Berzerk

Album: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)
Charted: 2 3
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  • Lyrics
  • This was released as the first single from Eminem's eighth album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2. The record is a follow-up to Eminem's Marshall Mathers LP, which was released in 2000. The Punk-Rap throwback was premiered on August 26, 2013 on Eminem's Sirius/XM radio station Shade 45.
  • The fiery Rick Rubin-produced track pays homage to old-school Hip-Hop and samples the guitar riff and vocal from Billy Squier's 1981 hit "The Stroke." Squier was previously flipped by Rubin when he borrowed the arena rocker's "The Big Beat" for Jay-Z's "99 Problems."

    The song also samples the "kick it" hook from the Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill track, "The New Style." That tune was also produced by Rubin.
  • The song harkens back to the rapper's early tongue-in-cheek Slim Shady tunes, throwing in celebrity references along the way. Lyrical grenades are thrown at Khloe Kardashian and her husband, NBA star Lamar Odom ("ugly Kardashian/Lamar), and Britney Spears' ex with an increasingly large waistline, Kevin Federline ("So baby just make like K-Fed and let yourself go, let yourself go,"), whilst fellow rappers such as Kendrick Lamar, Birdman, MC Ren of N.W.A. and Public Enemy are all name-checked.
  • Eminem rap-sings on the bridge:

    "Take your shoes off
    Let your hair down and go berzerk all night long
    Grow your beard out, just weird out and go berzerk all night long."

    The word 'bezerk' is used to describe a person who is acting in a wild rage or in an uncontrolled and irrational manner. It derives from the Old Norse word berserkr meaning "bear shirt" and was used for Germanic warriors who had the reputed habit of wearing a kind of shirt made from the pelt of a bear during battle. According to Old Norse literature these bezerkers were fierce warriors, who fought in a nearly uncontrollable, trance-like fury.
  • The song's music video features cameo appearances from Rick Rubin, all four members of Slaughterhouse, Kendrick Lamar and Slim Shady's fellow Detroit native Kid Rock. The latter jumps in just before the line referencing his hit "Bawitdaba" ("So come get on this Kid's rock, baw-with-da-baw dang-dang") The clip also features old footage of Billy Squier performing "The Stroke."
  • Eminem's teenage home at 19946 Dresden Street in Detroit's Greenbrier neighborhood is featured on the cover of The Marshall Mathers LP and in a more boarded up state on Marshall Mathers LP 2. The property was bought by Eminem's mother, Deborah Mathers, in 1987, with a $3,000 down payment and a $220 monthly cost. The home was demolished shortly after the release of MMLP2 as a result of a fire that broke out on the second floor of the home. The house was owned at the tine by the Michigan Land Bank, a government program that manages empty properties across the state.
  • Eminem was already heading back to old-school Hip-Hop when his manager, Paul Rosenberg, hooked him up with Rick Rubin. "Getting with him was like, 'Holy s--t!'" the rapper told Rolling Stone. "As many genres of music that he is able to f--k with, he's like Yoda. I couldn't do it. You sit me there with a rock group, I don't know the first fu--ing thing about banging on the drums."
  • Eminem rapped this song along with "Survival" on the November 2, 2013 edition of Saturday Night Live. The main talking point from the Detroit MC's performance was his apparent lip-syncing. According to TMZ, "Eminem didn't really try to hide it… pulling the mic away from his mouth several times while his 'vocals' continued at full volume."

    A rep for Slim Shady told E! News that the rapper wasn't lip-syncing, explaining that Em "doubles his vocals live. Rhymes over a vocal track." The rep added: "He only does it sporadically through the songs. They're accent tracks."

    We also saw the somewhat reclusive Rick Rubin play DJ and serve up the Billy Squier sample on his turntables.
  • A fan asked Eminem during a Facebook Q&A session whether he ever stroked Rick Rubin's beard in the studio to get ideas? The rapper replied, "no, we only sampled 'The Stroke.'"
  • The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was Eminem's seventh consecutive #1 album, making him the first American to ever achieve seven back-to-back UK chart-toppers. Only Led Zeppelin and Abba had ever achieved more, the two acts having each clocked up 8 peak position LPs in a row.
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