Though he’s worked with some of the best filmmakers of all time, including Martin Scorsese, Paul Thomas Anderson and David O. Russell, Mark Wahlberg is often omitted from conversations regarding the most celebrated actors.
Working with Michael Bay on several Transformers movies as well as on M. Night Shyamalan’s eco-horror thriller The Happening, Wahlberg doesn’t exactly help himself, allowing criticism to pour in from critics and audiences alike. Although the two-time Oscar nominated actor is a well-recognised Hollywood star, his career started elsewhere, making his name in the world of rap.
Forming Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch in 1991, Wahlberg found significant success with the song ‘Good Vibrations’ which made it to number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1991. Releasing a platinum album, the group achieved great acclaim and even released a video game titled Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch: Make My Video, later considered one of the worst video games of all time.
Also a significant name at the time was the American rapper Eminem who shot to fame in the very same decade, with him and Mark Wahlberg’s ‘Marky Mark’ appearing on the MTV show Total Request Live (TRL) in 1999. Though the two artists were enjoying success, they did not take well to each other.
Slyly insulting Wahlberg whilst prodding fun at his group by saying, “Well, why don’t we stand together like a happy fun bunch,” many considered the rapper’s comments to be antagonistic during the show.
Though, whilst Eminem never discussed this bad blood, it wasn’t until the release of his sophomore album The Marshall Mathers LP in 2000 that he let his position known on the now-famous actor. At the start of the track ‘Drug Ballad’ Eminem raps, “Back when Mark Wahlberg was Marky Mark,” before clearly stating under his breath, “fucking fa**ot”.
In conversation with Anthony Bozza in Whatever You Say I Am: The Life and Times of Eminem, the rapper gives some context on his feud with Wahlberg, recalling that before TRL, “some dude who works for MTV tells us Mark Wahlberg is coming in, says he’d appreciate it if we don’t call him Marky Mark”.
Continuing he adds, “Then he comes up and he’s standing on the side when we was off air and he’s like, ‘What, is there supposed to be some fucking tension in here or something?’ I pretended like I don’t hear him and shit. Then we’re on air and […] I’m like, ‘We’ll just stand around here like one big fun bunch!’ So I threw a stab at him. He didn’t want me to say Mark-y. Probably didn’t want me to say funk-y neither”.
Thankfully for the pair of them, this strange beef has now been quashed, with Wahlberg admitting to being a “hater” in a GQ interview in 2017, describing Eminem as a “Very cool guy, very talented. And yes, I didn’t give him credit for that a long time ago. I was a hater because he’s a better rapper than me”.