Benny Blanco is easily one of pop music’s most sought-after producers, having worked with an array of superstar artists ranging from Rihanna to Justin Bieber, Halsey to Ed Sheeran. Throughout his industry adventures (and occasional misadventures), Blanco has dipped his toes into the rap game, though his production style does tend to gravitate toward a radio-friendly sound. Evidently, Eminem is no stranger to such a sound, and one of Benny Blanco’s beats actually found its way onto the legendary rapper’s radar.
As Blanco explained during a recent interview with Apple Music’s Zane Lowe, the beat in question was none other than Rihanna’s “Diamonds.” As he tells it, the beat actually went through a bit of a journey before falling into Rihanna’s hands, as she was admittedly not who the producer originally envisioned as the recipient. “We wanted it to be a Kanye song or a Lana Del Ray song, I remember, at first,” he reveals, before praising Sia‘s (one of the song’s co-writers) prolific songwriting process.
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“We’re listening to it a few days later, and [co-producer] Stargate’s like, “Yo, we’re giving this song to Rihanna. It’s going to go.” And I was like, “I don’t know, man. Should we keep the beat for Kanye? I don’t know about it,” he continues. “And then, I remember, at the same time, I had given a beat CD like a month earlier to Paul Rosenberg to give to Eminem. And apparently, Eminem had done a song to it, too. And I didn’t even know. And I’m sitting there… Dude, so when it happened, Paul was like, “Man, Em had that beat on hold.” I was like, “What? I didn’t even know.”
Eventually, Blanco opted to let Stargate take the reins, and Eminem’s song over the “Diamonds” instrumental remains forever vaulted. One has to wonder how Slim approached the track to begin with, though it’s likely it would have been one of his more mainstream-friendly anthems. Check out Benny’s reflection on how “Diamonds” landed in the hands of the Shady camp below, and sound off if you would have wanted to see Eminem try his hand at Rihanna’s classic pop hit.