Love Game
by Eminem (featuring Kendrick Lamar)

Album: The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013)
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Songfacts®:

  • This song finds Eminem and Kendrick Lamar spitting verses about ex-girlfriends that they can't shake. Whilst Shady raps about a former fiancée who cheated on him, Lamar talks about the young seductress Sherane, whom he previously rhymed about on the Good Kid, M.A.A.D City tracks, "Sherane a.k.a Master Splinter's Daughter" and "Poetic Justice."
  • Kendrick Lamar told MTV News that his collaboration with Eminem was unexpected. "I just went to Detroit," he said. "I had a show out there and I got a call saying, 'Come to the studio, fast.' So we did it."
  • The song is built out of samples from Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders' 1965 hit tune "Game Of Love."
  • Speaking during a Q&A session mediated by MTV News' Sway Calloway, Eminem revealed that this Kendrick Lamar hook up almost didn't happen. "I was writing so much and I made so many songs for this record ... I went in the zone probably for, man, a year, year and a half," he said about the intense writing sessions.

    It was only after after hearing and enjoying Lamar's good kid, m.A.A.d city and realizing that he didn't have any other hip-hop voices on the record, that Slim enlisted the Compton spitter. "By the time I got to a place where I thought we were close to being finished, I was like s---, I have no features, like rappers on here. And the one name that popped up was Kendrick."

    "I had just met him at Coachella and then I got a chance to chop it up with him in Detroit and he's a really cool dude - super humble and super cool," Eminem added. "I like him as a person and the fact that he's on Aftermath, the same label, it just made sense. So he came in and I'm super grateful that he did it, and he killed it."
  • Eminem told MTV News that before he recorded with Lamar, he explained to him that The Marshall Mathers LP 2 was very rap heavy, and could use a bit of a twist. "I laid a couple of ideas down and [told him], 'This one I'm geared towards more, just because the other verses I have are kinda rappity-rap and I've got so much of that on my album,'" he said. "I feel like this one might be a better direction to go, just conceptually."'

    "When Rick [Rubin] sent me that beat, it was so different to me, I didn't think people would really expect us on a record like this and expect him to be on a record that sounds like that," Em added. "It's got a unique sound to it, so he liked the concept and we decided to go with that as opposed to what people might expect."
  • Eminem recalled the collaboration with Lamar to Rolling Stone: "He came to Detroit, we kicked it for a few minutes, you know, and I felt the vibe of what he's like and everything, and you know, he's a super cool and super humble dude. When we did that record, I think that was actually a week or two before he did the verse to 'Control.'"
  • This was one of four TMMLP2 tracks produced by Rick Rubin. The legendary soundscaper also served as executive producer on the project. Speaking with BBC Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, Eminem talked about working with Rubin. "I had my reservations just because I'm a super fan of Rick," he said. "So I'd probably be a little nervous. I don't know what the vibe would be just because I would be wanting to impress him. It was very much kind of like the feeling that I got early on with Dre."
  • Unlike most high-profile collaborations, this one was actually recorded face-to-face. "Kendrick came to the studio in Detroit, I laid a verse and played it for him. I had other things to play him, but what I explained to him was 'I had an idea for a hook, but I'm doing a lot of hooks on my record, it might be interesting to have you do a hook,' because he's great at melody, too," Eminem explained to Zane Lowe. "I think he laid, like, two different hooks, and I'm not sure if, to this day, he understood that I always wanted him to rap on it, because he laid two hooks and kind of looked like 'Is that it?'"

    "The only other rapper on the album won't rap," Em continued. "So I was like 'Yo, you want to lay a verse?' and he looked surprised. It was getting late, I ended up going home, he laid something ... it took me a couple of days to get back to the studio to listen to what he did, it took me a minute for me to get back to him. I told him he killed it. ... The feel of that record is so different from what people would expect us to do."
  • Eminem thought Kendrick Lamar might have a ghostwriter, so to test him out he kicked everyone else out of the studio and made the Compton MC write a verse on the spot, Lamar recalled during a radio interview.

    "He brought me out to Detroit. I had a show, and he brought me to the studio to do a hook... I go in, do the hook, and he's like, 'I like the hook.' Then I'm like, 'Alright, cool, I'm finna dip,' then he says 'Think you could do a verse?'

    The thing with Em which was crazy to me is he kicks everybody out of the studio... I took it as him kicking everybody out to see if it's really you writing those raps that you're writing."

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