There are a few songs in the modern history of music that have defined an artist, their career, and their legacy. Eminem’s “Rap God” single had that effect on him. In this article, we dig deep into the making of the infamous “Rap God” single and the legacy it built.
“Rap God” was released as a single off of Em’s 8th studio album ‘The Marshall Mathers LP 2’ released in October 2013. The album also contained some heavy hits such as “Survival,” “Legacy,” “Berzerk,” “The Monster” featuring Rihanna, “Headlights” featuring Nate Ruess, and many more. The album is acclaimed as one of the best works of Eminem and won the ‘Best Rap Album‘ award at the Grammy Awards in 2015.
“Rap God” itself stands on its own as one spectacle of Eminem’s career. The song literally built up the title of ‘rap god’ for Eminem for displaying his lyrical, technical and vocal prowess in the song. This single entered the Guinness World Records for a hit single with the most number of words–1,560 words. The song also broke into the top 10 charts around the world and managed to reach #2 on US Billboard Hot 100 and #1 on UK R&B charts. This hit was also commercially successful with an estimated sale of over 5 million copies sold worldwide.
Eminem talked about what this song means to him in the interpretation of a lyric on Genius;
“The hook was the first phrase I thought of when I heard the track. I thought “Okay, this has something to it and might be catchy but — I’m a “rap god”? Why? If I’m going to say that, I need to validate that.”
I don’t want to say it’s the crutch, exactly, but the theme of the whole song is: this is the only thing I know how to do. I don’t know how to do anything else, aside from play a little bit of basketball. Except if the Lions called me. I’m down to be receiver or something, or a running back. I’d be good for that.”
Watch “Rap God” Music Video by Eminem
In “Rap God,” Marshall Mathers openly raps about a few feuds he had in the industry and some feuds other artists had in the industry. Em also name drops several of his rivals in the industry and some legends whom he considers in idol status.
Lyrics Review and Song Meaning of “Rap God”
Eminem gears up to deliver 6 minutes of pure firepower in these lyrics. The intro unfolds as a narrative of how Eminem will show no mercy to the subjects of this song.
This is one of the three variations of the chorus on “Rap God.” This first chorus talks about how Eminem is starting to feel like a god status in rap music. And as he spoke in the above interpretation, the song itself is his proof for the ‘rap god’ status. And this new skill set may categorize him above humans-god and robots. ‘Bots’ are programs designed to perform monotonous tasks extremely efficiently and fast. So, it is no wonder that Em’s skill set sets him apart from the rest of the human rappers.
Eminem starts off the first verse as a continuation from the first chorus of the song. He explains how he is able to achieve such amazing rapping skills–it must be in his genes. And it has paid off well. Em talks about ‘fat knots’ he has earned from Rap. ‘Fat knot’ in slang is a thick roll of dollar bills.
Eminem references the Bill Clinton ex-president of the United States and White House intern Monica Lewinsky sex scandal which gained much press after it was uncovered in 1998. Eminem had been dropping albums since 1996–his debut studio album ‘Infinite.’
Next, Em goes on to address the allegation of him dropping nonsensical words. Well, he claps back at them by using “yackity-yack” words. He also cynically agrees with his haters who claim that Eminem only drops ‘f bombs’ in his songs to become famous.
In the second version of the chorus of “Rap God,” Eminem adds two extra lines and replaces one line to say that all the other rappers in the industry want to be like him-immortal. Eminem has been active in music from as back as 1992 and is still considered one of the greatest rappers of all time. This would be the definition of ‘immortality’ in music.
In this second verse, Eminem shouts out to some legendary names in Hip-hop and Rap music. Em says that he is a product of legendary rappers such as Rakim, Lakim Shabazz, 2Pac, N.W.A, and N.W.A members Eazy E, Ice Cube,
Next, Eminem mocks at his own legacy as per the popular mockery against him from the public. Em says that he will not be inducted to any Hall of Fame as Run D.M.C. did. He builds up on it by saying that his only legacy will be his alcoholism. Eminem did endure a staggering amount of drug intake during 2002 to 2007 when at last he was admitted to a hospital for drug abuse. However, in 2018 Eminem announced that he has been 10 years drug-free.
The latter part of the lyrics of the second verse sparked much controversy. For one, a serious slapback regarding the use of “gay” in several instances. For this, Eminem received a lot of hate relating to homophobia. In another instance, these lines follow the same theme as Hotstylz’s song “Lookin’ Boy.” Hotstylz sued Eminem over these lines, but lost the case.
Eminem mixes in some comic book references in the extra lines of the third chorus of “Rap God.” On Genius, Eminem explained that he has always been fascinated by comic books. “Spiderman, Hulk, old Batmans, Supermans — mostly vintage Marvel sh*t from before I was born.”
In these extended lyrics by Eminem, he talks about his ways of obliterating the competition. This verse also contains the infamous “supersonic speed” lines by Em.
The “supersonic speed” section contains 101 words spit out in 16.45 seconds. This is a staggering 6.14 words per SECOND! On the other hand, these sped-up lines make sense as well, unlike mumble rap.
This verse also addresses the infamous Ray J and Fabolous. The story goes as Fabolous had talked smack about Ray J during a party at Floyd Mayweather’s residence and this clip aired on HBO. Ray J, furious, called The Breakfast Club, next day and dissed Fabolous calling him a “punk f*ggot.”
Eminem also brags about this new genre of rap he found by fusing hip-hop, pop, rock, and shock rap. Shock rap is a genre of rap where intense scenarios are used with intense words to get a message out.
Marshall shouts out to his infamous “Lose Yourself” track in these lyrics. He knows that Stans lose their heads over this song even today.
Eminem does not hold back on admitting the shots thrown at him throughout the years; “school flunky, pill junkie.” Eminem dropped out of college and we already know he had a drug problem. But where is Eminem today and where are you? And Em says he is still hungry for it all. He will still go at the throats.
There ends our summarized annotation of the lyrics to “Rap God” by Eminem. If you liked our analysis, share this article with your friends.
Make sure to drop a comment about the song and Eminem in the comments below. What is your favorite bit from this hit single?
Check out the complete lyrics and further meaning breakdown on Genius.