With Eminem’s ninth studio album, Revival, set for release later this evening, eyes (and ears) have naturally been focused on the return of Detroit MC, but the 19-track LP wasn’t crafted by one man alone.
Enter OnCue, a Connecticut rapper-singer-songwriter who, through his relationship with the legendary producer Just Blaze, landed a writing credit on Em’s Alicia Keys-assisted “Like Home.”
In the midst of putting together his new album, a project that he describes over the phone as “crazy amazing,” Just played Cue the original version of the “Like Home” beat. Once he heard the track’s chord progression, he says his songwriter senses kicked in.
“I was like, ‘Yo, let me take the beat back. Let me write a hook,’” Cue excitedly recalls. “It spiraled from there and ended up being the bridge. Skylar Grey also wrote on [the record] and someone else, on the tail end of the process.”
Just a month prior, Diplo nearly picked up a Cue record for the latest Major Lazer project. With that narrowly-missed opportunity behind him, he attacked the potential placement with Eminem with a fresh fervor.
“I went to my little writing room-studio in Bushwick and the first thing I did, I loaded up the beat that [Just Blaze] gave me, and I just cut the reference,” he explains. “I gave it back to Just in twelve hours. I knew I couldn’t squander this opportunity.”
Without knowing it at the time, that reference ended up being the exact hometown anthem Eminem’s manager Paul Rosenberg was looking for, and during a mid-October LA studio session, OnCue received the fateful text from Just Blaze that his bridge would be used on the final, album version of the track.
Although it took plenty of patience—his first appearance on DJBooth was back in 2009!—Cue believes that his stars are finally starting to align. “This industry does tend to reward hard work,” he tells me without fear of sounding trite. “Granted, the bridge took me a whole twenty minutes to write, [but] that was years and years of hard work leading up to that very moment. You have to fall in love with the process and the journey to really make it.”
“My road has been a long one, but I’m good. I’m good and my goals are still higher than ever.”