The Monster (song)

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Not to be confused with The Monster Song.
"The Monster"
Single by Eminem featuring Rihanna
from the album The Marshall Mathers LP 2
Released October 29, 2013 (2013-10-29)
Format
Genre Hip hop
Length 4:10
Label
Writer(s)
Producer(s)
Certification 3x Platinum (RIAA)
Eminem singles chronology
"Rap God"
(2013)
"The Monster"
(2013)
"Headlights"
(2014)
Rihanna singles chronology
"What Now"
(2013)
"The Monster"
(2013)
"Can't Remember to Forget You"
(2014)

"The Monster" is a song by American rapper Eminem, featuring guest vocals from Barbadian singer Rihanna, taken from Eminem's eighth studio album The Marshall Mathers LP 2. The song was written by Marshall Mathers, Jon Bellion and Bebe Rexha, with production handled by Frequency. "The Monster" marks the fourth collaboration between Eminem and Rihanna, following "Love the Way You Lie", its sequel Love The Way You Lie (Part II) (2010), and "Numb" (2012). "The Monster" was released on October 29, 2013, as the fourth single from the album. The song's lyrics present Rihanna coming to grips with her inner demons, while Eminem ponders the negative effects of his fame.

Upon release the song was met with positive reviews from music critics, who compared the song to Eminem's and Rihanna's previous collaboration "Love the Way You Lie". "The Monster" has successfully charted worldwide, topping the charts in twelve countries including Australia, Canada, France, Ireland, New Zealand, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States' Billboard Hot 100. It also marks Eminem's first number one on the US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart and has reached the top ten in Austria, Belgium, Italy and Spain.

The song's accompanying music video depicts Rihanna as Eminem's therapist in a session, as previous videos from his career are referenced.

Background and production[edit]

Bebe Rexha wrote the chorus for "The Monster" which was intended to be used on her own debut album

In 2010, Eminem and Rihanna released their first official collaboration titled "Love the Way You Lie". The song received both critical and commercial success and topped the US Billboard Hot 100 chart for seven consecutive weeks.[2] By the end of the year, 854,000 copies of the song were sold in the UK, making "Love the Way You Lie" the country's biggest-selling song of 2010.[3] The same year, a sequel to the single, titled "Love the Way You Lie (Part II)" was released as part of Rihanna's fifth studio album Loud; it mainly views matters from the female protagonist perspective.[4] In November 2012, Eminem and Rihanna collaborated again on "Numb", which was included on Rihanna's seventh studio album Unapologetic.[5]

In November 2012, singer Bebe Rexha was at Stadium Red studio in Harlem, New York working on a material to be included in her debut studio album. During the sessions Rexha stated that she "was in a really dark place, a dark head space. Figuring out where you are in life and trying to make shit work for yourself—it gets to you. You get super down on yourself. I was just trying to get out of a depressed phase." At that moment, she wrote the hook for "The Monster"; in the moment she wrote it she knew that it was going to be a song performed by Eminem.[6] The singer further stated that she got the inspiration from the quote "about the monsters that are around us and that live inside of us"; additionally, Rexha was disappointed at being dropped from the Island Def Jam record label.[6]

The Senior Director of A&R for Shady Records, Riggs Morales started looking for potential songs to be included on Eminem's eighth studio album. When the producer of "The Monster", Frequency played the song for Morales he "freaked out" and asked for the verses to be stripped and ProTools sessions to be sent to Eminem.[6] When Eminem heard the demo he then added his own verses and adjusted the instrumental of the track, however, he left out the background vocals sung by Rexha. On September 11, 2013, Rihanna wrote on her Twitter account that she had recorded a "#monster" hook for one of her favorite artists.[6] On October 22, Eminem revealed the track listing for his eighth studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, including "The Monster" on which Rihanna was credited as a featured artist.[7] Shortly after premiering the song, Eminem spoke of working with Rihanna again to MTV News: "The perception of the record, what it's saying, I thought it would be a good idea to have her on it because I think people look at us like we're both a little nuts. That's one of the things that I was telling her in making the record: I think that people look at us a little crazy."[8]

Live performances[edit]

Eminem and Rihanna performed the song live at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards.[9]

Critical reception[edit]

A 40-second sample of "The Monster".

Problems playing this file? See media help.

The song was generally received well by critics. Writing for the IBTimes, Tarun Mazumdar reacted positively to it, praising its "memorable lines" and Rihanna's "soulful" vocals and rating it 3.5 out of 5.[10] Amy Sciaretto of PopCrush gave it the same rating and noted that "it’s not nearly as powerful or affective as the previous partnership, but it’s not supposed to be."[11] Allan Raible of ABC News also enjoyed the song, calling it a "a career highlight" and a "personal rhyme about his history."[12] About.com's Bill Lamb had similar thoughts, opining that Eminem's introspection "lends the song engaging power" while also praising Rihanna's vocals.[13] Idolator's Mike Wass noted that while it did not meet the standard of the duo's previous collaboration, the song was still "undeniably catchy and hook-filled enough for top 40 radio success."[14] Keith Murphy of Vibe praised the lyrical content of the song but otherwise found the single lacklustre.[15] Jim Farber of The New York Daily News found it inferior to Eminem's previous single, "Rap God" and too similar to "Love the Way You Lie", but appreciated that "at least Em gets off some good lines in the new song."[16] XXL positioned it at number 19 on their list of the best songs of 2013.[17]

Commercial performance[edit]

With "The Monster" becoming Rihanna's 13th number one on the Billboard Hot 100, she tied Michael Jackson for the fourth most number ones in the chart's history, as well as becoming the fastest solo artist to accumulate thirteen number ones, surpassing Mariah Carey's record.

"The Monster" first entered the Billboard Hot 100 at number three, on November 6, 2013, marking Eminem's third best entry following "Not Afraid" (No. 1, 2010) and "Love the Way You Lie" also featuring Rihanna (No. 2, 2010). This ties "Berzerk", which also debuted at number three on the Hot 100. The entry gave Rihanna her 25th top ten on the chart, equalling Elvis Presley for the eighth-most top tens in the chart's history. This achievement also earned the singer the honor of being the fastest women to accumulate the top ten tally (with eight years and four months since her first single), besting Madonna by three months. Furthermore, the debut marked Rihanna's 45th overall chart entry, tying Mariah Carey for the eighth most chart appearances amongst women.[18] The song concurrently opened at number one on the US Digital Songs chart, with sales of 373,000. The feat marked Eminem's ninth chart topper, giving him the third-most leaders in the tally's history, behind Katy Perry (10), and Rihanna, who increased her total to 13. The track also entered the US Radio Songs chart at number 31, marking Eminem's second-best entry position following "Just Lose It" (No. 17, 2004). In the same issue, "The Monster" debuted atop the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart, marking Eminem's first number one on the chart of his career, and Rihanna's third. Furthermore, the song entered at number one on the US Rap Songs chart, marking the sixth and fourth leaders for Eminem and Rihanna, respectively.[19]

The song topped the Hot 100 in its sixth week on the chart, after previously spending four consecutive weeks at number two. The song's ascent to number one marked Rihanna's 13th US number one, tying her with Michael Jackson for the third most number ones in the chart's 55 year history. Additionally, Rihanna became the fastest solo artist to achieve 13 chart-toppers, surpassing the previous record held by Mariah Carey (seven-years, eight-month and 19 days), with only The Beatles reaching 13 number ones more quickly. The song also rose to number one on the Billboard Radio Songs chart, marking Rihanna's twelfth and Eminem's third number one on the chart. Rihanna also passes Mariah Carey for the most number ones on the Radio Songs chart with the single's number one peak. For Eminem, he ties P. Diddy and Ludacris for the most Hot 100 number ones among rappers, with five each.[20][21] The song has sold over 3,296,164 digital copies in the US as of March 23, 2014.[22] In Canada, the song debuted at number one on the Canadian Hot 100, selling 53,000 downloads, making it Eminem's highest selling debut week in Canada for a single since his song "Berzerk," which sold 50,000 downloads in its debut week.[23] In the United Kingdom, "The Monster" entered at number one on the UK Singles Chart on November 3, 2013 ― for the week ending date November 9, 2013 ― selling 74,674 copies,[24] despite being released on the previous Tuesday, and having a 48 hour disadvantage on the rest of the week’s new singles. The song however, sold 96,059 copies the following week it dropped to number two, selling more copies than it did on the week it reached number one. The song marked Eminem and Rihanna's eighth number one single in that country of their careers respectively. It became Eminem's first single to top the chart as a lead artist since "Like Toy Soldiers" in 2005. Eminem however was featured on Akon's chart topping single "Smack That" in 2006.[25] As for Rihanna, the chart topper placed her with Elvis Presley and The Beatles in the chart's history, as just one of three acts to have scored seven number ones in Britain over seven consecutive years. Around Europe the song was commercially successful, reaching the top of the charts in 8 countries, including The UK and entered the top 10 in every territory it charted in. In Asia and Oceania, the single was a huge hit reaching the top position in many countries, including Australia and Lebanon where it spent 7 weeks at number 1 in "The Official Lebanese Top 20".[26]

Music video[edit]

The music video for "The Monster" was Eminem's third to be directed by the American filmmaker Rich Lee.[27] He filmed Eminem's and Rihanna's parts on November 20, 2013 in Detroit.[28] The video, released on December 16, 2013, features references to other music videos that Eminem has released including "My Name Is", "Lose Yourself", "The Way I Am" and the 2001 Grammy Awards performance of "Stan" with Elton John.[29] The video received a three nominations at the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards in the categories "Best Male Video", "Best Collaboration", "Best Direction".[30]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Ceremony Award Result
2014 Billboard Music Award Top Rap Song Nominated
iHeartRadio Awards Song of The Year Nominated
Best Collaboration Nominated
PopCrush Fan Choice Awards Video of The Year Nominated
World Music Awards World's Best Song Pending
World's Best Music Video Pending
MTV Video Music Awards Best Male Video Pending
Best Collaboration Pending
Best Direction Pending

Cover versions[edit]

The Russian-American guitarist Alex Feather Akimov, released a guitar cover of "The Monster",[31] a recording that was recognized by Billboard.biz (Web Trends).

The Welsh band The Beef Seeds recorded a bluegrass version of "The Monster" on their album Keepin' it Beefy (EP) (released January 27, 2014 on iTunes)

Track listing[edit]

  1. "The Monster" (Explicit) (featuring Rihanna) — 4:10
  2. "The Monster" (Edited) (featuring Rihanna) — 4:10

Charts[edit]

Certifications[edit]

Region Certification Sales/shipments
Australia (ARIA)[86] 5× Platinum 350,000^
Belgium (BEA)[87] Gold 15,000*
Canada (Music Canada)[88] 2× Platinum 160,000^
Denmark (IFPI Denmark)[89] 3× Platinum 90,000^
Italy (FIMI)[90] Platinum 30,000*
Mexico (AMPROFON)[91] Gold 30,000^
New Zealand (RMNZ)[92] 2× Platinum 30,000*
Sweden (GLF)[93] 3× Platinum 120,000x
Switzerland (IFPI Switzerland)[94] Platinum 30,000x
United Kingdom (BPI)[95] Platinum 600,000^
Venezuela (APFV)[96] Platinum 10,000^
United States (RIAA)[97] 3× Platinum 3,263,503^

*sales figures based on certification alone
^shipments figures based on certification alone
xunspecified figures based on certification alone

Release history[edit]

Country Date Format Label(s)
France[98] October 29, 2013 Digital download
Germany[99]
Italy[100]
Spain[101]
United Kingdom[102]
United States[103]
Italy[104] Contemporary hit radio Universal
United Kingdom[105][106] October 30, 2013
  • Aftermath
  • Interscope
  • Shady
October 31, 2013 Urban contemporary radio
United States[107][108][109] November 5, 2013 Contemporary hit radio
Rhythmic contemporary radio
November 11, 2013 Urban contemporary radio
Germany[1] November 18, 2013 CD Single Interscope • Universal

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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External links[edit]