Eminem and Kendrick Lamar have only collaborated once—on 2013’s “Love Game” off The Marshall Mathers LP 2—but it’s clear that Em has a great deal of respect for Kendrick. On his surprise album Kamikaze, the Detroit rapper makes his reverence for Kendrick’s music and rap talent known with a series of name-drops and interpolations. Em mentions Kendrick on “The Ringer” and “Fall,” and includes interpolations of “HUMBLE.” and “DNA.” on “Lucky You”and “Greatest.” Kendrick even gets a writing credit on the latter song.
He first holds Kendrick up as an example of a great MC on “The Ringer,” where he spits:
I’m gonna crumble you and I’ll take a number two
And dump on you, if you ain’t Joyner
If you ain’t Kendrick or Cole, or Sean, then you’re a goner
I’m ‘bout to bring it to anyone in this bitch who want it
I guess when you walk into BK, you expect a Whopper
One song later on “Greatest,” Em interpolates Kendrick’s “HUMBLE.” Genius contributors SpeckHelper breaks it down in an annotation:
Kamikaze’s third song “Lucky You” contains a second Kendrick interpolation, this time of his DAMN.track “DNA.”:
I got spite inside my DNA
Finally on “Fall,” he lists Kendrick amongst a group of MCs that he clearly respects:
I inspire the Hopsins, the Logics, the Coles, the
Seans, the K-Dots, the 5’9″s, and oh
Brought the world 50 Cent, you did squat, pissed and moaned
But I’m not gonna fall… bitch!
Kendrick has never been shy in his own praise of Eminem. Earlier this month, he told Vanity Fair that Em is one of his greatest inspirations. “Eminem is probably one of the best wordsmiths ever,” Kendrick said. “There’s a whole list of why, but just bending words… . The Marshall Mathers LP changed my life.”
Em actually put Kendrick to the test when they collaborated on “Love Game,” as Ed Sheeran previously explained to Zach Sang.
“Eminem heard that Kendrick Lamar was the best rapper and he invited him to the studio to get him on a song,” he said. “He arrived and Kendrick came with all his mates and Eminem said, ‘I just want you in the studio, just you on your own. And then my engineer is gonna come in and then record you doing it. But your mates aren’t allowed in.’ Eminem said that he did it to test Kendrick because he thought he had a ghostwriter.”
In a Genius annotation, Em explained how impressed he was with good kid, m.A.A.d. city:
Clearly his respect for Kendrick has only grown since then