With “Rap God” Eminem Puts the Rest of the Hip-Hop World on Notice

Yup, Shady’s back. (Tell a friend.)

It really wasn’t that long ago that Eminem was regarded as rap’s pre-eminent wordsmith, an MC who could change up his flow, spit rhymes like Dr. Seuss on codeine, and exhibit the kind of tongue-twisting lyrical dexterity that makes most rappers sound like the ’85 Chicago Bears.

“Berzerkand “Survival,”Eminem’s first two singles off The Marshall Mathers LP 2, showed the rapper at his brash, bragadocious, goofy, pop culture-skewering best. “Rap God” is something else: a six-minute opus in which Eminem restates his claim to the title of best MC in the game with a gatling gun-like flow that may take listeners ages to decipher. It also begs the question: just how many syllables can one man squeeze into a bar of music? As one fan put it on twitter, “Jay-Z and Kanye West are watching the throne while Eminem is sitting on it.”

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The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is out November 5.

Photos by C Flanigan/Getty Images | Licensed to Alpha Media Group 2013