE emcee has supplied fans with a bountiful supply of guest verses to compliment the work of his industry peers. To celebrate both his past and current successes and to discuss his future, GQ linked Lamar with iconic producer Rick Rubin for a one-on-one interview for their GQ Style holiday issue.
Together, Lamar and Rubin discuss a bevy of topics, ranging from Kendrick's musical influences as a child to his recording process in the studio to the idea that he'd consider releasing an album without rapping, but the most headline-popping moment came when Rubin dubbed Lamar "a throwback to when lyrics mattered."
In response, Kendrick offered the following:
The clarity, I got my clarity just studying Eminem when I was a kid. How I got in the studio was all just curiosity. I had a love for the music, but it was curiosity. The day I heard The Marshall Mathers LP, I was just like, How does that work? What is he doing? How is he putting his words together like that? What's the track under that? An ad-lib? What is that? And then, Why don't you go in the studio and see? So I do that. Then it became, How's his words cutting through the beat like that? What is he doing that I'm not doing, now that I'm into it? His time is impeccable. When he wants to fall off the beat, it's impeccable. These are things that, through experience and time, I had to learn.
Wisely, GQ decided to have Eminem annotate Kendrick's quote using Genius, and his response was the purest, most sincere definition of the expression "real recognize real":
When I first heard Kendrick’s debut on Aftermath, I couldn’t believe it. The fact that it was his first real album and he was able to make it into a story which intertwines with the skits like that was genius. That hasn’t really been done that many times, let alone on someone’s first time up. The level of wordplay, the deliveries, the beats—it’s just a masterpiece.
This isn't the first time Eminem has heaped a healthy amount of praise onto Kendrick Lamar and his catalog, and it certainly won't be the last, but whenever a decorated veteran emcee goes out of his way to prop up the leader of the new school, a la Michael Jordan praising Kobe Bryant or LeBron James, it further signifies a passing of the torch from one generation to the next.
Eminem didn't say anything that anyone who has been following Kendrick Lamar for the past six years didn't already know, but it never hurts to hear it from the Rap God.