"Rap God" is a song by American rapper Eminem. The song premiered via YouTube on October 14, 2013, and was released in the United States on October 15, 2013, as the third single from Eminem's eighth studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2 (2013). +more It contains references to previous conflicts in Eminem's career, as well as to other rappers' conduct.

The song entered the Guinness World Records as the hit single that contains the most words; it has 1,560 words. The song was also nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Rap Performance, but lost to Kendrick Lamar's "i".

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Composition

The hip hop song references a line from the first Marshall Mathers LP, on the song "I'm Back", where he talks about the Columbine High School massacre, rapping "Seven kids from Columbine; Put 'em all in a line, add an AK-47, a revolver, and a nine. " The verse was censored when originally released, and is included in "Rap God" to test public reaction. +more Eminem references the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal in order to demonstrate his longevity as a dominant force in the rap industry, thus establishing himself as an "immortal god".

The song's tempo is 148 BPM.

Additional references include a conflict between Fabolous and Ray J, Heavy D & the Boyz, planking, The Walking Dead, +more_Fad'>J. J. Fad's 1988 song "Supersonic", Tupac Shakur, Run-DMC, Pharaohe Monch, Rakim, N. W. A, Eazy-E, Dr. Dre, DJ Yella, Ice Cube, MC Ren, Busta Rhymes, Lakim Shabazz and the 2008 Hotstylz song "Lookin Boy".

In the verse that begins at 4:26, Eminem raps 97 words in 15 seconds-an average of 6.5 words per second-which he describes as "supersonic speed":

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The song's production was handled by American hip hop producer Bigram Zayas, professionally known as Develop or DVLP; he has produced songs for rappers such as the Diplomats, Rick Ross and most notably Lil Wayne. The song was co-produced with Matthew "Filthy" Delgiorno. +more The song's recording session took place at Effigy Studios in Michigan, with brothers Mike and Joe Strange working with Eminem on mixing and engineering the song. Joe Strange also contributed additional keyboarding and programming. On October 14, 2013, DVLP tweeted that the beat was two years old, made in November 2011, and that Eminem recorded the song in 2012. The song entered the 2015 edition of the Guinness Book of World Records in which Eminem is commended for the most words in a hit single, "Rap God", totalling 1,560 words in 6 minutes, 3 seconds.

In the second verse of the song, Eminem raps about his success allowing him to speak at the induction of Run DMC into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and says ". +morethe only hall of fame I'll be inducted in is the alcohol of fame, on the wall of shame. " In 2022, he was named as a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 2022 induction class.

Music video

On November 21, 2013, Eminem tweeted the trailer for the music video, directed by Rich Lee, and announced it would be released on November 27, 2013. On November 27, 2013, as scheduled, the music video was released on Vevo at 12:00pm ET. +more Eminem parodied Max Headroom in the music video. There are also references to The Matrix, The Walking Dead, Hellraiser and the video games Pong, Portal and Super Mario Bros. in the video. The video received three nominations at MTV Video Music Awards 2014 in the categories "Best Art Direction", "Best Editing", "Best Visual Effects". On February 15, 2020, the video reached 1 billion views, making it his third video to reach this milestone. The official video also has received over 16 million likes, making it the 25th most liked video on the site.

Critical reception

Consequence of Sound stated that the song is "anything but godly", the lyricism "falls victim to dated references [. +more] and the tired technique of using other rappers' monikers to complete rhymes. " They also noted that the beat is "pedestrian at best", and that altogether the song "[lacks] the commercial appeal" of "Berzerk". Lijas of Time gave the song a positive review, stating that "the world can expect an immortal recording" based on "Rap God" and the album's lead single, "Berzerk". Jim Farber of the Daily News compared the song to The Marshall Mathers LP, stating that the song "revives the super-sick humor of that era, which comes as a relief after all the internalizations and ruminating of Em’s more recent work". Kory Grow of Rolling Stone also gave the song a positive review, praising that instead of "giving his chorus to an R&B crooner like Rihanna or the New Royales' Liz Rodrigues", "he instead delivers a straight rap refrain about feeling like a rap deity. His verses recall hip-hop history . as much as his own history". Nick Hill of Contact Music praised the song's rhyming and lyrical content. He exclaimed that the verse beginning at 4:20 best displays Eminem's rapping abilities.

Complex ranked the song number 14 on their list of the 50 best songs of 2013. They commented saying, "'Rap God' is another entry in the "Oh My God, This Guy Raps Better Than Anyone On The Planet" category. +more Eminem has been adding chapters in that book for over a decade now, so it's easy to sit back with your arms crossed and look unimpressed. " Rolling Stone positioned the song at number 15 on their list of the 100 best songs of 2013. They elaborated saying, "Eminem rolls out a six-minute argument for his immortal hip-hop genius, and it's pretty convincing. [. ] For pure word-scrambling, syllable-stringing pyrotechnics, no one can touch him. " Complex also named Eminem's third verse the third-best rap verse of 2013. They said, "Within the seemingly never-ending verbal waterfall, Em touches on just about anything he could, should or would: his underground origins, the criticisms of his lyrics, the positive power his words have had for so many, and pop culture references. It's all done with impeccable technical tact, including a brief section of triple time mayhem. In other words, this verse captures exactly why the man's become a Rap God. ".

Commercial performance

The song debuted at number five on the UK Singles Chart and at number one on the UK R&B Chart, despite its late release. It replaced "Berzerk", his first single from the album at that position. +more In the United States, it debuted at number seven on the Billboard Hot 100 and number two on the Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs chart. With the R&B component removed it debuted at number one on the Rap Songs chart. It also debuted at number one on the Digital Songs chart, with over 270,000 downloads sold. "Rap God" was Eminem's seventh top 10 start on the Hot 100, pushing him past Lil Wayne (six) for the most among men in the chart's 55-year history. Since its release, the song has been certified 3× Platinum by the RIAA. and has sold 1,896,000 copies in United States as of September 2017.

Controversy

The lyrics of "Rap God" were criticized as homophobic, due to lyrics such as "you fags think it's all a game" and "Little gay-looking boy / So gay I can barely say it with a straight face-looking boy." In a Rolling Stone interview, Eminem defended his usage of "faggot" and "us[ing] 'gay-looking' as an insult" by saying he "never really equated those words to actually mean 'homosexual.

In January 2015, TMZ reported that Chicago-based hip hop trio Hotstylz were suing Eminem and Shady Records for the amount of $8 million, for using a 25-second sample mid-track from their song "Lookin' Boy", without their permission. In February 2016, the lawsuit between Raymond Jones of Hot Stylz and Eminem was dismissed by the judge following an agreement made by the parties.

In September 2015, a 15-year-old boy in Fresno, California was arrested for making terrorist threats by sharing on Instagram the Columbine-related lyrics to Eminem's "I'm Back". The police thought that he had taken the lyrics to "Rap God" and added his own material on the end, as the latter interpolates some lyrics of the former, before later realizing that the threats were much closer to "I'm Back".

Remix

In Eminem's 2022 greatest hits album "Curtain Call 2", up and coming producer Mr. Cii remixes Rap God. +more In the remix, the original instrumental is replaced with a beat that changes throughout the song. The song is a digital edition bonus to the album.

Awards and nominations

YearCeremonyAwardResult
2014
2014Detroit Music AwardsOutstanding National SingleNominated
2014Detroit Music AwardsOutstanding Video / Major Budget (over $10,000)Nominated
2014World Music AwardsWorld's Best Song
2014MTV Video Music AwardsBest Art Direction
2014MTV Video Music AwardsBest EditingWon
2014MTV Video Music AwardsBest Visual Effects
2015Grammy AwardsBest Rap Performance
2015Guinness World RecordsMost words in a hit singleWon

Track listing

;Digital Download

Notes * signifies a co-producer.

Charts

Weekly charts

Chart (2013)Peak position

Year-end charts

Chart (2013)Position
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)65
Chart (2014)Position
US Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs (Billboard)34

Certifications

Release history

CountryDateFormatLabel
United StatesOctober 15, 2013Digital downloadShady, Aftermath, Interscope