Boston, Massachusetts hip-hop artist Dutch ReBelle came out to Paul Rosenberg’s keynote at North By Northeast (NXNE) to hear the answer to one particular question. She wanted to get the opinion of the hip-hop heavyweight, who is credited for taking a Detroit battle rapper who needs no introduction to global stardom, on this: Is it better to feed the streets with as much content as possible in this digital music era, or actually create that special body of work to release when the time is right?

The keynote address, titled The New Album Campaign and moderated by Elliott Wilson, who heads up with Rosenberg, spanned just under an hour and closed out the third day of the NXNE Interactive conference. The in-depth conversation weaved in and out of anecdotes ranging from the Queen of England’s governing body politely “not approving” Eminem to play a show at High Park to Rosenberg’s first interaction with Em, via the late Proof, when he thought the Detroit spitter was nothing more than aaight. Audience members heard nuggets of everyone from Eminem and 50 Cent to Danny Brown and Action Bronson’s come up story. Everything from Eminem’s addiction struggles to 50’s beef with Murder Inc. was discussed.

It wasn’t only upcoming artists in the room to hear from Rosenberg either. Eminem fans, bloggers, publicists, managers and entrepreneurs filled three conference rooms of Toronto’s Hyatt Regency eager to hear from the music mogul. Lo from 1 Love TO was one industry member in attendance. He says Rosenberg is the ultimate G.O.A.T. of artist and label management.

“He is really good at utilizing knowledge,” Lo shares after the keynote. “Aside from people calling him the smartest man in the room, he also probably applies his knowledge better than anyone else in the room.”

But even the greatest of all time knows when he is in the presence of other greats. Rosenberg humbly shared how he still gets nervous when he speaks with Dr. Dre. “I’ve been talking to him for 15 years, and I still feel like that,” he said, laughing.

What was missing from the keynote was more discussion of the new album campaign. For example ReBelle’s question didn’t get covered during the event. However, lucky for her, Rosenberg’s humble nature made him stick around and talk one on one with as many people as he could, ReBelle being one of them.

“Long story short, he basically said you have to find that balance, that control level,” she explains. “[He said] you do need to feed the streets consistently because of how it is now, but you do have to practice self-control and quality and that’s [the answer] I was hoping for.”

Words By. Priya Ramanujam + Event Photos By. Adrian McKenzie / Main Photo Courtesy of. NXNE

Priya Ramanujam is the editor of Urbanology Magazine. She co-founded the publication in 2004 with Adrian McKenzie, while a journalism student at Humber College.

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