Legendary Queensbridge rapper, Craig G, has had an enviable hip hop recording career. At only 12 years old, G recorded his first song with Marley Marl, “Shout Rap”, and became a part of the influential Juice Crew collective, which also included future GOATs like Biz Markie, Big Daddy Kane and Kool G Rap.
In 1988, after only a few years since his debut, Craig G was one of the four rappers to rhyme on Marley Marl’s “The Symphony” – arguably the most important posse cut of all time. The Queensbridge rapper later released his debut album, The Kingpin, in 1989, followed up by Now, That’s More Like It before taking a step back from dropping music.
But while he wasn’t releasing music frequently, G built up a fearsome reputation as a freestyle battle rapper, who went up against Supernatural on several occasions. It was in the freestyle battle rap world that G would secure his next gig – as a writer and consultant on Eminem’s semi-autobiographical film, 8 Mile.
In fact, the Queensbridge rapper had already met Eminem years prior in 1997, when he was judging the Rap Olympics that Eminem was taking part in. Hip hop OG, Wendy Day, had actually organised the Rap Olympics to help showcase Eminem’s rhyming talents. She also paid for his plane ticket to the event.
Years later, after Em had blown up and become the biggest rapper in the world, he started working on 8 Mile and called on Craig to help with tightening up the rap battle scenes.
“We brought in Craig G to help coach the other battlers and to help them refine and edit their raps — to get the right attack, the right potency, as well as to be concise enough,” Paul Rosenberg, Em’s manager and the film’s executive producer, told Grantland in 2014.
In an interview with unkut, Craig G recounted working on the film and how he met Eminem:
Craig G: I actually wrote a lot of the opponents lyrics. I wrote 80% of Xzibit’s verse. I’m on the DVD in the bonus footage, man. I respect the fact that they hand-picked me to do that, but I don’t go around like, “Hey! Eminem respects me!”. It’s not that serious. It’s more the fact that I was actually at The Shelter – the club the movie was based on – and I battled a bunch of guys there, in Detroit. I happened to walk up in there by accident. I did a show in Miami, then we drove to Detroit but the show got cancelled. So me and Will Pack are in the hotel with a gang of weed that I got from Florida, so we say, “Yo, let’s go get a Phillie”. This is the Phillie days, 90-something. We walk to the gas station, we get some Phillies, and every time this door opens, we’re hearing music playing. It’s like warehouses, so I’m like, “What the-?” So we follow the music and walk into the club, and it’s The Shelter. Me and Proof battled and a bunch of other MC’s. That’s how me and Proof – rest the dead – became real good friends. So maybe that had something to do with it, and the fact that I met Em and Paul and ‘em way before any of the hub-bub happened, when Em was promoting Infinite. I was actually the judge at the Rap Olympics where he was at that battle. I also did the character Dangerous’ verse in Get Rich or Die Tryin’.Craig G – The Unkut Interview | unkut