We all know the big names at the Grammys. The Eminems, Kanye Wests, Drakes and Kendrick Lamars. They're the voices that we hear, responsible for the songs and albums that we love -- but there's something more going on behind those vocals.
The production, of course -- and the producers who help create and orchestrate the sounds of those very same songs and albums that we love.
Eminem's The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is up for Rap Album of the Year at the awards, which take place this Sunday. To open Em's latest solo effort, we get "Bad Guy," a follow up to his classic 2001 track "Stan;" similar to the original, it's drenched in storytelling and lyricism. Unlike that, though, sonically, it's broken into two parts, made to sound like two distinct songs.
The latter half is produced by Streetrunner and Vinny Venditto, who spoke with MTV News about working with how they got to work with Em, what their vision was for the track, and their Grammy nomination.
How did you guys end up producing "Bad Guy"?
Streetrunner: The whole thing starts back in '08. I started working with Royce da 5'9" and we started building our relationship. He rebuilt his relationship with Eminem, and I eventually did a record with him called "Writer's Block," which featured Eminem. Eventually, I did a co-production on the Slaughterhouse album with Eminem. Through dealing with his people at the time on that record, I said, "Can I send some beats to Eminem?" and luckily they said yes. I just started building tracks. Randomly sending tracks that I thought were dope for Em.
Then it was this record, when I got in the studio with Vinny, we put this together from scratch. I had a sample, I thought it was super stupid, and then Vinny played ridiculous keys on it, then I took it back to my studio. I put the drums down, formulated it into a song. I knew this was it. I sent it to Eminem's right hand, and literally two weeks later, got the call.
It sounds like you were building it with Em in mind. What kind of sound were you going for?
Streetrunner: I was looking to do something epic. "Lose Yourself" is one of the most incredible Eminem records, and when I had Eminem in mind, I always wanted to compete with a "Lose Yourself." The only thing we had in mind was building a "Lose Yourself"-type vibe.
Vinny: When we hit those strings, we knew that was it.
Streetrunner: There's two samples. There's the vocal sample, and then I flipped the drum break for the drums.
Vinny: In the mix of this, [Streetrunner] called me and said, I got something big in the works. I don't wanna jinx it, but it's life-changing. I said, What is it. But he said, I won't tell you. That was in February. When he finally told me what it was, it was in September. That's how long it took. Every month he would call me like, "We're one step closer." Finally, when he told me, I almost hit the floor.
What happens in between the time you send it and we hear it?
Streetrunner: They kept it very secretive -- what was going on with the project. I didn't find out until probably a month before it came out, that they combined our record with S1's record. It was funny, because once we found that out -- I think it was October -- within a day we had to sign off on something for it to 100% make the album, so I'm hustling, trying to get Vinny to sign his paper; I gotta sign my paper; the other person who had publishing had to sign their papers.
Do you remember the first time you heard the finished product?
Streetrunner: I lost my mind, honestly. Especially when the track switched. I was like, "Oh, sh-t!" The way he came in, and the way he flowed, the rhyme scheme. It was almost like a fantasy. Like, "Oh, man, Eminem is really rapping on our beat."
He opened up his world tour for this album with "Bad Guy" part two, our part, performing in front of 90,000 people [at Wembley Stadium in London].
Vinny: That was crazy.
Are you guys going to the awards? I know there are a lot of producers on these albums, how does it work in terms of who's there?
Streetrunner: I was nominated for Album of the Year for Lil Wayne's Tha Carter III, and I did go to the award show for that. But it was also nominated for Album of the Year. Either you have to be on the Album of the Year to get at ticket, something like that, or if not, you gotta buy a ticket. I know I got floor seats when it was Album of the Year.
That won Rap Album of the Year. Did you get a trophy?
Streetrunner: The thing about trophies is that you have to be a part of 50% of the project in order to get a physical trophy. So, I would have had to produce half of Tha Carter III, and then I would have gotten the trophy. You get the trophy if you get a single, or you're involved in 50% of a record that wins, but if you're just part of an album, you just get certificates.
Well, that's not a bad consolation.
Streetrunner: You still get the Grammy title, though [laughs].