Why exactly are these two white rappers so angry with each other? The origin of the disagreement can be traced back to a Machine Gun Kelly tweet from 2012 when the rapper wrote that Eminem's then-16-year-old daughter Hailie was "hot as fuck, in the most respectful way possible cuz Em is king." Later in 2015, Kelly claimed in an interview that his comment, which apparently reached Eminem at some point, got him banned from certain radio stations and had hurt his career. Besides a lyrical shot at Eminem in a Tech N9ne song from Kelly, the "feud" didn't exactly set the world on fire. Even Kelly would likely admit he's not exactly in Eminem's league as a rapper or as a pop culture figure. (Eminem starred in the Oscar-winning movie 8 Mile; Kelly was in the short-lived Cameron Crowe series Roadies on Showtime.)
So, it was a bit odd when Eminem decided to respond to Kelly on his new surprise album Kamikaze, which dropped on August 21 and included a mention of Kelly in the song "Not Alike." "Next time you don’t gotta use Tech N9ne if you wanna come at me with a sub-machine gun," rapped Eminem. "And I’m talking to you but you already know who the fuck you are, Kelly/I don’t use sublims and sure as fuck don’t sneak-diss."
The line caught the attention of Kelly, who responded with his own track on September 21. On "Rap Devil," the Cleveland rapper called Eminem's beard "weird," described him as a qasi-shut-in always "cooped up in the studio," and, perhaps most significantly, alleged that Eminem's manager Paul Rosenberg had tried to sabotage his career. He also implied that Eminem's most recent music sucks, which is an accurate statement. The larger problem is that Machine Gun Kelly's music -- and "Rap Devil" itself -- isn't particularly compelling either. The conflict feels so perfunctory and lame that some fans have even argued that the whole thing is a conspiracy concocted by Interscope, the record label shared by both artists.
During an interview with radio personality Sway Calloway, who was also namechecked by Kelly on "Rap Devil," Eminem actually said he became aware of Kelly's comments about his daughter after falling down "a fucking wormhole of YouTube." However, the Detroit rapper clarified that the reason he came after Kelly in "Not Alike" was more about the allegations of being banned from Shade 45, the hip-hop satellite radio station co-created by Eminem. "Like I'm trying to hinder his career," said Eminem. "I don't give a fuck about your career. You think I actually fuckin' think about you? You know how many fuckin' rappers that are better than you? You're not even in the fuckin' conversation."