Eminem Brings Back Slim Shady In The Video For His Joe Budden Diss
Eminem’s decision to release a surprise album has placed him on Hip-Hop’s center stage in ways fit for a Rap God. Kamikaze arrived on August 31 with no roll-out but its reception has been deafening, largely thanks to the Detroit MC’s decision to use it as a means of addressing his critics. His December 2017 album, Revival, did not perform as well as previous efforts (though it still went platinum, no small feat for a rapper with a discography stretching back 20 years) and received less-than-stellar critical reviews. In its wake, it seems Marshall Mathers became acutely aware of the criticisms lobbed against him: that he’d fallen off or lost his touch. There’s little room for conjecture about that, considering the forthright nature of lyrics on Kamikaze.
On the album, which features Royce 5’9, Joyner Lucas and others, Em calls out critics of his work, ranging from the no name social-media hater to fellow rappers like Tyler, The Creator and Machine Gun Kelly. The latter responded in kind, dropping a bold response in the form of “Rap Devil.” Just a day later, Eminem has released the music video for the Kamikaze cut “Fall.” Though unrelated to the specifics of MGK’s diss, the narrative-driven video for the song still touches on the criticisms Em has been subjected to in recent months.
“Fall” opens with Eminem saying “Everybody’s been tellin’ me what they think about me for the last few months…Maybe it’s time I tell ’em what I think about them. During the song, Em specifically addresses on-air personality Charlamagne Tha God, Earl Sweatshirt, Lord Jamar and Everyday Struggle host, DJ Akademiks. The lines that have drawn the most attention over the last few days, however, are reserved for Joe Budden. Em and Budden have a long history, as Eminem signed Budden to his Shady Records as part of the group Slaughterhouse, in the early 2010s. Over the last few years, Budden has become a popular podcaster and on-air host who has developed a reputation for not mincing words about his opinions.
When Eminem released music from Revival, Budden did not sugarcoat his thoughts regarding his label head’s songs. Joe said of Em’s “Walk On Water,” featuring Beyoncé, “Throw it in rice…This is one of the worst songs I’ve ever heard. This is the first time in my life that I feel like the ball is being dropped on Eminem.” Joe was equally blistering in his critique of “Untouchable,” Em’s second single from the album. “[Eminem], you will not use the plight of Black people to sell a f*cking record and widen your profit margin. Em’, I love and respect [you]. The things I learned from him is part of the reason I retired early because if you’re at the top of Rap, I don’t want that…Em’ is surrounded by too many musical geniuses to put this quality of music out.”
Many believe Eminem responded to Budden on his remix to “Chloraseptic,” where Em rapped “Not as raw as I was, ”Walk On Water’ sucks’ B*tch, suck my d*ck! Y’all saw the tracklist and had a fit ‘fore you heard it. So you formed your verdict. While you sat with your arms crossed.” At the time, the lines were believed to be Em’s assessment of the commentary Budden had on Everyday Struggle with his co-host, DJ Akademiks, who was also referenced on “Fall.” Em did not name names, however, so the lines remained subject to interpretation. Eminem did foreshadow at the end of his verse that he was not done with his attack, rapping “I just add it to the fuel in my rocket pack. ‘Til I’m ready to respond, then I’ma launch it at ’em. Idiotic from the f*ckin’ embryonic sac. To the body bag, I’ll be back. And, when I am, I’ll be at your f*ckin’ throat like…”
Budden was among those who did not believe Eminem was addressing him on the “Chloraseptic” remix. On his podcast following the release of the song, Budden said “Let me attack a few different things here: I don’t think Em’ was talking to me, number one. But boy, did he kill that verse. Goddamn he killed that verse.”
With the release of “Fall,” however, Eminem makes it crystal clear that he is aiming directly at Budden and he is shooting to kill. He begins the second verse by firing off “Somebody tell Budden before I snap, he better fasten it or have his body bag get zipped. The closest thing he’s had to hits is smackin’ b*tches.” The shot is short but both attacks Budden as having had an unsuccessful music career, and jabs at persistent rumors that Budden physically assaulted an ex-girlfriend. To date, Budden has not yet responded to Eminem, but many anticipate he may address the lyrics during his next podcast.
In the opening sequence for the “Fall” video (which stars Royce and Denaun Porter), Eminem is plagued by media headlines spewing criticism in his direction (“Will the old real Slim Shady please come back?”). He’s haunted everywhere he goes, followed by a Harry Potter-esque Dementor character as he walks around a very dark cityscape. Creepy shadows and hooded figures trace his steps before he eventually begins to break through walls and climbs up a staircase. In its final scene, Eminem steps on his own CD, cracking the cover of Revival before walking away. All of these cues convey that Eminem is well aware of how badly Revival was received.
#BonusBeat: Em’s manager Paul Rosenberg called the video a return to the real Slim Shady style: