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Machine Gun Kelly and Waking the Sleeping Bear

By Nicholas A. Prescott
On September 20, 2018

With the rise of a new generation of rappers came new sounds and styles that just didn’t speak to me the way others have in the past. The last nail in the coffin for me was Eminem’s Revival, which was average at best. It just wasn’t the Eminem I remembered and grew up with. So, I took a break from rap for a bit. The Pusha-T and Drake beef went right over my head, as did Machine Gun Kelly’s subliminal diss on Eminem in Tech N9ne’s “No Reason (The Mosh Pit Song)”. Six months later, Eminem dropped Kamikaze by surprise and once again, it flew under my radar. But when I heard that a rapper willingly entered the ring with Eminem by releasing a diss track and well . . . it was just too good to ignore.

A brief rundown of what happened is needed to understand the beef between the two blond haired, white rappers, though. In 2012, MGK tweeted about Eminem’s 16 year old daughter, Hailie, commenting on her appearance. In response, Eminem, according to MGK, allegedly blackballed him from important industry assets like Shade 45, Eminem’s hip hop station. Ac-cording to Eminem, though, he hadn’t seen the tweet for well over a year after it was posted and claims to not have done any-thing about MGK’s career, as it was too far beneath him to care. Fast forward six years to March, 2018: MGK subliminally disses Eminem on Tech N9ne’s song, directly referencing Eminem’s “I need a Doctor” and “Rap God”. Fast forward again to August, where Eminem releases Kamikaze, which calls out... well, pretty much everyone.

On track 8, “Not Alike”, Eminem directly calls out MGK and his subliminal diss. A few days later, (almost as if he had it on tap, prepared for Eminem for awhile) MGK releases “Rap Devil”, stepping into the ring with the rapper who rose to fame through his freestyle abilities. Talk about a bold move, Cotton.

As it goes, the track isn’t bad for what you might expect of MGK. He goes as far back as to sneak lines about B-Rabbit, Eminem’s old moniker, as well as doubling down on commenting on Hailie. That being said, he does compliment Eminem several times and stoops to making childish comments about their respective heights and Eminem’s beard, which MGK states as “weird”. In a disappointing turn, the track also has a tacky autotuned chorus.

To everyone’s surprise, about a week later, Eminem released “Killshot”, which carries on the intense momentum produced from Kamikaze. It’s about everything you could expect from a revenge track from Eminem: it carries on for over four minutes straight with almost no break in the action. The only thing left now is to see if MGK comes back at “Killshot” with another track of his own. Both tracks are fairly good, so I’ll let you make your own opinions on who gets to take the cake home at the end of the day.

Eminem later stated that releasing the track was a tough decision because when he references someone, even negatively, their careers get boosted. This is evidenced by MGK announcing that he’s releasing an EP on the back of his resurgence after “Rap Devil”. All that being said, MGK and the rappers Eminem sees as subpar seem to have woken a sleeping bear, as Kamikaze is Eminem stating “anything you can do, I can do better.” To conclude, I’ll just leave it as this: no matter how MGK and all the other rappers called out on the record respond, Eminem wins.

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