Eminem, the rapper born as Marshal Mathers, is known worldwide as one of the first white emcees to be loved, accepted and embraced by the hip-hop community and is now considered among the best in the industry with regard to lyricism. With so many iconic songs, it is hard to deny the Detroit rapper’s talent and impact on the genre.
Concerning white emcees in hip-hop, Mathers remained relatively unchallenged for the first ten years of his career. However, by the end of the late 2000s, artists like Mac Miller began to emerge on the scene, but (as a true hip-hop lover) Mathers never disrespected them and was, in fact, very supportive of the newcomers. So who would have the unmitigated gall to take his kindness for weakness by publicly shaming him? MGK would.
Machine Gun Kelly (MGK) appeared in the hip-hop mainstream around 2014. However, when he surfaced, it was evident that as a young competitive rapper with slight delusions of grandeur, he didn’t respect anyone or anything, let alone Eminem, and he let it be known.
Eminem, who had been in hip-hop for over 15 years by the time MGK appeared, was actually oblivious to his existence during the period he was mocking and disparaging him. However, Mathers revealed in a tell-all interview with radio host Sway of Sway In The Morning that he found out through YouTube about the newcomer’s shenanigans, disclosing, “One day…you know how you go down the f*cking wormhole of YouTube, so I see [a video named] ‘Machine Gun Kelly Talks About Eminem’s Daughter’, I’m like, ‘What the f*ck!’ So I click on it, and then he starts doing a press run about Hailee!”
Yes, MGK (real name Colson Baker) frequently spoke about Hailee Mathers in a derogatory way and did so on more than one occasion. Catching wind of this and going on to find more things, in 2018, Eminem had the crosshairs firmly on Machine Gun Kelly and knew he had to address Baker directly.
Produced by IllaDaProducer, Eminem’s ‘Killshot’ diss track for MGK was a savage response to Baker’s song ‘Rap Devil’ on which he attacks Mathers ruthlessly. IllaDaProducer was Eminem’s primary beatmaker in 2018 while he was working on his tenth studio album, Kamikaze.
Speaking with Genius, IllaDaProducer revealed that the beat for ‘Killshot’ was actually made for UK rapper Giggs. However, upon hearing MGK’s ‘Rap Devil’, a deliberate spin on Em’s ‘Rap God’ song, he knew that it would be the perfect beat for an Eminem diss track and instead gave it to Mathers.
Recorded at Val Garay’s Record One recording complex in LA, ‘Kill Shot’ is very simple and features very few instruments. IllaDaProducer insisted it had to be simple so that “someone who is technical can jump all over”. In order to make ‘Killshot’, IllaDaProducer explained to Genius “The first sound I used was this piano sound I found in a loop-pack from 2DopeBoyz…it was really theatrical like Phantom Of The Opera“
The lyric-finding website Genius, which displays artist-approved lyrics to songs, revealed that within hours of its release, ‘Killshot’ broke their record for the fastest song to hit a million pageviews as everyone wanted to see the official lyrics. ‘Killshot’ debuted at number three on the Billboard Hot 100 and accumulated 38.1 million YouTube views in under 24-hrs.
You can listen to ‘Killshot’ below and watch an interview with IllaDaProducer in which he explains his process of making the instrumental for the diss track.