MGK and Eminem's Feud, Explained
If there's one thing fans know about Machine Gun Kelly, it's his feud with fellow rapper Eminem. It seems even casual observers have noticed the animosity between the two musicians, and after Megan Fox's dramatic Instagram stunts this weekend, the details are coming back to the forefront. Read on for an explainer of this long-simmering feud.
It can be hard to determine when a "feud" between two rappers is legitimate and when it's for show, especially when it comes to performers like Eminem who maintain a lot of notoriety thanks to conflict with peers. Judging by Eminem and MGK's behavior, their dislike of each other seems genuine, and the impetus behind it seems authentic as well. Still, it's good to keep in mind that the publicity from a beef like this does them both good, so that may be a motivating factor to keep it going.
This weekend, Kelly's fiance Megan Fox unfollowed him on Instagram and followed Eminem in a stunt that many fans thought was intended to provoke Kelly. This brought their feud back into the public consciousness, though it has never truly been settled. Here's a look back on their mutual dislike.
The Offending Tweet
@machinegunkelly original Tweet about @Eminem's daughter back in 2012. pic.twitter.com/kwL58VlJog— LordTreeSa🅿️ (@LordTreeSap) September 3, 2018
In 2012, a then-22-year-old MGK tweeted: "ok so I just saw a picture of Eminem's daughter... and I have to say, she is hot as f-, in the most respectful way possible cuz Em is king." At the time, Eminem's eldest daughter just 16 years old. Kelly was relatively new to the music industry at the time and had cited Eminem among his biggest influences. He had also already developed an unsavory reputation for other tweets about young girls.prevnext
Eminem did not respond publicly to Kelly's tweet, but years later Kelly would claim that he had taken action privately. In a 2015 radio interview, Kelly claimed that Eminem had used his industry connections to "blacklist" him from various radio stations, ensuring that he wouldn't get airtime. He repeated this claim in 2017 during a freestyle live on the air on KWPR, saying specifically that he had been banned from Eminem's Sirius XM radio station.
"I'm my favorite rapper alive/Since my favorite rapper banned me from Shade 45," he rapped at the time. This is when Eminem finally decided to make his own response public.prevnext
In addition to Kelly's freestyle, he seemed to make a reference to Eminem on the song "No Reason" by Tech N9ne. Kelly had a feature on the song where he rapped: "Popped in on the top charts out the cop car/To remind y'all you just rap and not God" – a reference to Eminem's song "Rap God."
Eminem finally fired back on his song "Not Alike," which was featured on his 2018 album Kamikaze. The whole conceit of the song seemed to be about Kelly, but there were a few notable lyrics that reference him specifically, such as: "Next time you don't got to use Tech N9ne / If you want to come at me with a sub, Machine Gun / And I'm talking to you but you already know who the f- you are, Kelly."prevnext
Shortly after his album dropped, Eminem sat down for a radio interview with Sway Calloway where he discussed this burgeoning beef for the first time. He denied ever blacklisting Kelly and said that he hadn't even known about the younger's rapper's tweet, but said that he was increasingly annoyed with Kelly's call-outs. At the same time, he said that he was hesitant to fire back, knowing that it could snowball into a prolonged feud that would ultimately help Kelly's career.
"The reason that I dissed him is because he got on – first he said 'I'm the greatest rapper alive since my favorite rapper banned me from Shade 45' or whatever he said, right? Like I'm trying to hinder his career," he said. "I don't give a f- about your career! You think I actually f-ing think about you? You know how many f-ing rappers are better than you? You're not even in the f-ing conversation."
"I wanna destroy him, but I also don't wanna make him bigger," he admitted later in the conversation. "I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do at this point right now, because I'm still kind of waiting to see what."prevnext
What came next were probably the two best-known songs in this entire feud. In September of 2018 Kelly released "Rap Devil," complete with a music video where he brandished a shovel as if to dig Eminem's grave. The song was nearly five minutes long and the entire thing was directed at Eminem, with no pretense to disguise it. The title was a reference to Eminem's song "Rap God," with the implication that Kelly had come to cast him down.prevnext
Nine days later, Eminem responded with an equally direct song – "Killshot." Again, just over four minutes were directed entirely at Kelly, and while he did not film a video, Eminem did release album art that showed a young man like Kelly in the crosshairs of a rifle.prevnext
The feud seemed to lie dormant until Eminem released his 2020 album Music to Be Murdered By. It included the song "Unaccomodating," which had a couple of lines about Kelly. Eminem rapped: "When they ask me 'is the war finished with MGK?' of course it is / I cleansed him of his mortal sins / I'm God, and the Lord forgives / Even the devil worshippers / I'm moving on, but you know your scruples are gone / when you're bron with Lucifer's horns."
The song drew a lot of media attention for other reasons – chiefly Eminem's references to the 2017 Manchester Arena bombing by terrorists. However, it also caught the attention of Kelly and reignited the feud between them.prevnext
'Bullets With Names'
A few months later, Kelly called out Eminem again on the song "Bullets With Names" – a collaboration with Young Thug, RJMrLA and Lil Duke. He rapped: "Killed me a GOAT so my jacket got stains on it / Wipin' my nose like I got some cocaine on it / Pulled out his coffin and ate me a plate on it / Called up his b-, showed my d-, let 'em lay on it."prevnext
Eminem responded at the end of that year with the song "Gnat," included on his follow-up record Music to Be Murdred By: Side B. The chorus of the song included the line: "They come at me with machine guns, it's like trying to fight off a gnat." Kelly obviously assumed this line was about him, as he tweeted: "I'm under your skin" at the time of its release.prevnext
Finally, the most recent exchange in this feud seemed to come in January of 2022 when Eminem featured on Dr. Dre's new song "Gospel." In his verse, he rapped: "Like clothes in between the two roll is a weight / Know, what I'm in is flow, interwoven, I treat 'em like thread / That's how I wound up sewin' Machine up."
Many assumed that he was referencing Kelly when he said "machine," meaning that he incorporated his beef with the younger rapper into his music without missing a stitch, so to speak. Some also took this to mean he had metaphorically sewn Kelly's mouth shut, as Kelly began to steer away from rap music towards pop punk at the time.
With that genre switch in mind, it's unclear if the feud between Kelly and Eminem is over now or simply dormant. Either way, it's hard to imagine that the two have become close friends. So far, Eminem has not commented publicly on Megan Fox's Instagram stunt on Super Bowl Sunday.prev