For rap fans, a mere week can feel like an entire lifetime. Especially where diss tracks are concerned, and anything longer than a twenty-hour response time is considered procrastination. Naturally, all grievances are set aside when the response comes, as Eminem‘s “KILLSHOT” has proven. Fans are already proclaiming Machine Gun Kelly “dead,” or at the very least, his career. True, it may be too early to tell, but the excitement of yet another surprise Eminem drop has listeners dutifully marching into Shady’s corner.
As this is Eminem, “KILLSHOT” is lyrically dense, with plenty of material to unpack. As such, here are some of the hardest bars; rest assured, they are numerous. For those wondering why these two are even tussling to begin with, be sure to familiarize yourself with the saga with “A Complete History.” And now, the bars.
Few artists have built up such rich lore, and Eminem’s Stan has become a pop culture fixture. Em proceeds to poke fun at MGK’s previous admiration, all while questioning his barista-friendly hair:
Realized I forgot to call you back
Here’s that autograph for your daughter, I wrote it on a Starter cap
Stan, Stan, son, listen, man, dad isn’t mad
But how you gonna name yourself after a damn gun and have a man bun?
Hardly a scathing personal attack, but Em’s bow-and-arrow wordplay is a testament to the man’s clever appreciation for wordplay and/or medieval weaponry:
Ho, chill, actin’ like you put the chrome barrel to my bone marrow
Gun, I bet you ain’t a bow and arrow
Say you’ll run up on me like a phone bill, sprayin’ lead
Playin’ dead, that’s the only time you hold still
For some context, in 2002 Eminem was coming off of The Slim Shady LP, The Marshall Mathers LP, D12’s Night, and a starring turn in 8 Mile. Many fans and hip-hop historians view 2002-2003 the height of Eminem’s commercial stardom.
Luxury, oh, you broke, bitch?
Yeah, I had enough money in ’02
To burn it in front of you, ho
Younger me? No, you’re the whack me
It’s funny, but so true
I’d rather be 80 year old me than 20 year old you
When Eminem dropped Kamikaze, many were stunned to realize that he was, in fact, in tune with ongoing hip-hop news, down the minutia. Case in point, an unexpected reference to the notorious Lil Tay, in which he likens MGK to the belligerent, yet misunderstood child. He also issues the first of two warning shots to Diddy:
Got more fans than you in your own city, lil‘ kiddy
Go play, feel like I’m babysitting Lil Tay
Got the Diddy okay so you spent your whole day
Shootin’ a video just to fuckin’ dig your own grave
Em takes a moment to flaunt his own curriculum vitae, reminding MGK that there are still plenty of listeners who consider Em top 5. Even his haters reluctantly understand Em’s impact on the game. While “Rap Devil” was impressive to be sure, Em warns Kelly that should he pursue the path any further, he’ll find himself calling Benzino and Ja Rule for features. In case you forgot, Ja Rule was the last rapper to mention Hailey on wax, during the infamous “Loose Change”:
You ain’t never made a list next to no Biggie, no Jay
Next to Taylor Swift, and that Iggy ho, you about to really blow
Kelly, they’ll be putting your name
Next to Ja, next to Benzino, die, motherfucker
Like the last motherfucker sayin’ Hailey in vain
As Em said on “The Ringer,” “you mention me, millions of views, attention in news, I mention you, lose-lose for me, win-win for you.” Case in point, “Rap Devil” was one of HNHH’s most viewed songs in 2018. MGK might want to send Eminem a bottle of champagne for that one:
It’s your moment, this is it
As big as you’re gonna get, so enjoy it
Had to give you a career to destroy it
Though MGK is not exactly a mumble rapper, Em’s battle-rap origins are revealed as he deftly flips MGK’s “Kim” punchline. Bonus points for the clever “Shady” and “shadow” wordplay.
Had enough of this tatted-up mumble rapper
How the fuck can him and I battle?
He’ll have to fuck Kim in my flannel
I’ll give him my sandals
‘Cause he knows long as I’m Shady, he’s gon’ have to live in my shadow
While Machine Gun took a moment to pound the chest over a reported tryst with Halsey, Em suggests that Kelly might have caught feelings in the interim. If true, such a love story was destined for a tragic ending; Young Gerald has once again slicked back his hair and rekindled with his old flame:
Exhausting, letting off on my offspring
Like a gun barrel, bitch, get off me
You dance around it like a sombrero, we can all see
You’re fuckin salty ’cause young Gerald’s balls-deep inside of Halsey
While MGK took the brunt of the lyrical trouncing, Em reserved some mild smoke for Kelly’s boss Diddy, despite professing to love the legendary mogul. Still, a warning shot is a warning shot, and Em is not about to let Diddy escape with shiny-suit intact:
Killshot, I will not fail, I’m with the Doc still
But this idiot’s boss pops pills and tells him he’s got skills
But Kells, the day you put out a hit’s the day Diddy admits
That he put the hit out that got Pac killed, ah!