Eminem makes a controversial return with the chart-topping ‘Houdini’

Eminem dressed as an anti-hero in the ‘Houdini’ music video. Picture: X.

Eminem dressed as an anti-hero in the ‘Houdini’ music video. Picture: X.

Published Jun 18, 2024


Eminem, aka Slim Shady, is back and not even his own children are safe.

The rap icon released “Houdini” on May 31, his first song since he featured alongside Polo G and Mozzy on Skylar Grey’s “Last One Standing” almost three years ago.

In typical fashion, the musician whose real name is Marshall Bruce Mathers III, used the track to tell American entrepreneur Jimmy Iovine, Dr. Dre and his daughter, Hailie Jade Mathers as well his adopted children Alaina and Stevie Mathers, to f*** off.

He might have been on a career brief hiatus, but the 51-year-old certainly hasn’t lost his venomous touch.

Those familiar with Eminem’s music know that he is no stranger to hurling insults, even at the most prominent of figures.

Michael Jackson, Kim Kardashian, Elvis Presley, Donald Trump, Pamela Anderson, Britney Spears and many other celebrities have all felt the brunt of his lyrical attacks over the decades.

This time, Megan Thee Stallion caught strays.

“If I was to ask for Megan Thee Stallion if she would collab with me, would I really have a shot at a feat?”, the 51-year-old rapped in “Houdini,” a snide reference to her being shot in the foot by Tory Lanez in 2020.

Recent rap beefs have recently emerged between Drake, Kendrick Lamar and J.Cole aside, it just goes to show that no one can be quite as offensive as Slim Shady.

The provocative song has enraged scores of social media users, who are calling for the rapper to be cancelled. This has often been the case during his stellar 25 year career, and while the internet was not around for much of this time, Eminem is no stranger to widespread criticism over his contentious music.

But amidst the controversy surrounding “Houdini”, it has cemented his status as the best-selling rapper of all-time.

As the first track off his upcoming album, “The Death of Slim Shady (Coup de Grâce),” which is set to be released later this year, “Houdini” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100, becoming Slim Shady’s highest-charting single in ten years.

This also marks the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame rapper’s 23rd career top 10 hit and his highest-charting song since “The Monster” featuring Rihanna, which held the No.1 spot for four weeks between December 2013 and January 2014.

The last time Eminem entered the top 10 was in February 2020 with “Godzilla”, which featured Juice WRLD.

“Houdini” also debuted at No. 2 on the Hot 100 and in just one week, it amassed a whopping 48.8 million streams, four million in radio reach and 49,000 in sales.

In the first eight days of its release in the US alone, the track held the No.1 position on iTunes and Youtube, No.2 on Amazon and No.4 on Apple Music.

On Spotify, “Houdini” broke the rapper’s streaming record when it hit nine million daily streams and in just eight days, it brought the total count to 66.1 million streams for both explicit and clean versions of the song.

Eminem and Dr. Dre in the ‘Houdini’ music video. Picture: X.

On Spotify Global, it featured in the Top 10 in countries such as the UK, Australia, Canada and Germany.

Eminem also reached a new career peak of 75.9 million monthly listeners on Spotify with “Houdini” receiving over 1.2 million listeners to his count by June 7, and the rapper is currently ranked the 11th artist with the most monthly listeners, surpassing the likes of Justin Bieber and David Guetta.

Much of “Houdini’s” appeal lies in its element of nostalgia while relating to a new audience during these modern times.

The track, anchored by the melody of the Steve Miller Band’s 1982 hit “Abracadabra” with shades of Eminem’s 2002 hit "Without Me," sees Slim Shady rapping about his life in the ‘90s compared to the present.

And while the “Houdini” music video features cameos from rap icons and industry friends Dr Dre, Snoop Dogg and 50 Cent, renowned comedians Pete Davidson and Shane Gillis also make an appearance.

As Eminem comes face-to-face with the rap anti-hero he is dressed as in the video, fans are eagerly awaiting the release of his 12th studio album as well as the fate of Slim Shady, as the title of his new album suggests.