Longevity is a fickle thing. Especially in a genre like hip hop, making a sustainable career while fighting for continued relevance among a sea of newer and more exciting faces can be daunting. Even if you stick around, there’s almost a guarantee that fans you’ve worked so hard to acquire will eventually either leave or say that you are past your prime.
Eminem has been one of the most prominent rappers to have gone through this exact scenario. A highly acclaimed and even more controversial figure in hip hop for well over two decades, there’s little doubt that Marshall Mathers is one of the biggest artists in hip hop, not just of the modern-day but of all time.
Still, his more recent run of albums, specifically those that came out in the 2010s not named The Marshall Mathers LP 2, has been subjected to criticism over reduced quality and declining relevancy.
It’s not like Eminem has been ignorant of this criticism either. He’s rapped about responding to these shots in songs like ‘Rap God’, but he’s also served up warnings for the slate of modern rappers, specifically Drake.
On ‘Zeus’ from Music to Be Murdered By – Side B, Eminem lays it out bare: “And, Drake, they’re gonna turn on you one day too / And the more you win, the sooner they do.” The song deals with a larger swath of the bigger names in hip hop at the time, mentioning how “They did it to Chance / Next they’ll be mentionin’ Future in the past tense / Or sayin’ adiós to Migos.”
Mathers also gets in some pointed lines referring to his critics: “They’ll be calling you a trash bin / Sayin’ that your new one isn’t better than your last and / Even if it is, once they start to turn their backs / They ain’t never comin’ back in.”
Still, Mathers has said that there’s no ill will in the warning and that he’s on good terms with the Canadian rapper. “Drake is always gonna be in my good graces because he did something for one of my daughter’s that I will never forget,” he said. “He will always be in my graces with that. And I like Drake.”