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Big Sean says Eminem turned down to rap on J Dilla beat



Eminem and Big Sean at Ford Field during Detroit Lions and Los Angeles Rams game. (2024)

In a new cover story by Essence, Big Sean revealed that he attempted to get Eminem to rap over a J Dilla beat, but the Detroit legend passed on the opportunity.

Eminem and Big Sean collaborated on 2020’s Detroit 2 album posse cut “Friday Night Cypher” alongside Tee Grizzley, Kash Doll, Cash Kidd, Payroll, 42 Dugg, Boldy James, Drego, Sada Baby and Royce Da 5’9″, but it wasn’t the first idea he had in mind.

Sean got his hands on an unreleased J Dilla beat for the project and sent it to Eminem, but the song never materialized — despite Em liking the instrumental: “It reminded me of an old Eminem. And when I sent it to Em, he was like, ‘Man, I like the Dilla beat, for sure. I get it.’ But Em preferred the beat for the Friday Night Cypher.

This wasn’t the only Dilla production that Eminem passed on. Denaun Porter previously revealed that A Tribe Called Quest‘s “Get a Hold” — from their 1996 album Beats, Rhymes & Life — originally belonged to Eminem. “He had the illest song to that beat. Em had that beat before Tribe and them had it. Proof gave it to him. It was like, ‘Yo, I gotta get some Dilla beats,’ I don’t know if he recorded it, but he wrote it because I remember him writing it and I remember the song being ill as hell. The concept he had to it was crazy. Proof told Jay Dee, ‘Yo, Em wants this beat.’ And it might have been another beat too. But that song… when we heard it on the Tribe album, we were like, ‘Aww man!’ But it’s A Tribe Called Quest — what you gonna say? Dilla told him a price and I think Em was trying to get the money up for it or something because we were broke. Mind you, they would’ve got Slim Marshall. This was before ‘Just Don’t Give a F–k.’


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