Any time either Eminem or Rihanna takes the stage, there’s going to be a memorable moment. And when they link up at Sunday night’s MTV Movie Awards for the first performance of “The Monster,” well, that’s bound to be big.
To honor the occasion, we take a look back at their relationship.
When Em and Rih-Rih join forces, it’s pure gold. Or, pure platinum. Pure multi-platinum, actually.
The two first hooked up for 2010’s “Love the Way You Lie,” from Em’s Recovery. The song was an instant smash, and eventually topped the charts in more than 20 countries. It’s the best-selling song of each of their careers and has sold more than 11 million copies.
They followed up that same year with “Love the Way You Lie (Part II),” which was included on Rihanna’s Loud. It was neither released as a single nor given a music video, and so it didn’t mirror the success of the first. Two years later, “Numb,” from Rih’s Unapologetic, brought them together again.
It was with “The Monster,” though, that they matched the success of “Love the Way You Lie.” The fourth single from Slim’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 features Rihanna belting an infectious hook between the Detroit rapper’s fiery verses. It’s already sold 3 million units domestically, and hit #1 in a dozen countries.
In addition to getting together for the music videos for “Love the Way You Lie” and “The Monster,” the powerhouse tandem have appeared together on a handful of occasions — but not so often that when it happens, it’s not notable.
In June 2010, Em shocked fans during his set at the Activision E3 preview event at the Staples Center in Los Angeles when he brought out Rihanna to perform “Love the Way You Lie.” Rih returned the favor the next month on that same Staples Center stage, when she brought Em out as a special guest during her show. They continued the trend just a few months later, with her surprise appearance during his opening set at the 2010 VMAs.
At the 53rd Grammy Awards in February 2011, they linked up once again, this time for “Love the Way You Lie (Part II),” which opened the show. The song scored five nominations that night.
They’re taking the act on the road for the Monster Tour this summer.
It’s no surprise that, when asked about once another in interviews, both Eminem and Rihanna have high praises for their counterpart.
“It’s one of those tracks that I felt like only she could pull it off,” he said when asked by Paris’ Skyrock FM about “Love the Way You Lie” in the Spring of 2010.
Rih returned the praise that July. “Eminem is an artist of class, and I knew if he sent me a record, there must be something to it,” she told “Access Hollywood.” “It was…something that I connected with, which made me think it was a hit. And I wanna be part of a hit, so of course I couldn’t say no to Eminem.”
Even so, she was hesitant to do a sequel. “I was just completely against it,” she told MTV News in October 2010. “I just felt like you couldn’t beat the original. There’s no way you can outdo that, so why compete with it?”
She added, with a laugh, “Something is wrong with Eminem…He has so much in his head that music is such a great release for him. He’s one of my favorite artists.”
“The moment I worked with him on ‘Love the Way You Lie,’ I wanted to work with him again, and we did ‘Love the Way You Lie (Part II),'” she told Complex last year. “And then I wanted to work with him again. I just love working with Eminem.”
In November, Em told MTV News about why he enlisted Rihanna for “The Monster.” “As soon as I got the beat, I just heard her on it,” he said. “She smashed it, like she does always. It’s pretty incredible.”
You can count on their performance tonight being pretty incredible, too.