Eminem and Busta Rhymes are two of the game's greatest emcees, and while they have collaborated a few times with "I'll Hurt You" and "Touch It Remix," their most substantial duet arose with the release of "Calm Down." Originally landing in 2014, the sprawling anthem featured extensive verses from both lyricists, to the point where the song neared six-minutes in length. Yet it wasn't always supposed to be that way, as explained by Busta himself during an extensive track breakdown with Pitchfork. In fact, it was originally meant to feature two sixteen bar verses.
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"If you want a clear display of what the fundamentals of hip-hop is and the art of emceeing, [Calm Down] is the case study," explains Busta. "I sent the record to Eminem with 16 bar verse. He sent it back with like 40 bar verse. I’m like ‘what the fuck is going on. You are not gonna do this to me on my song.’ I sent back my verse with 45 bars. He sends it back 56 bars. I sent mine back 62 bars. He sends back 66 bars. I’m like, look bro, who we making this record for at this point? Are we making this record for the consumer or we are just battling each other now?”
Busta Rhymes ft. Eminem - "Calm Down"
“But that’s the beauty and the competitive nature and spirit we both have cause we care that much," he continues, clearly appreciating the back-and-forth that ensued during "Calm Down's" creation. "We love it that much. No one wants to be a weak link. No one wants to say I'm going to settle with getting my ass bust by the other rapper on the song. It’s no longer a business at that point. It’s just that fiery passion that still burns in the souls of both of us as true incredible swordsmen of the sport and we love the opportunity of being able to display the skill set at the most highest level of just raw emceeing. That was so much fun.”
For more from Busta, including an extensive breakdown of crafting "Break Ya Neck" with Dr. Dre, check out his full conversation with Pitchfork below.