Resurgent rapper Eminem takes a trip back in time for his tongue-twisting new single, “Rap God,” channeling popular late 1980s British character Max Headroom, who was dubbed “the world’s first computer-generated TV host.”
When he’s not imitating Headroom, Eminem is shown rapping from underneath a hoodie in a dark room full of moshing fans juxtaposed with shots of the rapper jumping through portals of a giant video game as he spits the rapid-fire lyrics. There’s even a quick cameo from Busta Rhymes, who’s shown on a video monitor when he’s mentioned in the song’s lyrics.
The third single from the rapper’s recently released album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, “Rap God” was an instant hit for many listeners, given Eminem’s dazzling wordplay throughout the song, including a 97-word verse delivered in just 15 seconds.
“Rap God” has generated controversy for homophobic slurs found in the lyrics, which he addressed during a recent interview with Rolling Stone: “I don’t know how to say this without saying it how I’ve said it a million times,” he explained. “But that word, those kind of words, when I came up battle-rappin’ or whatever, I never really equated those words [to mean homosexual]…It was more like calling someone a b—h or a punk or a–hole. So that word was just thrown around so freely back then. It goes back to that battle, back and forth in my head, of wanting to feel free to say what I want to say, and then [worrying about] what may or may not affect people.”
Openly gay singer-songwriter Sia, who worked with Eminem on MMLP2 song, “Beautiful Pain,” was moved to donate the proceeds of the collaboration to aid homeless LGBT youth at the Los Angeles Gay & Lesbian Center.