Pop Conspiracy Theory: Eminem’s ‘MMLP2′ Contains Secret Kanye West Allusions

Oct 31st, 2013 // 48 Comments
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I have a crackpot conspiracy theory brewing about Eminem‘s forthcoming album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2. Here goes: Kanye West has become so ubiquitous, and his influence so unavoidable in hip-hop, that — I believe — the spirit of Yeezus has somehow burrowed into the dark recesses of Em’s brain and he subsequently packaged MMLP2 tracks with secret allusions to past Kanye songs. After West’s rant following the 2009 VMAs emerged, we learned that Kanye was keeping tabs on Slim Shady, and upped his game in response. Is it so crazy to think Em’s been keeping an eye on West, too?

As soon as the MMLP2 tracklist was revealed, some totally obvious connections became apparent. Sure, I may be weighing the significance of song titles a little too much, but c’mon, it can’t be a coincidence that the names of four tracks are blatant references to prior Kanye ones (e.g. “Rap God” vs. ”I Am A God”). Plus, of the 21 deluxe edition tracks, only seven have titles that don’t easily evoke Yeezy season. There are some substantive and thematic similarities as well, which I’ll delve into.

But what does it all mean?!

Well, I’m not saying Eminem did this on purpose. I think the new album is a subconscious rebuttal to Ye’s cultural takeover, Em’s Freudian way of horning in on Kanye’s pop culture kingdom. He’s reestablishing his presence via subtle markers, perhaps so that a few hip-hop fans would connect the dots. Or! It’s entirely possible (likely?) that I’m just waaay too deep inside my own mental rabbit hole and I’ve concocted a veritable Da Vinci Code based on clues that don’t actually exist. Either way — join me in the journey through the looking glass below.

First off, there’s the aforementioned handful of songs that, right off the bat, draw obvious parallels to Ye. As soon as “Rap God” dropped, it was seen as an overt response to “I Am A God” — Em’s outrageous boast is humbler than Ye’s outrageous boast; Ye wants to lord over all, Em is now happy to cede the pop culture throne and focus on reclaiming deity status within the realm of hip-hop.

Likewise, Kanye was “Stronger” in 2007 and now Em is “Stronger Than I Was,” again a more tempered brag. And isn’t going “Berzerk” just another form of going “H.A.M.”? (And, oh right, Shady mentions going H.A.M. in the song.) Or how about “Monster” vs. “The Monster” — why don’t we look at the album artwork for those two tracks, which share a similar layout and color schemes:

kanye eminem monster

Once those first clues jumped out at me, I was in full-on A Beautiful Mind mode, with the patterns emerging right before my eyes. The next group of songs aren’t quite as obvious, but once you think about it, they certainly seem to reference Kanye works. Let’s examine:
*In 2010, Kanye asked “Who Will Survive In America?” In 2013, Eminem answered on “Survival.”
*The tin man needs a scarecrow, and so with Ye’s “Heartless” there is also Em’s “Brainless.”
*“Headlights” and “Street Lights” bring the respective MC’s emotions out into the light.
*”Groundhog Day” inevitably leads to the “Coldest Winter.” Just ask Bill Murray.
*”Addiction” and “Desperation” often go hand-in-hand, do they not?
*The titles “Beautiful Pain” and “Dark Fantasy” express a similar dichotomy.
*What is “Barry Bonds” if not the definitive “Asshole”? (Thematically, though, “Asshole” is similar to “Runaway.”)
*Ever notice that when you ask a person who’s finally recovering from an injury/illness/breakup, they’ll say “Oh, I’m so much better. I’m amazing” or “Things are amazing. They’re so much better.”? “So Much Better” = “Amazing” when it comes to convalescence. Also, the song opens with a distorted synth squelch similar to the one that begins West’s “On Sight.”
*”Love Lockdown” vs. “Love Game” — OK so everyone has a song with “Love” in the title, fine.
*And of course, you can’t have a “Legacy” without “Power.”

That leaves us with just seven tracks (one of which is a skit) lacking any surface Yeezy connections:
*”Bad Guy” doesn’t have an immediate parallel, but two-thirds of the way through the song there’s a high-drama left-turn worthy of My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy or Yeezus.
*”Parking Lot” (Maybe it pairs with Ye’s “Homecoming,” since you drink in the parking lot before the Homecoming dance?)
*”Rhyme Or Reason”
*”So Far…”
*”Evil Twin” (Surely there must be a Kanye twin for this from Cruel Summer or Yeezus.)
*”Baby”
*”Wicked Ways”

Am I missing part of the pattern? Is there no pattern? Below is the full tracklist for The Marshall Mathers LP 2, with the mirrored Kanye tracks listed as well. Take a look and maybe you can identify the missing pieces, or you can prove it’s all in my head.

1. “Bad Guy”
2. “Parking Lot” (skit)
3. “Rhyme Or Reason”
4. “So Much Better” | “Amazing”
5. “Survival” | “Who Will Survive In America”
6. “Legacy” | “Power”
7. “Asshole” |  “Barry Bonds”
8. “Berzerk” | “H.A.M.”
9. “Rap God” | “I Am A God”
10. “Brainless” | “Heartless”
11. “Stronger Than I Was” | “Stronger”
12. “The Monster” | “Monster”
13. “So Far…”
14. “Love Game” | “Love Lockdown”
15. “Headlights” | “Street Lights”
16. “Evil Twin”
Bonus tracks:
1. “Baby”
2. “Desperation” |  “Addiction”
3. “Groundhog Day” | “Coldest Winter”
4. “Beautiful Pain” | “Dark Fantasy”
5. “Wicked Ways”

idolator

  1. stevals

    What the hell have you been smoking?

  2. WinterIsComing

    There is a pattern! Eminem has a song called “Asshole” and Kanye is an Asshole! SOLVED.

  3. Adam

    This is hilarious, I find it really entertaining to explore things that are probably not planned in any way shape or form, but I did find something else that you could consider for your theory:

    in Love Game, at about the 2:05 mark the beat changes to something that sounds incredibly similar to Kanye’s POWER.

    Just wanted to add fuel to the fire

  4. Lloyd Christmas

    I also noticed that “Bad Guy” contains the same background vocal sample that Kanye used in N***** in Paris. The screaming “Ya” in the background is a sample of Reverend W.A. Donaldson’s Baptizing Scene.

  5. ana

    Of course Eminem has nothing to do but be copying Kanye West. Please Invite us smoking drug to walk the same.
    You if you have nothing to do.

  6. smokin crack

    this is such a REAAAAAAAAACH

  7. Rory

    rap god is not “subconcious”. its pretty blatant response to other rappers. Em is using “God” in a competitive way to up kendrick lamar who has crowned him self “King” of New York on the song “control”. Eminem says it right at the end of the song “why be a king, when you can be a god.” making connections with the most “pop” crossed over rappers is really showing your knowledge of hip hop.

  8. why would Eminem copy Kanye.. Eminem is at the highest level of rap and i cannot see why people should even put Kanye in their top 10. as the rapper the ‘ Game’ says ‘ Eminem is infinite’ meaning Em is above the best

    • EmEmEm

      Eminem at his HIGHEST level of rap? This is so wrong it hurts. Not to say this album is bad, I rather like it a lot, but it’s nowhere close to his past stuff.

      • Right

        youre out of your head im sorry, this is em at his BEST! Recognize and differentiate between nostalgia and quality.

      • C. W. Sherman

        “Eminem is at the highest level of rap”

        Hate to break it to you bud but he didn’t say Eminem was at his best, he said Eminem is THE best (to paraphrase). All though…Kanye may very well be at HIS highest level of rap :)

  9. Shahrukh

    and they are both speaking English. Damn

  10. Fart Knocker

    You probably have seen Jesus in your tortillas too haven’t you?

  11. Eminemforever11

    Bitch please..why would Em The King copying Kanye The Slave? that doesnt make sense at all..

  12. Chris

    You are an absolute idiot. As is Kanye.

  13. Hofbräu

    I have a crackpot conspiracy theory that you need to do something with your life

  14. waste of an article…you are seriously an idiot for even putting the time into this

  15. Brandon

    A ridiculous ploy to get site hits. Not even remotely close to relevant.

  16. Biters all over

    Biters be biters

  17. Matt

    It’s Ken Kaniff at the end of the bonus track Wicked Ways.

  18. mac

    left out “stronger than I was” and kanyes “stronger”

  19. CaptainKirk

    The only thing I see in common between Eminem and Kanye is poor singing

  20. jersey

    I remember reading an article that Chris Rock was working with Em as well. Idk what happened with that but that would have been another obvious connection.

  21. Name

    I think you are right in some parts, Em shows us how much better he is than Kanye

  22. Too Bad

    Wow, I never realized that artistes have the exact song names as well loI bet we will find the connection if we play the lp backwards lol, i wiould rather listen to anything that comes from Eminem than the tool Kanye anyways

  23. NO NO

    Regardless Eminem as a rapper is so far ahead of kanye its not even worth discussing.

  24. ups~

    u sir is retarded. and great clinical paranoia is uppon you :D
    or u used this stupid crap to get recognition, which works. did it for you?

  25. KTT

    Crazy how people will completely, word for word, jack other people’s ideas and use them as their own lmao. Especially something as abstract as this. You know what you did.

  26. =)

    I Believe you. im the same way and told my friends but they said i was stupid lol

  27. Terry

    “Rap god” is a responce to macklemore & ryan lewis “jimmy lovine”.
    I just cant work out if they are creating the new rap battle era between old and new. for promotional purposes? to pass the torch?or for real? “MMLP2″ completley contradicts “The heist” which says old skool rappers are a bad influence with what they do and say. MMLP2 says he will say what he wants, there has to be a “bad guy” so to speak. Eminem subliminily takes a shot at a LOT of rappers in MMLP2. he really has taken himself back 12 years when he was at his best.

  28. Ryan

    I see the connection.. Do I care though? Not really. Eminem is one of the best rappers of all time, behind to not Biggy and Tupac in my opinion. However, even if there was a possibility of the connections being similar, for the most part, Em’s lyrics are more interesting to listen to and they tell a story of some kind, whether it be about his life, someone else’s. There are obvious cases where he is taking shots at other rappers, but that’s what made him great in the beginning. This album is very similar to his older stuff, and it defeats every single album ever released by kanye. MMLP2 has my vote for album of the year. Regardless of that, this blog was definitely biased in favor of Kanye, so your opinion doesn’t matter to me. You can go ahead and take shots at Em all you want, but don’t put them up on the Internet for everyone else to see. You’ll just get embarrassed by the fans of Eminem because of how stupid you sound. Oh, and that’s my crackhead theory..

  29. Arjun Neil Al Menezes

    Eminem in “Healights”
    [ Because I put my faith in my new girl
    So I never say "Goodbye, cruel world."
    Just know that I'm alright I am not afraid to die ]

    in response to Kanye’s “Power”
    [ In this white man world, we the ones chosen
    So goodnight, cruel world, I’ll see you in the morning
    Huh? I’ll see you in the morning
    This is way too much, I need a moment ]

  30. Truth

    LOL. Eminem isn’t subconsciously or overtly intimidated by Kanye West. Kanye is a dumb ____ and his rap sucks. Eminem would destroy him at rap with duct tape over his mouth, and has no reason to make such an degrading comparison. MMLP2 officially raised the bar on the future of rap.

  31. J Money

    I think Parking Lot and Homecoming are similar because Homecoming is about Ye coming back to Chicago and Parking Lot is picking up where the last track on MMLP 1 left off. So Ye was going back to where he came from (Chicago) and Em is taking his album back to the last one.

  32. derik zoolander

    mate you are a total looser.. get of the drugs

  33. kanye sucks for real…..EMINEM #1

  34. Pietreg

    Nobody wrote it yet but for me “Love Game” could be a “Blame Game” Eminem’s track.

  35. No offense, but you’re retarded. By the way, you do know Rap God – Eminem was recorded before I Am God – Kanye West? And honestly, Kanye West is nowhere near to be a God.

  36. Oh and btw, Rap God has millions of views more than I am a god on youtube.

    • Right

      oh but didnt you know thats all because of his skin color and has nothing to do with the fact em makes kanye look like the retarded kid who stayed back in kindergarten.lmao you gotta be pretty damn dumb to fail paper mache lol

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