Producer STREETRUNNER On The Concept Behind Eminem’s “Bad Guy”
The opening track on The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is a brilliant, seven-plus-minute record that features Eminem playing the role of Matthew Mitchell, the little brother of the infamous Eminem character portrayed in his song "Stan" on the first Marshall Mathers LP. If you've never heard it, "Stan" recounts the story of a crazy fan who kills himself, his girlfriend and their unborn child because Eminem wasn't responding to his letters (until it was too late). This time around, on album-opener "Bad Guy," Matthew is all grown up and wants revenge. "Bad Guy" combines two beats into one, with part one produced by The Dividends and M-Phazes and part two produced by STREETRUNNER and Vinny Venditto. XXL got on the phone with STREETRUNNER to discuss how the records got combined and the song came together. —Emmanuel C.M. (@ECM_LP)
XXL: Two songs into one. How did that concept come together?
STREETRUNNER: S1 and I met last year and we clicked. We banged out a couple of tracks, we stayed in touch, and we constantly see each other at different events. Last event we were at, he was like, "Yeah, I got a track on Eminem’s album." And I was like, "That’s crazy, I got a track on Eminem’s album too." Eminem is a very private recording artist; he really didn’t let me in on what exactly was going on until the last minute, the same with S1. We really didn’t know, we just knew we had records. It was crazy: I got hit up and my attorney was like, “I heard it was getting combined.” I wasn’t sure who the other producer was or what place I was going to play on the album, it was just funny as hell when I found out the other producer was S1. And they combined my record with S1's record. I'm pretty sure it wasn’t planned and it just happened. I’m pretty sure they didn’t have a clue if these two guys were cool or not. It worked out in the scheme of things.
I see the song is getting positive reviews. I’m not even going to lie, I really haven’t listened to it like that. I’m one of those guys who actually likes to go buy the album. I’m still that guy. I must have been trying to get on this album for a year. The first time I hear it, I don’t want to hear it off the Internet off a leak. I'd rather crack it open in the whip and just ride around with it and see how it sounds.
It took you a year to get on the album?
Before Slaughterhouse’s last album dropped, I worked with Eminem briefly on a Royce Da 5’9” record called “Writers Block.” Me and my dude Sarom produced for Royce da 5’9”. It was an independent single we pushed out on Royce’s album. And it was during the time when they [Royce and Eminem] were working on Bad Meets Evil. Through working on that, I knew I was getting close to working with Eminem directly. Then once the Slaughterhouse album dropped, there are two records I produced that became singles, and I gave co-production credits to Eminem. He worked on those records, too; they were productions me and Sarom did and Eminem came through and touched [them] up. I just started submitting tracks; I figured it was good timing. Man I’m not even going to lie; I submitted a lot of tracks until finally that one connected. Once it connected, I knew I was good.
How did you make the beat?
The beat started off with the sample, chopped it up—“Soana,” written by G. Reverberi & L. Giordano. My man, Vinny Venditto, played the pianos and strings on it and then I started working on this drum break that just came together real good on the track. Honestly this beat is one of my more effortless tracks that I produced. It came together well, can’t really say I was struggling with this beat. When I made it, I took it to my guy and said, “This is going to be one of Eminem’s beats right here.” He had his doubts. [Laughs] But I was confident in that track when I was done with it. I was really glad that he picked it when it came together.
I get kind of stressed about samples sometimes—“Oh shit, I made it on Em’s album, what if the sample doesn’t clear?” So I did my research and that guy was actually sampled for that huge CeeLo Green record, “Crazy.” At first, it wasn’t connected to the S1 record right away. I honestly think that there’s a full version to it, because I noticed as it faded out, Eminem's still going. I could be wrong.
When they told you they were going to combine the songs, what were your feelings?
Initially, it’s like, you got to wonder why it’s being combined and you always are going to want the shine, but ultimately I can’t knock it. I’m on an Eminem album. At this point—maybe in like 2000 or 1999—we can say there are going to be five more Eminem albums, but at this point, how many more Eminem albums are there going to be? It’s more of a rarity for people to be on this project, so I can appreciate the value in it. Even if my beat was only a snippet, I’ll take it. This is Eminem. You're working with one of the biggest rappers that ever worked in this industry. They combined it for creative reasons.