Greatest

Album: Kamikaze (2018)
Charted: 23

Songfacts®:

  • This track finds an energized Eminem demonstrating his hip-hop skills as he speed raps a heavy multi-syllable rhyme scheme with stellar wordplay. He uses a fast Mike WiLL Made-It produced beat to explain why he's been top of the game for two decades.

    Float like a butterfly, I'm gonna sting like a bee
    You ain't harmin' a thing
    I get a day hard as I'm gonna swing
    I'm gonna need to put my arm in a sling
    But like a wedding band
    You gotta be diamond to even climb in the ring
    An anomaly, I'm Muhammad Ali
    'Cause I know one day I'm gonna be the Greatest in the world


    Eminem is explaining that that he's still the number hip-hop artist by comparing himself to boxer Muhammad Ali who was nicknamed "The Greatest." The Detroit MC is a big fan of the former heavyweight champion, declaring in a Facebook Q&A that Ali is the person from history he admires the most as he "wasn't afraid of any challenge."
  • Eminem deploys a sing-song hook which interpolates Playboi Carti's 2017 single "Wokeuplikethis." However Em changes "ni--as" to "honkies" which is African American slang term for a white person.
  • Eminem's previous album Revival met with a mostly negative reaction from fans and critics. Calling out on the hate the record received is a trend that runs through much of Kamikaze. On "Greatest" he references his rappers pals Denaun (Mr. Porter) and Royce da 5'9" telling him that he shouldn't take the criticism personally.

    Revival didn't go viral!
    Denaun and Royce tell me that I should take the high road


    Here, Eminem interpolates a vocal hook from Kendrick Lamar's hit single "HUMBLE." His flow in these two lines matches the Compton rapper's lines below:

    My left stroke just went viral
    Right stroke put lil' baby in a spiral


    The interpolation may be a reproach by Eminem for the critical praise heaped on Lamar, who many believe to be the greatest hip hop artist. However the Detroit rapper has made his reverence for the Compton MC's rap talent known and on "The Ringer" he expresses his admiration when he spits:

    If you ain't Kendrick or Cole, or Sean, then you're a goner
  • The South African group Die Antwoord is referenced during "Greatest" because they expressed their dislike in the way Eminem mispronounced their group name in his earlier track "Untouchable."

    I know there's people that are pissed about the way I misprounouced a name
    "DIE ANTWOORD!"
    F--k! I still can't say the s--t


    The words "Die Antwoord" are written in Afrikaans, while Eminem pronounced them in his American-accented English.

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