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Rap God by Eminem

Album: The Marshall Mathers LP 2Released: 2013Charted:
7
5
  • This track was produced by DVLP, who also helmed Lil Wayne's "Beat The S—t." It starts with plodding piano strikes, while cinematic overdubs and movie-like dialogue sets the tone, which includes paying homage to Doug E. Fresh and Slick Rick's classic line on their 1985 single "The Show":

    "Six minutes
    Six minutes
    Six minutes Doug E Fresh you're on."

    Doug E. Fresh is a member of the Church of Scientology and he has said that he put the "6,6,6" motif into the song to evoke the presence of the Devil's temptation.
  • Em jumps in after the intro and raps: "I'm beginning to feel like a rap god..." Slim Shady is not alone in elevating himself to a deity. Jay-Z rapped "You in the presence of a king. Scratch that, you in the presence of a God," on the Magna Carta track "Crown." Also, Kanye West's Yeezus title, raised some eyebrows by combining his first name with that of Jesus.
  • The six minute long track finds Em spitting frenzied rhymes about reigning in rap over DVLP's trap beat. He references and pokes fun at several celebrities, mentioning the kerfuffle between Fabolous and Ray-J, and also the Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky's affair. He even gives a nod to the superhero Thor.
  • Eminem gives shout outs to some of his Hip-Hop peers, including Dr. Dre, N.W.A., 2Pac, Rakim, Busta Rhymes, Pharoahe Monch, Run-DMC, and Lakim Shabazz. The latter got his start rapping alongside Queen Latifah in the Flavor Unit crew.
  • Eminem's line in the hook: "Now who thinks their arms are long enough to slapbox, slapbox?" originates from James Weldon Johnson's poem The Prodigal Son, which was published in his 1927 book of sermons, God's Trombones: Seven Negro Sermons in Verse. The African American author wrote:

    "Young man—
    Young man—
    Your arm's too short to box with God."

    The phrase has been used by other rappers. Xzibit previously rapped "Your lungs is too small to hotbox with God" during his verse in Eminem's "Bitch Please 2." Nas also used the line in his song "You're Da Man" from his 2001 album Stillmatic.
  • The song references a line from "I'm Back," a track from the first Marshall Mathers LP where Eminem talks about the 1999 Columbine High School massacre. We hear him spit on this song:

    "I take seven kids from Columbine, stand 'em all in a line
    Add an AK-47, a revolver, a nine
    See if I get away with it now that I ain't as big as I was."

    The Marshall Mathers LP was released a year after the Columbine High School shootings, when sensitivities about the atrocity were still high. Consequently, the words "kids" and "Columbine" were censored and replaced with silence. A decade later, Em recycles those same bars and dares the critics to stop him.
  • Em raps part of his final verse at warp pace. In this passage, he includes a nod to all-girl Hip-Hop trio J.J. Fad's late 1980s hit "Supersonic." ("Lyrics coming at you at supersonic speed.")
  • The song has been criticised by several gay individuals and organizations for its homophobic lyrical content, which include the line: "Breaking a motherf--king table over the back of a couple faggots and crack it in half." Former Culture Club singer Boy George tweeted Eminem asking him, "Fag? Is this really recovery talk or are you running your own program these days?

    Eminem has attracted criticism from the gay community throughout his career. When he performed "Stan" with Elton John at the 43rd Grammy Awards ceremony in 2001, the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), condemned the openly gay British singer's decision to perform with the rapper, claiming he promoted hatred.

    Speaking with Rolling Stone soon after the release of this song, Eminem claimed that his use of the word 'faggot' is not rooted in homophobia. He explained that when he came up as a rapper in Detroit the word was used freely. "It was more like calling someone a bitch or a punk or a--hole," he said. "So that word was just thrown around so freely back then. It goes back to that battle, back and forth in my head, of wanting to feel free to say what I want to say, and then [worrying about] what may or may not affect people."

    Slim added: "Not saying it's wrong or it's right, but at this point in my career - man, I say so much s--t that's tongue-in-cheek. I poke fun at other people, myself. But the real me sitting here right now talking to you has no issues with gay, straight, transgender, at all. I'm glad we live in a time where it's really starting to feel like people can live their lives and express themselves. And I don't know how else to say this, I still look at myself the same way that I did when I was battling and broke."
  • DVLP told MTV News that when his manager Stephen Hacker began shopping around the beat there were other artists in the running. "Before it got to Em, it was talked about for like T.I. — I don't know who else, maybe Fab or something. Even when they said those names, it was like, that's not really where I hear this record going. It's not that kind of record," he said. "Thankfully everything worked out where it made its way over to the Shady side."
  • Eminem spits a total of 1,560 words on this super-lyrical track. It earned him an entry in the 2015 Guinness Book of Records for "most words in a hit single."
  • The song's music video was directed by Rich Lee, who also filmed Eminem's "Not Afraid" and Bad Meets Evil's "Lighters" clips. It was shot at the Russell Industrial Centre in Detroit and opens with Marshall Mathers parodying Max Headroom. Max was an animated science-fiction character from '80s British TV, who was played by Canadian Matt Frewer. The sci-fi host also starred in the song "Paranoimia" by The Art of Noise and was the inspiration for Usher's "OMG" visual.
  • Eminem and Interscope were sued for $8 million by Chicago rap trio Hotstylz over the lyrics to this song. They claimed the track samples seconds of their 2007 cut "Lookin' Boy" without permission. Speaking to XXL in November 2014, HotStylz member Raymond Jones, who goes by Raydio G, said: "At first we was like, 'Aight, cool,' but at the same time, we was like, 'F--k Eminem,' because he didn't reach out to us. He took so much of the record. That just don't sit right with us."

    "The thing is they used so much of the song, he could have reached out," Jones continued. "He could have reached out to us directly. He could have found a way to reach out to us through some kind of channel. We just addressed that issue on a song called 'Rap Fraud.' We addressed how we felt about it."
  • Eminem explained the lyric "School flunkie, pill junky. But look at the accolades the skills brung me," in an annotated comment on the Rap Genius site: "I don't ever want to be too braggadocious. If I'm going to brag, let me pull it back with lines like 'school flunky, pill junkie.' I'm a f---ing waste of life. I'm a waste of sperm. I am a f---ing outcast of society, I am a piece of s--t. But I know how to rap. Other than that, I'm a f---ing scumbag. I'm worthless. Or this is what I've been told."
  • Em references his love of comic books when he spits "Kneel before General Zod this planet's Krypton No Asgard, Asgard. So you be Thor and I'll be Odin, you rodent, I'm omnipotent."

    "I've always been into comic books," said the MC. "Spider-Man, Hulk, old Batmans, Supermans - mostly vintage Marvel s--t from before I was born. Just being able to have those pieces of history is crazy. I would not want to face off with somebody comparing comic book knowledge, but I know a pretty good amount."
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Comments: 2

Also on the line where he says
"It's still Tongue and Cheek-f--k you" He's saying that he's not meaning any offense to what he's saying about the homosexual community. So, to all the haters of this song: It's still tongue and cheek.
Michael - Las Cruces, Nm
On the verse of
"I take seven kids from Columbine, stand 'em all in a line
Add an AK-47, a revolver, a nine
See if I get away with it now that I ain't as big as I was before"
They actually let him get away with it because it's not as sensitive. However people once they get past the speed of Eminem they realize he's trying his same s--t again c:
Michael - Las Cruces, Nm
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