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'Venom' stars Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed geek out over Eminem: 'It was like crack to a little preteen'

Jon San
·Producer, Yahoo Entertainment
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While Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed go head-to-head in the new Venom, in terms of hip-hop, they’re on the same page. At least when it comes to Eminem.

Just over a month ago, the rapper surprise-released a new album, Kamikaze, which closes with the blistering track “Venom,” written specifically for the movie, which is in theaters this week.

“He’s one of the greatest of all time,” Ahmed, who plays the villainous Dr. Carlton Drake, said in an interview with Yahoo Entertainment. Hardy, who pulls double duty as journalist Eddie Brock and symbiote monster Venom, chimed in, dubbing Eminem the “GOAT.”

“I’m a huge Eminem fan,” Hardy said. While Hardy has seemingly left his skills as an MC in the past (a mixtape emerged earlier this year), Ahmed still raps in the hip-hop duo Swet Shop Boys under the name Riz MC.

Ahmed went on to call the Detroit rapper “an artist who’s really influenced me” and remembered exactly where he was when Eminem first blew his mind.

“It was on a late night music video show on TV, and it was ‘Hi, my name is,’” said Ahmed. “I remember I just went, ‘I don’t know what this is,’ but I went straight for a VHS tape and just put it in and recorded as much of it as I could, and I just watched that back again and again.”

Eminem’s brazen, no-holds-barred music was both jarring and addicting for Ahmed.

Riz Ahmed (Dr. Carlton Drake) and Tom Hardy (Eddie Brock/Venom) are definitely not debating the merits of Eminem in this scene from <em>Venom.</em> (Photo: Everett Collection)
Riz Ahmed (Dr. Carlton Drake) and Tom Hardy (Eddie Brock/Venom) are definitely not debating the merits of Eminem in this scene from Venom. (Photo: Everett Collection)

“I couldn’t believe that someone was saying those things,” Ahmed said. “His voice, his attitude, it was so accessible but also so subversive, just the playfulness and the wordplay, the athleticism, the intelligence, the humor — it was all there. It was like crack to a little preteen.”

Hardy added that for him, hearing Eminem was “an awakening moment.” “The experience was palpable,” he said. “He stands out specifically as an enigma; he’s unique.”

While Eminem leaves the biggest imprint on the music in Venom, Ahmed joked that two other hip-hop legends influenced his character.

For Dr. Carlton Drake, he said, “It was Dr. Dre and Drake. He’s West Coast and East Coast, best of both. [He brings] everyone on board, makes you dance.”

What kind of dance, you ask? Easy:

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