Throwback Thursday: Rihanna meets Eminem
We are back! This Throwback Thursday post will be dedicated to all Rihanna and Eminem collaborations. The topic was inspired by the fact that this week marks 3 years since their last collaboration – The Monster – has been announced. Time flies, huh? But how did it happen?
When in 2010 Eminem let the world know that Rihanna is going be featured on Love the Way You Lie from his then upcoming album Recovery, the world was a bit…shocked. Marshall Mathers, who was known for bashing popstars or basically everyone, decided to work with an R&B singer. Since then they gave us 3 more songs: Love the Way You Lie (Part II), Numb and The Monster. What started as work turned out to be a great friendship between music industry’s most unapologetic personas.. In Rihanna’s latest Vanity Fair story, Eminem said he really considers her his friend.
“I would definitely consider Rihanna a friend. She’s always been there for me, and I really enjoy working with her. As an artist, we have similar work ethics, so I’ve always been able to relate to her in that sense.”
The feeling is mutual, as Rihanna calls him “one of her favourite people” and praises his work ethic as well:
“He’s one of my favorite people. He’s got so many layers and he’s such a good person—focused, disciplined. I mean you can’t tell me that you have to be in the club when Eminem is legit at home and being a good father and is still one of the most prestigious rappers of our generation. He’s one of the most talented poets of our time. It was such a brilliant moment to have him ask me to be part of a record; I felt … anointed, because he thought I was cool enough to be on [“Love the Way You Lie”]. But also, the lyrics [about a dysfunctional relationship] were just so true to what I felt and couldn’t say to the world at that time.”
In one of her interviews in 2010, she also emphasized the fact he is one of her favourite artists and also praised his creative mind.
“Something is wrong with Eminem,. He has so much in his mind that I almost feel lucky for him that he has music. … Music is such a great release for him. He’s one of my favorite artists.”
So now we know this powerful duo is on friendly terms, it is time to take a look at all the collaborations.
LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE
2010 was a comeback year for Eminem. He already premiered his first single from Recovery – Not Afraid – but I think we all can agree that the real bang came with Love the Way You Lie.
According to Alex Da Kid, who produced the song, Eminem wanted Rihanna to be on the track from the moment he heard it:
” […] I sent him [“Love the Way You Lie”] with a hook. I just signed the girl that wrote the hook. I gave it to Em and he loved it and recorded it within two days. He was like, “I definitely wanna get Rihanna on this. […] Paul [Rosenberg], his manager, sent it to Rihanna and she loved it.”
In her interview with E! in 2010, Rihanna also told the story of how the collaboration came to life:
“They reached out to us directly and they just said, ‘We have this song and we just think Rihanna would be perfect to sing it and, of course, I was like, ‘OK, if I love it, I’ll definitely do it, because I love Eminem.’ And I love the song. It’s really beautiful, and it really stands out. It’s a really unique record. I’m really excited about it.”
The whole recording process was taking place over the Internet because Rihanna was in Dublin at the time the song was supposed to be finished. The record premiered on June 21, 2010 and the whole world went craaaaaaaaaazy! Even if you were not a Rihanna or Eminem fan at that time, I am pretty sure that you were also singing along to the chorus every time the song came on the radio. I even tried to rap Eminem’s part and thank God, Snapchat was not a thing back then because I am pretty sure I would have uploaded my version of it with strong conviction I slayed. I would have had to explain myself to this day, also. But the truth is: it was the song of 2010 and numbers are here to prove it:
NUMBER 1 IN THE UNITED STATES FOR SEVEN CONSECUTIVE WEEKS
NINE WEEKS ATOP GLOBAL SINGLE CHART
OVER 9 MILLION SALES WORLDWIDE
CERTIFIED DIAMOND IN THE UNITED STATES (6.6 MILLION PURE SALES)
BEST-SELLING SINGLE OF 2010 IN THE UNITED KINGDOM AND AUSTRALIA
SECOND BEST-SELLING SINGLE OF 2010 GLOBALLY
The music video that premiered on August 5 broke the (then) record for most views on VEVO within 24 hours (over 6.6 million). Filmed in July, the videoclip features Megan Fox and Dominic Monaghan depicting a toxic relationship. The video was directed by Joseph Kahn and features Rihanna and Eminem standing in front of a burning house, perfectly matching the now iconic chorus lyrics: Just gonna stand there and watch me burn, but that’s alright because I love the way it hurts. It now has over 1.7 billion views and is still most watched video on Slim Shady’s channel on YouTube.
The first live performance of the song took place at Electronic Entertainment Expo on June 15. Eminem later joined Rihanna on stage during her Last Girl On Earth show in Los Angeles on July 21. The duo performed together during 2010 MTV Video Music Awards on September 12. The song was nominated in five categories for 2011 Grammy Awards but sadly lost in all.
LOVE THE WAY YOU LIE (PART 2) (2010)
The song appeared on Rihanna’s fifth studio album Loud and contains more vocals from Rihanna with Eminem’s guest verse. The song’s production is way less busy than the one on the prequel and involves only piano and drums. The song is also described as ‘Rihanna’s version of events‘. Surprisingly, RiRi was at first against recording the sequel because she thought the first part could not be beaten.
“When I first heard the idea about doing a part two, I was just completely against it. I just felt like you couldn’t beat the original. There’s no way you can outdo that, so why compete with it? I fell in love with it. We recorded it, then we did another version to the stripped-down version with drums, then we did another version with drums and Eminem.”
The song originally leaked at the beginning of November 2010, a couple of day before album’s premiere. It is the final song on Loud. Rihanna performed the song as a part of the medley during her 2010 American Music Awards performance. The duo performed together once again at the 2011 Grammy Awards with Adam Levine on the piano.
Rihanna still performs the song during her world tours. It was the second song on the ANTI World Tour‘s setlist.
In 2012 Rihanna released her seventh studio album Unapologetic, and quite accordingly to the title of the CD, it featured an unapologetic song from her and Eminem. The song features samples of Kanye West’s Can’t Tell Me Nothing.
In her Complex magazine interview, Rihanna explained why she has chosen Eminem to be on this track.
“The moment I worked with him on “Love the Way You Lie,” I wanted to work with him again, and we did “Love the Way You Lie Part 2.” And then I wanted to work with him again. [Laughs.] I just love working with Eminem. He’s just one of my favorite rappers, and his lyrics—he’s a true poet, and I enjoy that about him. For this song, I needed someone with not only his skill, but his personality. And I needed someone who really understands the perspective and the metaphor in the song of going numb and being numb to everything around and to say, “Fuck you.” Eminem is definitely the perfect guy for that.”
Rihanna performed the song during the Diamonds World Tour and ANTI World Tour with sick choreography. If someone is the embodiment of not-giving-a-fuck attitude, then it definitely is Rihanna & Eminem.
THE MONSTER (2013)
Last but not least! The last song (so far) from Rihanna and Eminem comes from rapper’s MMLP2 album and premiered on October 28, 2013. It was later released as the fourth single from the album. The monster from the song is fame and in his lyrics Eminem tries to deal with the overwhelming feeling of always being exposed to the public. It was co-written by Bebe Rexha, who then sent it to Eminem’s team.
In his interview with MTV News, Eminem admitted he thought that people look at him and Rihanna thinking they’re nuts so she was the only right choice to sing the hook.
“The perception of the record, what it’s saying, I thought it would be a good idea to have her on it because I think people look at us like we’re both a little nuts. That’s one of the things that I was telling her in making the record: I think that people look at us a little crazy. As soon as I got the beat I just heard her on it. I wanted to make sure that I had it finished first to be able to present to her, but once I had the rhymes done, I sent it to her. I had to send it to her because schedules were conflicting and sh– like that. Plus, the record it was kinda pulled together at the last minute. I sent it to her, she laid the hook, sent it back. She smashed it like she does always. It’s pretty incredible.”
The music video for the song premiered on December 16, 2013. It was directed by Rich Lee, who previously worked with Eminem on Not Afraid and Lighters. The parts with Rihanna were filmed on November 20. In the music video we can see Eminem reliving different moments in his career with Rihanna playing his therapist.
The song scored a nomination and won in Best Rap/Sung Collaboration category at 2015 Grammy Awards. It was number 1 in the United States for four weeks. The music video was nominated in three categories for 2014 MTV Video Music Awards: Best Male Video, Best Collaboration and Best Direction. It reached 100 million views in February, 2014 and was Rihanna’s 12th 3 million seller single in the United States. The song peaked at #1 in the United Kingdom and was 30th most streamed song of 2014 there. The song topped and spent seven weeks atop the Global Track Chart.
What’s your favourite Rihanna x Eminem collaboration? The future will show if these two decide to work together again but in my opinion, it is very possible, since Eminem considers Rihanna “a crazy vocalist” and says “her vocals bring shit to life”. Also, as you could see, all their collaborations were very successful. All we gotta do is wait.