What is Eminem up to?
Like spotting omens before acts of biblical destruction, Eminem fans have been conditioned to read between the lines. As hip-hop’s most open recluse, Em has shied away from developing a distinctive social media presence; he previously ridiculed his own technological ignorance on the song “So Far,” a Luddite through and through. Therefore, when he does fire off a Tweet, the inherent rareness of the act renders it noteworthy.
That’s not to say he isn’t staying in the know. Kamikaze proved that he has been keeping a watchful eye on certain media pundits, particularly Lord Jamar, Joe Budden, and Akademiks. It’s entirely possible that his apparent absence plays a role in provoking hateful commentary; not unlike how openly-slung Suge Knight disrespect increased tenfold upon his incarceration. Most recently, we’ve seen Lord Jamar speaking on Eminem’s name with growing frequency. To Jamar’s credit, the man co-hosts an entertaining podcast in which a variety of Em-free topics are covered. Yet through platforms like DJ Vlad’s Vlad TV, Jamar’s anti-Eminem opinion has been giving bionic legs, gaining enough ground to pique the Shady camp’s interest.
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Following a particular fruitful string of Em-centric videos, one of which involved Shady affiliate Conway, Eminem’s partner in crime Royce Da 5’9” took a moment to hold down the fort."I don't give a fuck if you don't like his music, the motherfucker is in everybody's top 5,” said Royce, during a ten-minute IG video. “You don't get there just by being a white rapper." The video prompted a response from a blunt-puffing Jamar, who doubled down on his position before pigeonholing Royce into the same category as Slim. Suffice it to say, the exchange was one of the most respectful exchanges of disrespect in recent memory. Yet let it be known, the disrespect was present, and Em has never been one to take kindly to such things.
Yesterday, Slim came through with a rare and admittedly intriguing tweet: “People think they want this problem 'til they get it.” Given everything that has been transpiring around his good name, the menacing threat all but indicated a coming storm - but to what extent?
SEE YOU IN HELL
It’s been eight years since Royce Da 5’9” and Eminem teamed up to deliver Bad Meets Evil: Hell The Sequel. In the interim, the pair have laid down a handful of tracks, like “Raw,” “All I Think About,” “Vegas,” “Psychopath Killer,” Caterpillar,” and “Not Alike.” Yet given that both men are coming off a pair of excellent albums in Book Of Ryan and Kamikaze, the demand for a new Bad Meets Evil project has reached feverish heights. Not to mention, their most recent offering in “Not Alike” paired them with the combination of Tay Keith and Ronny J, and the chemistry led to their best collaboration in years.
But is there any evidence suggesting Bad Meets Evil 2 in the imminent future? To be honest, nothing particularly strong. Yet a recent interview with Conway The Machine did provide an interesting tidbit, especially given the timeline. Discussing the making of “Bang,” Conway fired off an off-hand comment that caught my attention. “I flew to Detroit, and I played my album God Don't Make Mistakes for him and Paul Rosenberg. Royce was in the room or whatever,” explained Conway. Now, Conway didn’t go to Eminem’s house to premiere his project, but Em’s Detroit studio. The fact that he, Royce, and Paul Rosenberg were present speaks to an ongoing studio session; of course, it’s entirely possible that they were simply having a boys-night-in, but that feels unlikely.
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Of course, Royce himself has played a role in both stoking and dousing the fires of hype. At the tail end of 2018, Royce strongly encouraged fans to kick off a Bad Meets Evil 2 chant during an Australian concert, inviting them to kick off a hashtag and “spam the fu*k out of Eminem's Twitter and IG accounts." His brother Kid Vishis also made sure to pick up the cause, thus ringing in 2019 with Bad Meets Evil on our collective minds. Unfortunately, Royce spoke with KXNG Crooked in May about the project’s state, dampening our dreams in one fell swoop. "We got a couple songs in the vault, that we messed with, like awhile ago, but it ain't been like an opportunity for us to go in and do nothing with each other," he explained. “He always working, it would literally just be for him to call, and be like, 'yo, let's do this shit.' I'd make time, cause I have so much fun doing it. It's easy, it's not a lot work, it's one of those fun challenges."
If we can infer as much, it’s that Bad Meets Evil 2 was not in the works at the onset of summer. Yet several months have passed since Crook’s Corner, and it’s possible that Em and Royce put in a solid month of work to piece something together in June, July, or even earlier this August. Plus, the time simply feels right for another BME project, especially now that Em is good and mad.
WOKE UP LABOR DAY TO THIS?
Should Bad Meets Evil 2 remain a little while off, perhaps there’s still hope for some new music all the same. Lest we forget that nearly one year to this day, Eminem threw caution to the wind and dropped off the biggest surprise of the year in Kamikaze. It’s entirely possible, if perhaps wishful thinking, to imagine Eminem feeling compelled to carry on the tradition.
Though many of us were indeed blindsided by Kamikaze’s sudden release, the signs were indeed there for those willing to retroactively search. Em, Mike WiLL Made-It, and Dr. Dre were spotted in the studio at the beginning of 2018, and Eminem’s sessions with Jessie Reyez were documented well-in advance. This time, there have been little to no publicized rumblings of Eminem putting in work, save for the aforementioned Conway anecdote. Yet Em’s Tweet did prompt activity from some of his recent collaborators, including “Framed” beatmaker Fred Wreck and Kamikaze mainstay IllaDaProducer. As recently as yesterday, Skylar Gray revealed she was “back in the lab” with Slim, curious timing to be sure.
Might we be on the receiving end of a Kamikaze followup this Labor Day weekend? Given everything that transpired around this time last year, it seems as good a time as any for Eminem to drop off some new music.
Perhaps all this talk of albums is the product of simple greed. Might one single song be enough? After all, Eminem has never been one to take disrespect lying down. He damn near penned an entire album in retaliation to a pubic shaming. With Lord Jamar firing off shot after shot seemingly unimpeded, it seems only logical that Eminem would move to seize control of the situation. He did warn as much on “Fall,” and Jamar has done nothing even remotely resembling “leaving him the hell alone.”
Remember the tweet that set this business off in the first place: “People think they want this problem 'til they get it.” It’s hard to say that’s aimed for anyone other than Lord Jamar, who has been poking the proverbial bear with little-to-no fear of consequence. And as we know, leaving deeds of that nature unpunished has never been the Shady way. Regardless of what Em ultimately does, his tweet has indeed served its intended purpose. Clearly, something wicked this way comes. It’s only a question of what?