|Single by Eminem|
|from the album The Marshall Mathers LP 2|
|Released||October 15, 2013|
|Recorded||2012, at Effigy Studios, Ferndale, Michigan|
|Label||Shady, Aftermath, Interscope|
|Producer(s)||DVLP, Filthy (co.)|
|Eminem singles chronology|
"Rap God" is a song by American rapper Eminem. The song premiered via YouTube, on October 14, 2013 and was released in the US on October 15, as the third single from Eminem's eighth studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013). It contains references to previous conflicts in Eminem's career, as well as to other rappers' conduct. The song received positive reviews, with critics praising Eminem's lyrical ability and rapping speed.
The song references a line from the first Marshall Mathers LP, on the song "I'm Back", where he talks about the Columbine High School massacre, rapping "Seven kids from Columbine; Put 'em all in a line, add an AK-47, a revolver, a nine." The verse was censored when originally released, and is included in "Rap God" to test public reaction. Eminem references the Lewinsky scandal in order to demonstrate his longevity as a dominant force in the rap industry, thus establishing himself as an "immortal god".
Additional references include a conflict between Fabolous and Ray J, Heavy D & the Boyz, planking, The Walking Dead, J. J. Fad's 1988 song "Supersonic", Tupac Shakur, Pharaohe Monch, Rakim, N.W.A, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, Ice Cube, MC Ren, Lakim Shabazz and the 2007 Hotstylz song "Lookin Boy".
Eminem raps 97 words in 15 seconds - an average of 6.5 words per second - which he describes as "supersonic speed" (7-22).
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Uh, sama lamaa duma lamaa you assuming I'm a human
What I gotta do to get it through to you I'm superhuman
Innovative and I'm made of rubber
So that anything you say is ricocheting off of me and it'll glue to you
I'm devastating, more than ever demonstrating
How to give a motherfuckin' audience a feeling like it's levitating
Never fading, and I know the haters are forever waiting
For the day that they can say I fell off, they'd be celebrating
Cause I know the way to get 'em motivated
I make elevating music, you make elevator music...—Eminem, "Rap God"
The song's production was handled by American hip hop producer Bigram Zayas, professionally known as Develop or DVLP; he has produced songs for rappers such as The Diplomats, Rick Ross and most notably Lil Wayne. The song was co-produced with Matthew "Filthy" Delgiorno. The song's recording session took place at Effigy Studios in Michigan, with brothers Mike and Joe Strange working with Eminem on mixing and engineering the record. Joe Strange also contributed additional keyboarding and programming. On October 14, 2013, DVLP tweeted that the beat was two years old, made in November 2011, and that Eminem recorded the song in 2012.
On November 21, 2013, Eminem tweeted the trailer for the music video and announced it would be released on November 27, 2013. On November 27, 2013 as scheduled, the music video was released on Vevo at 12:00pm ET. Eminem parodied Max Headroom in the music video. There are also references to The Matrix, The Walking Dead, Hellraiser and the video games Pong and Portal in the video. The video received a three nomination at MTV Video Music Awards 2014 in the category "Best Art Direction", "Best Editing", "Best Visual Effects".
"Rap God" was met with generally positive reviews from music critics. Critics praised the song's lyrical content and rapping speed. Per Lijas of Time gave the song a positive review, stating that "the world can expect an immortal recording" based on "Rap God" and the album's lead single, "Berzerk". Jim Farber of the Daily News compared the song to The Marshall Mathers LP, stating that the song "revives the super-sick humor of that era, which comes as a relief after all the internalizations and ruminating of Em’s more recent work". Kory Grow of Rolling Stone also gave the song a positive review, praising that instead of "giving his chorus to an R&B crooner like Rihanna or the New Royales' Liz Rodrigues", "he instead delivers a straight rap refrain about feeling like a rap deity. His verses recall hip-hop history ... as much as his own history". Nick Hill of Contact Music praised the song's rhyming and lyrical content. He exclaimed that the verse beginning at 4:20 best displays Eminem's rapping abilities.
Conversely, Consequence of Sound stated that, although the flow of the verses are impressive, the lyricism "falls victim to dated references [...] and the tired technique of using other rapper’s monikers to complete rhymes." They also noted that beat is "pedestrian at best", and that altogether the song "[lacks] the commercial appeal" of "Berzerk".
Complex ranked the song number 14 on their list of the 50 best songs of 2013. They commented saying, ""Rap God" is another entry in the "Oh My God, This Guy Raps Better Than Anyone On The Planet" category. Eminem has been adding chapters in that book for over a decade now, so it's easy to sit back with your arms crossed and look unimpressed." Rolling Stone positioned the song at number 15 on their list of the 100 best songs of 2013.They elaborated saying, "Eminem rolls out a six-minute argument for his immortal hip-hop genius, and it's pretty convincing. [...] For pure word-scrambling, syllable-stringing pyrotechnics, no one can touch him." Complex also named Eminem's third verse the third best rap verse of 2013. They said, "Within the seemingly never-ending verbal waterfall, Em touches on just about anything he could, should or would: his underground origins, the criticisms of his lyrics, the positive power his words have had for so many, and pop culture references. It's all done with impeccable technical tact, including a brief section of triple time mayhem. In other words, this verse captures exactly why the man's become a Rap God."
The song debuted at number five on the UK Singles Chart and at number one on the UK R&B Chart, despite its late release. It replaced "Berzerk", his first single from the album at that position. In the United States, it debuted at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. When the R&B component is removed is debuted at number one on the Rap Songs chart. It also debuted at number one on the Digital Songs chart, with over 270,000 downloads sold. "Rap God" was Eminem's seventh top 10 start on the Hot 100, pushing him past Lil Wayne (six) for the most among men in the chart's 55-year history. The week ending March 5, 2014, the song reached over 1,000,000 digital sale downloads.
Awards and nominations
|2014||World Music Awards||World's Best Song||Nominated|
|MTV Video Music Awards||Best Art Direction||Pending|
|Best Visual Effects||Pending|
|Canada (Music Canada)||Platinum||80,000^|
|Denmark (IFPI Denmark)||Gold||15,000^|
*sales figures based on certification alone
|United States||October 15, 2013||Digital download||Shady, Aftermath, Interscope|
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