In rap music in 2013, everyone seems to want to be the ‘Savior’. Kanye West proclaimed himself to be a ‘god’ on the blatantly titled “I Am A God”, even foreshadowing beforehand on Yeezus at the end of “Black Skinhead”. A$AP Ferg even titled his debut Trap Lord. Argue the difference between lord and god all you want, but they seem nearly, if not ‘one in the same’. Jay-Z joined the boat as well on Magna Carta…Holy Grail. Why is everyone trying to be God? I’m unsure, but there sure have been plenty of ‘gods’ this year.
P$C’s “I’m a King” comes to mind as a perfect example), but now everyone has those ‘heavenly ambitions’, no matter how blasphemous they end up being. After Kendrick Lamar seemed to be the pre-season no. 1 of ’god-status’ in hip-hop (without saying so necessarily but insinuating such), veteran shock MC Eminem also seems to have an incredibly compelling, if sinful argument on his epic new single “Rap God”. As the new order of rap seems firmly afloat in 2013, Eminem certainly isn’t out to have his vibe or contributions to the game killed. For those lame-o’s that needed a reminder and for the generation that didn’t grow up with Marshall Mathers, well he’s back in a big way. Let’s analyze Eminem’s, um, gospel… And by the way, I’mma try to keep this as classy as possible, really.
A couple of years ago, it was fine to be merely a ‘king’ (
Analyzing the Intro & Hook(s) Intro
Maybe Drake says it best on “Started On The Bottom”: “I done kept it real from the jump…” Eminem does just that as the intro foreshadows both the mood and the duration of “Rap God”:
“Something’s wrong, I can feel it (Six minutes, Slim Shady, you’re on)…” So what exactly is wrong? If you read into it as I do, I believe Eminem is suggesting there is quite a talent gap in hip-hop today and that after his six-minute masterpiece, the game-changing MC will once more restore the order or at least redirect the newbies onto the path of righteousness… err good rapping, LOL. Another interpretation of the end-portion “Six minutes, Slim Shady, you’re on…” is that during the six-plus minute duration of “Rap God” Eminem is truly on fire. Cocky and confident, but true. His relevance to the game is also confirmed by lyric “…you were just what the doctor ordered…”
The hook(s) for “Rap God” are pretty much the same, but the end of each hook relates to the proceeding verse, which could certainly be considered ‘higher level thinking’ in rap music these days. I’ll admit, as a musician and songwriter myself, I could stand to make the form more ‘unifying’ as Eminem does on each of the hooks here. The familiar portion of all three is as follows:
”I’m beginning to feel like a Rap God, Rap God / all my people from the front to the back nod, back nod…”
The end of the first hook is where the segue comes in with the first verse in mind: “…Now who thinks their arms are long enough to slapbox, slapbox / they said I rap like a robot, so call me Rapbot”. Can you guess what Eminem raps about at the beginning of his first verse? Yes, his fast paced, ‘intelligent’ rhymes. Proceding the first verse, the second hook is identical to the first except the final line states “Let me show you maintaing this sh*t ain’t that hard, that hard”.
The final hook is the most drastically different and should be (the third verse deserves such). It is as follows after the familiar portion: “…The way I’m racing around the track, call me Nascar, Nascar / Dale Earnhardt of the trailer park, the White Trash God / Kneel before General Zod this planet’s Krypton, no Asgard, Asgard.” Only Marshall Mathers could make comic books sound cool and gangsta in rap. Yep.
Analyzing the Verses Verse 1
Verse 1 is definitely filled with Eminem-isms. Segueing from the hook, Eminem is truly himself as he raps “But for me to rap like a computer must be in my genes / I got a laptop in my back pocket / my pen’ll go off when I half-cock it / got a fat knot from that rap profit.” Just those few lines alone are filled with multiple meanings. Essentially, the MC plays up the speed and agility of his midwest rhymes, the unthinkable wealth he has earned over his illustrious career, makes the obligatory inappropriate sexual reference while also arguably making a violent gun reference as well. Remember that Drake line I mentioned earlier? Eminem starts on fire.
He doesn’t stop there. He’s “made a living and a killing off it / ever since Bill Clinton was still in office / with Monica Lewinsky feeling on his nut-sack / I’m an MC still as honest / but as rude and as indecent as all hell…” True to form, Eminem takes the line too far, but it is just further confirmation of his musical contributions. He goes sort of oxymoronic when he spits “You don’t really wanna get into a pissing match with this rappity rap / packing a Mac in the back of the Ac, backpack rap crap, yep, yep yakety yak…” because he’s stating you should take him seriously, yet what he’s rhyming about is pretty dumb. Seriously though, he’s alluding to his incredible skills, hence why he is a ‘god’.
What better way to confirm his status than to go back to his most controversial days in the game? “I attempt these lyrical acrobat stunts while I’m practicing that / I’ll still be able to break a motherf**in’ table / over the back of a couple of faggots and crack it in half?” Yep, he purposely when there with the ‘f-word’ and not the ‘f-bomb’. He follows it up with “How could I know blow…” (ha ‘blow’) “…All I do is drop f-bombs, feel my wrath of attack / Rappers are having a rough time period, here’s a Maxipad / It’s actually disastrously bad for the wack / while I’m masterfully constructing this masterpiece as…” So apparently, he is calling ‘sucky’ rappers the ‘f-word’ because they are destroying the game. Also, it seems his reference to ‘f-bombs’ is not merely his own love for obscenity, but he is also suggesting that a number of rappers think that the word makes them exceptional MCs.