When Eminem released the tracklist to The Marshall Mathers LP 2, hip-hop fans marveled over provocative song titles like “Rhyme Or Reason” or the bold “Rap God.” But the most eye-popping reveal was the oh-shit collaboration of the year—a song called “Love Game,” which features Kendrick Lamar.
That the two lyrical miracles would collaborate on Em’s eighth solo studio album is fitting given K Dot’s stylistic nods on songs like “Control,” which he closes with a bizarre extended metaphor that could’ve come straight out of Slim Shady’s rhymebook.
“You could listen to my whole album and see that it pays homage in my cadence and my flow,” Kendrick told VIBE in March of Em’s good kid, m.A.A.d. city influence. “But at the same time, it’s still me.”
Dr. Dre’s two hip-hop progenies have been publicly showing their fanship for each other. Kendrick Lamar gets a shoutout in Eminem’s “Berzerk,” as well as a cameo in the video (see screenshot above). And Kendrick does his best Em impression on the manic “Backseat Freestyle.”
“When I have that aggression in the record like that [on ‘Backseat Freestyle’], that’s tricks that I learned being in that studio and dedicating myself; being a student,” Kendrick said. “Eminem was definitely a sought-out player that I always respected and looked up to.”
You won’t have to wait much longer to finally hear the two lyricists go at it on wax; MMLP2 drops Nov. 5. Who do you think will come out on top? —John Kennedy