Unwrapping the Beef: What Are Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly So Mad About?


Eminem, in the valiant fight to maintain relevancy, released an album titled Kamikaze on August 31. On the album, he calls out a number of rappers on various songs: Joe Budden, Lord Jamar, Lil Pump, Lil Xan, Machine Gun Kelly (MGK), Tech N9ne, Vince Staples, Tyler the Creator, and Earl Sweatshirt. (He also targets Trump.) No one else has responded to Eminem’s insults with their own diss track except for MGK, which is unsurprising: the guy hasn’t done anything remarkable enough to deserve a diss track from anyone, including Eminem, a man who’s as famous for releasing diss tracks as he is for dropping homophobic slurs. Now they’re both engaged in a back and forth. Let us break this down.

The Kamikaze track “Not Alike” is directed at a handful of the rappers mentioned above, but it’s especially concerned with Machine Gun Kelly, who six years ago tweeted that he found Eminem’s daughter Hailie “hot as fuck.” On this song, Eminem raps:

“If you wanna come at me with a sub, Machine Gun/And I’m talkin’ to you, but you already know who the fuck you are, Kelly/I don’t use sublims and sure as fuck don’t sneak-diss/But keep commenting on my daughter Hailie/I keep on telling motherfuckers/But just in case you forgot really and need Ja memories/Jarred like strawberry or pineapple, apricot jelly/I respond rarely, but this time Shady ’bout to sound off/Like a fuckin’ cocked semi Glock, demi-god/Let me put a fuckin’ silencer on this little non-threatening blonde fairy cornball takin’ shots at me.”

Presumably outraged, even though the entire quibble feels decidedly lukewarm, Machine Gun Kelly dropped the diss track “Rap Devil” on September 8, which is noteworthy only for the progression of this beef explainer, and because it opens with “Ayy, somebody grab him some clippers (zzzzt)/His fuckin’ beard is weird,” which is both hilarious and true. MGK adds:

“Hello Marshall, my name’s Colson/You should go back to Recovery/I know your ego is hurtin’/Just knowin’ that all of your fans discovered me (hi)/He like, “Damn, he a younger me/Except he dresses better and I’m ugly/Always making fun of me.”

On September 16, Eminem fired back with yet another diss track, “Kill Shot,” where he raps:

“But I’m 45 and I’m still outselling you/By 29 I had three albums that had blew/Now let’s talk about somethin’ I don’t really do/Go in someone’s daughter’s mouth stealin’ food.”

And the crowd goes: oooooh!

Frat rapper G-Eazy, also known as Halsey’s ex-beau, got in on the action—because he hates Machine Gun Kelly, too (which my colleague Hazel Cills distilled beautifully in this adjacent dudefight)—with a not-so-subtle Instagram post captioned “Let’s talk about it”:

Let’s not!

Instead of fueling the flames by coming back with another diss, MGK posted an Instagram, simply declaring “he missed,” which doubles as a response and effective promo for his EP Binge, out this Friday.

Honestly, if this whole ordeal was the result of a few brilliant publicists, I would not be shocked.

Diss tracks are supposed to be uncivil and funny, and that’s largely what I’m getting out of these—except in the case of Eminem, where most of his insults are, as they’ve always been, mutually homophobic and lazy. If I sold as many records as Eminem, I don’t think I’d be fucking around with the Roadies guy.

Update, 11:51 a.m.: On Sunday, Machine Gun Kelly dissed Eminem on stage at the Amway Center in Orlando. MGK opened his performance of “Rap Devil” by joking about Em’s age, then he screamed, “The real Slim Shady can’t stand up…Fuck Marshall Mathers.”

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