Eminem Names Tupac, Nas, Rakim On His Greatest Rappers List

Eminem is paying homage to a ton of iconic rappers in his latest interview.

While he is one of the most popular artists in the world and widely considered the greatest rapper, in fact, Eminem has always displayed an unassuming attitude that gives credit where it’s due. The rapper has never shied away from touting rappers that he looked up and he can still recognize and acknowledge those on top of the game now. In his new interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, Eminem revealed a lengthy list of artists who he respects for their talent and lyricism.

Fans are always curious about who their favorites’ favorites are and Em is open about that. Nas, Big Daddy Kane, Tupac Shakur, Treach, Redman, Rakim, Kool G Rap are among the rappers Em discussed in the interview. The Detroit rapper detailed every moment that inspired him growing up with each of these rappers quite keenly. He agreed that Run DMC was the greatest group of all time.

He also shared the story of the first time he met LL Cool J who says is one of his “favorite rappers of all time.” The rapper sat the interview in his studio which had an extensive album tapes collection serving as a fitting backdrop. Eminem was able to pull albums as mentioned them like his own personal library.

When it comes to his list, Em says you have to go by era sometimes and when he was asked about Nas, he waxed lyrically. Like many lyricists, Eminem touted Nas’ Illmatic as one of the greatest albums to influence him.

“There’s too many moments that he had for me to even be able to count and one of the reasons that I picked ‘Halftime’ though is because there’s some rhyme schemes on there that most rappers to this day probably can’t do,” Em explained.

“And I’m like, ‘What the f**k is this?’ Yo, Illmatic, I can’t even. Everybody knows that is a classic, essential album. I don’t know where you place that in Hip Hop, but it’s got to be at the top. It’s got to be up at the top. I’ve been inspired by so many rappers that that’s probably where I get … it taught me different flow patterns, different schemes you can do and then when you start finding your own that you feel like haven’t been done yet, that’s when it becomes fun.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Eminem talked about the rappers today who strive to be the best and how that motivates them differently. “I rap to be the best rapper, but I’m not the only rapper who raps to be the best rapper,” he said. “Wayne, Cole, Kendrick, Joyner Lucas. They rap to be the best rapper and I feel like when you push yourself like that, that’s what I feel like inspires greatness. But the list, man, sometimes you almost have to go by era.”

“Tupac, I feel like rappers like Rakim, G Rap, Kane, Treach, Pharoahe Monch, KRS-One would drive some new sh*t, it just outdid whatever was before that,” he continued. “And then along comes Rakim and he outdoes that. And then along comes G Rap and he starts outdoing everyone else. Redman — Redman was, to me, one of the most consistent artists. Still rapping to this day, he’s one of the most consistently dope rappers.” Em also said MC Serch did influence him contrary to what the former 3rd Bass member said in an interview.

Listen to Eminem talk about his favorite rappers in his Apple Music interview.