“That was good. I thought that was good,” he said before describing meeting Eminem in the mid 1990s. “I saw Eminem one time, I went up to Sway’s house, he was there. He was cool for a minute. That’s before he got large and stuff. I think he was just in the beginning stages, not even recording his album, before he got that deal, the Aftermath deal and stuff. He was real quiet. I went up to Tech’s house and me and [KutMasta] Kurt was over there and he was just quiet. Then he came out the room. That was the last time I saw him, actually. That was years and years ago. Around ‘95 or something. He was really quiet.”
On the song, which appears on the rapper’s The Marshal Mathers LP 2, Eminem says he’s “going cuckoo and kooky as Kool Keith.”
“When I heard him [mention me] on the song I was like, ‘Wow, it’s very good because a lot of people look up to Eminem and he don’t really say a lot of people’s names on the song,” he said. “I didn’t get much slack from Eminem saying my name, I got more slack from people that was mad that he was saying my name, the average rapper who wanted to be known. A lot of guys felt bad, you got a lot of dudes out here, they look up to him a lot, a very a lot. A lot of good rappers that are top rappers look up to him. Then for him to say my name, the person that looks up to him looks at me kind of cross-eyed.”
Asked on how he interpreted the line itself, Keith referenced their shared penchant for making “wild songs.”
“Well I guess he thinks he’s more weirder than me [at] making songs that are wild ‘cause I make wild songs,” he said. “I guess he felt more like that’s the comparison the same way he could make that he’s iller than me or something, comparing that he could make a iller record than me. He could say iller subjects. He could write iller things. He can make people say ‘Wow.’”
Speaking more generally on Em’s music, Kool Keith explained his take on the rapper’s lyricism.
“I listen to Eminem’s lyrics sometimes, sometimes he says a lot of wild stuff,” Keith said. “It seems like he has a lot of issues with himself, a lot of stuff more family stuff and personal but the other stuff…’Stan,’ and stuff like that. I mean he has a lot of issues and stuff. Me, I might have my names I keep changing…I don’t like to use the same name on a song. Sometimes I’m Michael on a song, sometimes I’m Reggie, sometimes I’m Bob, sometimes I’m Tim. I don’t feel like I need to be one person because if you be gangster then you gotta be gangster all your life, if you be this guy you gotta be the lover all your life. If you make a change people can’t accept it. And I think that’s what happened with [Dr.] Octagon and stuff, people thought I was gonna do that for the rest of my life.”
Answering a question about the innovation of so-called internal rhyme schemed, Kool Keith detailed his belief that he’s long been ahead of his peers.
“I can do both,” he said of different rhyming styles. “I’ve definitely tried many cadences in music, to learn what I can say in the middle and the ends which is good. I make up my own rhymes, sometimes I force ‘em. I don’t feel like I have to rhyme on the rules of rhyming. Before, when Rap first came out, people rhymed ‘cat,’ ‘mat,’ and ‘hat,’ [or] ‘Skit, skat, I pick up my bat / Then I call my friend, his name was Matt.’ I mean, people did that, but now, Rap has moved forward to—Rap went a little bit to second grade: ‘Party hardy / I call my friend Marty.’ Now Rap went to: ‘The majority of the time / Get the sorority to hang a line,’ it moved up to three. Then it moved up to in the middle [rhyming words]. Everything could be switched up…I’m glad that I evolved, like my voice and cadence carried into that whole generation of time. But I was ahead of my time anyway writing-wise. I had to come down ‘cause I was using totally big words. I didn’t make rhymes go together at all, I would say, ‘Exhilaration powerful force / Innovation, combustion chamber / Danger,’ I was writing like that. I was too far ahead of the average mind, I was Dr. Who years ago.”