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Music review: Eminem vs. Machine Gun Kelly

Rapper Machine Gun Kelly recently released a diss track called Rap Devil, aimed at Eminem after Eminem mentioned him in a song on his new Kamikaze album. 

So, in typical Eminem style, he answered with a song called Killshot – which calls for analysis of both songs in terms of lyrical depth and flow, and of the way these rappers handle themselves off the mic.

To understand both tracks you need to know that Eminem and MGK's feud started way back in 2012, when Kelly tweeted the then 16-year-old daughter of Eminem, describing her as "hot” in barely-veiled sexually-charged terms. Eminem did not know of these tweets until a year and a half afterwards, and he had no appreciation for MGK’s remarks, sparking a long drawn-out squabble that has not yet subsided.

MGK was quick to respond to Eminem’s dis.

He starts his song by calling Eminem’s beard “weird” – more of a playground insult than a diss. He also calls him “the greatest rapper alive”, which is probably a cheap shot at irony. He often refers to him as “old”, and makes a number of factual mistakes, amongst others incorrectly mentioning the latter’s number of albums – a grave error, as when you are dissing someone, you should be factually correct in support of your case. 

The goal of a diss track is proving you are lyrically superior to whomever you are dissing, and you should bear in mind that the more depth you add to your song, the more lyrically brilliant it becomes. 

Sadly, MGK ‘s inconsistent flashes of depth (with some good lines like “knees weak of old age the real slim shady can’t stand up”) are offset by childish jabs, amongst others referring to the difference in height between KGK and Eminem – an indication that it would certainly have been a wiser decision to take more time to perfect the diss. 

The beat of MGK’s song is good and rather complex, but he manages to intertwine his lyrics with the beat in expert fashion, which is vintage MGK. However, he includes a chorus, which is strange for a diss track where a constant bombardment of varying disses (instead of repeats) should be fired.

Now on to Killshot, EM’s reply to MGK’s diss track. 

This song is so layered that I would need an entire article on its own to explain all the metaphors and meanings.

Killshot is the name of a movie about a gunner named Colson, who dies being out-gunned.

Colson is also MGK’s middle name. 

Machine Gun Kelly.

It is no secret that MGK was a little-known rapper before Eminem decided to mention him, so responding to him in a full on diss track would definitely escalate his fame. But anyone who knows Eminem knows he has destroyed the careers of rappers who dared to mess with his family in the past. 

This track of Eminem’s is far more layered and full-bodied than Rap Devil. 

He starts Killshot by making fun of some of MGK’s more cheesy lines like “his beard is weird” and counters MGK’s line “when your idols become your rivals” by saying “when your fans become your haters”, basically telling MGK he is just an angry fan. He emphasises this by calling MGK another crazed fan, and refers to him as “Stan”. 

Stan is a song Eminem once released, which deals with a crazy fan who eventually killed himself. 

Eminem capitalizes on MGK’s dissing mixed with sarcastic praise in his Rap Devil track, wondering whether it is “a death threat or a love letter”. He says that if he called Interscope, (MGK’s current record label), the latter would be “swazy”– gone, nothing. 

Eminem mentions that he might be old, but is still far outselling MGK, and says that when he was MGK’s age, he was more successful with three best-selling albums. Besides, he can “still fill a whole page with a ten-year-old’s rage” implying that it takes no more than the anger of a ten-year-old to write better bars than MGK. He mentions that MGK had a shovel in his Rap Devil music video, saying he must have been using it to dig his own grave. Eminem references record sales by saying, “my biggest flops are your greatest hits”– a reply to MGK’s “Your last three albums are as bad as your selfie”.

Eminem’s lowest-selling album still sold higher than MGK’s most successful album.

The words “Mwah, give Jade a kiss”, refer to the middle name of Hailie, Eminem’s daughter MGK whom openly sexualized when she was only 16. One of EM’s hardest-hitting lines is preceded by saying “this is it as big as you’re gonna get so enjoy it”, and ends off by saying that he “had to give (MGK) a career to destroy it”. Eminem also mentions his legacy by saying “as long as I’m shady he’s gonna have to live in my shadow”. 

Much else can be said, but the best idea is to listen for yourself and experience the difference between good rap and truly great rap.

As far as this reviewer is concerned, there is no doubt that Eminem lyrically annihilated MGK.

Meer oor:  Paul Roos Gimnasium
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