In an October interview with UGHH, veteran MC Masta Ace was asked about his songwriting and rhyme style influences on Eminem, who has repeatedly cited the Brooklyn native as one of the biggest influences of his career.
“I think it’s really simple. My album SlaughtaHouse came out in 1993. [Eminem] explained to me that when it came out he was broke, just struggling like everybody else. He was in high school. He and his boys from D12 would ride around in a beat-up car, and that’s the album they played for that whole summer of 1993. And music is the kind of thing where depending on what was happening in your life when it came out, it has this influence on you, where every time you hear that piece of music, it takes you back to a happier time, or a time when “man, it wasn’t about money” or “we were just us chillin” riding in a beat-up car.”
Beyond singing the praises of his sophomore album, however, Eminem has also paid homage to Masta Ace through his music. In 2008, he remixed the title track off Slaughtahouse—the debut album of Masta Ace Incorporated—for Delicious Vinyl’s RMXXOLOGY, last year he performed a verse from Ace’s “Symphony” to celebrate the OG’s 50th birthday, and just last week, Marshall seems to have used the opening line from the third verse on “Born to Roll,” a track on Masta Ace Incorporated’s second album, Sittin’ on Chrome, as the call-and-response opening to two verses on Revival single, “Untouchable.”
On “Born to Roll,” Ace spits, “Black boy, black boy turn that shit down / You know that America don’t wanna hear the sound,” two bars that are mirrored by Eminem on “Untouchable”‘s first verse (“Black boy, black boy, we ain’t gonna lie to you / Black boy, black boy, we don’t like the sight of you“) and again on its second (“Black boy, black boy, we don’t get your culture and / We don’t care what our government’s done to fuck you over, man“).
Have a listen to the two lines, played back to back, courtesy of DJ Mister Cee:
There’s obviously a very thin line in hip-hop between biting another emcee, stealing someone’s lines and paying homage—and as it relates to Eminem and Masta Ace, this is a conversation that has been brewing on the internet for years—but knowing Eminem’s appreciation and respect for hip-hop history and the rap legends that helped pave the way for him to become one of the most successful musical acts of all-time, it’s clear which category Eminem’s “Untouchable” lyrics fall into.
We have reached out to Masta Ace for comment on Eminem’s latest tip of the cap on “Untouchable” and we will update this article if and when he responds.