Busta Rhymes Breaks Down Making Of “Calm Down” with Eminem

A couple weeks ago, Busta Rhymes and Eminem killed the internet with their highly-anticipated collaboration, “Calm Down.” Over some Scoop DeVille production, both emcees took turns destroying.

Scoop Deville gave me the beat and I loved it. I immediately made a song to it called “Calm Down.” It was just two 16-bar verses. After marinating on the record for some time, I felt like this would be an incredible record for Eminem to get on. I called my manager, Chris Lighty, and I asked him to set up a meeting with Paul Rosenberg, Eminem’s manager. This was actually one of the last meetings I had with Chris before he passed away. We left the song with Paul Rosenberg but we didn’t actually get any feedback about whether [Eminem] was going to jump on it.

About six weeks passed by, my partner Shaheem Reid reached out to Riggs Morales, who was an A&R at Shady Records at the time. He came by the studio to hear the song, and two weeks later, we finally got a confirmation from Paul that Em had got the beat and that he’s fucking with it. A few months passed by, and I got a call from Paul. He wanted to meet me in the studio. He came and played Em’s verse, and I was blown away. What was interesting to me though was that Em did a 42 bar verse. Because we’re known for pretty much fucking everybody up when we get on records with other artists, it became a competitive process.

My hat is off to Eminem because he genuinely still cares about the music. He very much cares about being a thoroughbred MC.

I went back and I wrote 50 bars. We then scheduled a mix session for the song and when I got to Detroit, he listened to my verse, heard that it was 50 bars, he went back and turned his 42 bars into a 60 bar verse. At that point I went back and turned my 50 bar verse into a 62 bar verse. And then Em made his verse a 64 bar verse. [Laughs.] It started off from just doing a dope, high energy hip-hop record into us respectfully competing and damn near battling each other.