Eminem on Why He Looks Up to Jay Z

Eminem tells Complex why he's "always" admired Jay Z's approach.

Em and Jay in Detroit
Image via Getty/Kevin Mazur

Eminem and Jay-Z perform at Comerica Park on September 2, 2010 in Detroit, Michigan.

Em and Jay in Detroit

Nearly two decades of sociopolitical fuckery have passed since the release of Eminem's gargantuan album Slim Shady LP. In the years since dropping ubiquitous instaclassics like "My Name Is" and "Guilty Conscience," Em has remained a radio mainstay while reinventing his approach to the game. Em's latest, the Beyoncé-featuring Revival, showcases some of the most politically and personally direct lyrics of his career.

In his new Complex cover story, Em discussed one of themes explored on the album's lead single "Walk on Water": longevity. For Em, there's no better example of how to navigate those expectations than Jay Z. "I look to Jay for a lot of shit," Em told Complex. "I look to Jay for where he's at in life and I look, for 4:44, the punch lines. I'm listening to music in a way that most people probably aren't. I'm looking, just like they might be looking for a different thing. They might be looking for a feel, or whatever it is. I'm looking for the sharpness and I'm looking for the punchlines. He's got a lot of funny punchlines on that shit."


For those new to the game, Em added, Jay's career is a great example of how there's "no time limit" for art. "It's almost like he can see what's going on in hip-hop," Em said. "He's very in tune with the times and then he does something his own way, and then other people follow it. That's amazing to me, so I've always looked up to Jay for that."

Ultimately, Em feels his genre is still too young to know just how long an artist can continue. "I think that we still don't know how long somebody can actually go for," he said.

For the full Complex x Eminem experience, click here.

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