Eminem has clearly evolved from the quick-witted, soul-crushing battle rapper who first caught the attention of Dr. Dre in the late 1990s, but old habits are hard to break. Monday's release of "Rap God" proves that no matter how many radio-busting chart-toppers Marshall 2.0 can churn out ("Not Afraid," "Love the Way You Lie"), Em just loves to rhyme.
Slim spews non-stop venom over the DVLP-produced track, which will appear on his upcoming November 5 album The Marshall Mathers LP 2 and while it is hard to pick a favorite things about the song there were a number of moments that stood out.
Em's Reference To Bill Clinton And Monica Lewinsky
The reference is dated, but that's the point: Em uses the 1998 Lewinsky scandal to illustrate just how long he's been a dominate force in rap — he dropped his multiplatinum debut The Slim Shady LP a year later in 1999. "Gotta fat knot from that rap profit/ Made a living and a killing off it/Ever since Bill Clinton was still in office/ With Monica Lewinsky feeling on his nutsack," he raps at a ridiculous pace.
Lakim Shabazz Gets A Shout-Out
Marshall is often regarded as a top influencer for new MCs, but it's always cool to hear Em shout out those who came before him. Of course Dr. Dre and N.W.A. get mentioned, as does Tupac, Rakim, Pharoahe Monch and Run-DMC, but it was cool that the Detroit Rap God gives props to Lakim Shabazz, who got his start rapping alongside Queen Latifah in the Flavor Unit crew.
No Stranger To Controversy
On the original Marshall Mathers LP, Em found himself facing some serious censorship. In the aftermath of the 1999 Columbine High School shooting, Slim Shady got a few of his words bleeped out on "I'm Back." Now, over a decade later, Eminem recycles those same bars and dares the critics to stop him. "See if I get away with it now that I ain't as big as I was," he rhymes after he suggests taking "Seven kids from Columbine/ Put 'em all in a line, add an AK-47, a revolver, a nine."
Times change. Some things don't, apparently. On MMLP2, Em unapologetically reverts to homophobia and misogyny. In "Rap God," he spits "I'll still be able to break a motherf---in' table/ Over the back of a couple of f----ts and crack it in half," using the three-letter f-word three times throughout the track. He also directly challenges those who have taken him to task for his record of misogynistic lyrics, growling "They're asking me to eliminate some of the women hate ... But if I can't batter the women how the f--- am I supposed to bake them a cake then?"
The JJ Fad Flow
Remember Hot Stylz, the Chicago rap group that released the comedic "Lookin Boy" single with Yung Joc back in 2007? Don't worry if you don't, because Em has you covered as he interpolates the group's flow in the second verse of "Rap God." It was even cooler when he tossed a nod to 1980s all-girl hip-hop group JJ Fad in the third verse and rocked the same flow they sued on their 1987 single "Supersonic."