"Crack a Bottle" initially gained attention in December 2008, when an unfinished version of the song was initially leaked under the name "Number One" on the mixtape4th Quarter Pressure Part 2, while a final working version was leaked on January 6, 2009. Various media outlets had reported that the recording was to be the first single from Eminem's 2009 album Relapse, however the Italian branch of Universal Music Group, owner of Interscope Records, later denied this, stating that "Crack a Bottle" was only a promotional recording. Despite all this, the song was released on February 2, 2009, and made available for paid digital download, with 50 Cent stating that the song will be included on his upcoming album Before I Self Destruct. According to Danielle Harling of HipHopDX—a website dedicated to hip hop music coverage—the song will ultimately be present on both Relapse and Before I Self Destruct, while in contrast, Daniel Kreps of Rolling Stone stated that it is still unsure which rapper will feature this song on his upcoming album. Despite the confusion, Universal eventually announced that "Crack a Bottle" will be included in Relapse, although it does not consider it the album's first single. The song samples "Mais dans la lumière" by Mike Brant, written by Jean Renard, who also received songwriting credits for the song. The same sample is used in the song Preservation by Aesop Rock and Del tha Funkee Homosapien, found on Wu-Tang Clan's 2005 album Wu-Tang Meets the Indie Culture. The song is in the key of C-sharp minor. American rapper Jay Rock released a remix to the song. Rappers Cashis and Bobby Creekwater were featured in the official remix of "Crack a Bottle". Rick Ross also released a remix as a diss to G-Unit.
During an interview for MTV, 50 Cent originally told that there were plans to make an animated music video for "Crack a Bottle", which was to be shot along a side of cocaine with a music video for 50 cent's song "I Get It In". On February 25, Eminem's manager Paul Rosenberg posted on his blog a still frame from the music video illustrating a homeless person holding a bottle wrapped in a brown bag. According to Rosenberg, it is directed by Syndrome and was planned to be released within a couple of weeks. The music video was playing on TV in Eminem's music video "3 a.m.", which has been directed by Syndrome as well. On May 7, 2009, an unfinished version of the video was released via TheRelapse.com, featuring Eminem's verse and chorus. Later during the same day, 50 Cent's rapped verse of the video was released via ThisIs50.com as well. This was added to the unfinished video on therelapse.com. A month later, on June 7, 2009, Cashis posted a link on Twitter to the full video in which he makes a cameo appearance. The music video portrays each rappers' style. Eminem's chaotic, Dr. Dre's west coast style, 50 Cent's more club oriented. None of the performers are featured in the video.
Since its release, "Crack a Bottle" has charted mainly in the United States, entering various charts including the Billboard Hot 100 and Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs. The song peaked in the top ten on the Hot Rap Tracks, reaching number four. After spending three consecutive weeks at number seventy-eight on the Hot 100, on Billboard's edition of February 21, 2009, "Crack a Bottle" reached the number one position on the Hot 100 due to sales of 418,000 downloads, becoming the fourth-biggest jump to the top of the Hot 100 in the chart's history. "Crack a Bottle" is Eminem's second song to reach the top of the charts, and the first since 2002. With this song, Dr. Dre reached the top of the Hot 100 for a third time, while this is 50 Cent's fourth. The song has also entered in various European national charts, including the Irish Singles Chart and UK Singles Chart, and also debuted at number one on the Canadian Hot 100.