Eminem Names Rapper Who Was Like Biggie to Him: ‘I Have Nothing But the Utmost Respect’

Detroit-bred rapper Eminem is often revered in hip-hop as one of the genre’s best emcees to ever hold a mic. His name sits on many “Top 5 Dead or Alive” lists when it comes to fans and his musical peers.

However, Eminem also has his favorites from past and current eras, including the late Notorious B.I.G., Big Daddy Kane, and Kendrick Lamar. In a recent interview, he talked about his love for hip-hop and the rappers he’s admired, including one who reminded him of Biggie.

Eminem performs on August 22, 2013 during a concert at the Stade de France in Saints-Denis, near Paris | Pierre Andrieu/AFP via Getty Images

Eminem refused to run down his “top” rappers

During his appearance on Zane Lowe’s “At Home” segment on Apple Music, Eminem spoke about his envious cassette tape collection (which numbers around 600), the early days of hip-hop, his career, and his respect for veteran artists such as Biz Markie, L.L. Cool J, and Run-D.M.C.

Lowe, curious about the rapper’s ideas on the best in the game, asked about his “top” choices in the game. Rather than rattle off specific names, Eminem praised a variety of talents, including Nas, Kool G. Rap, Biggie, KRS-One, and Rakim.

“When people compare, when they try to compare eras… hip-hop’s went through too many different transitions for anyone really to be the best rapper of all time, because rap has went through transitions, it’s evolved,” he said.

“When they ask me who my top favorite rappers are, I don’t even know how answer that because there’s so many rappers that have been so great and still are great,” Eminem shared.

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Eminem’s playlist includes the late Heavy D

Part of Lowe’s interview features the guest artist’s special playlist, and Heavy D had a few spots on Eminem’s. Lowe was surprised to see the late rapper’s “Don’t Curse” track as one of Em’s favorites, and the “Lose Yourself” emcee explained why he holds him in such high regard.

“The reason I picked Heavy D too and couple of these songs is because sometimes I’ve gotta go back and remember how great some rappers were,” said Eminem.

“Heavy D. RIP to Heavy D. I have nothing but the utmost respect for that dude, and he was one of the most underrated rappers to me because he was like a chameleon. He could get on a song with Treach and keep up. He had commercial hits, and then he could go…” he told Lowe.

Eminem reflected on the “Peaceful Journey” rapper’s body of work and added, “Heavy D was like Biggie to me. He had the kind of commercial hits that no matter how much you heard them, you never really got tired of them.”

Heavy D died in 2011

Heavy D — along with his DJ and two dancers — made his debut in 1987 as Heavy D & the Boyz. During his career, he worked with super producers such as DJ Premier and Teddy Riley, and did collaborations with Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson, and reggae legend Frankie Paul. Heavy D released 12 studio albums between 1987 and 2011.

Some of his hits were “Big Tyme,” “We Got Our Own Thang,” “Gyrlz, They Love Me,” and “Nuttin’ But Love.” He was also influential at Uptown Records during the era of Andre Harrell and Sean “Diddy” Combs, and wound up working as an executive at the label.