With inescapable “best of the 2010s” lists and screenshots of Spotify Wrapped playlists signaling the impending end of the decade, Nick Cannon and Eminem have generously reignited their absurd feud to create the comforting illusion that nothing has changed since 2009.
Last week, Fat Joe and Dre released a song featuring Eminem and Mary J. Blige called “Lord Above,” on which Em levels an unprovoked dig at Cannon. He raps, “I know me and Mariah didn’t end on a high note / But that other dude’s whipped—that pussy’s got him neutered / Tried to tell him this chick’s a nut job before he got his jewels clipped / Almost got my caboose kicked / Fool, quit / You not gonna do shit / I let her chop my balls off, too, before I lose to you, Nick.”
Eminem’s predictably emasculating blows, though very much out of nowhere given the peace between him and Cannon in recent years, are the latest chapter in a decade-old feud between the two. In 2009, Eminem first called out then-newlyweds Cannon and Mariah Carey on his song “Bagpipes from Baghdad.” Slim Shady and the pop diva were rumored to have dated in the early aughts, though Carey has consistently denied it. “Mariah, what ever happened to us?” Em raps on the 2009 track, “Why did we have to break up?” He also name-drops Cannon, threatening, “Nick Cannon better back the fuck up.”
Cannon clapped back via Tumblr post—it was 2009, after all. “I’m taking full action on you Eminem,” he wrote in the since-deleted blog entry. “I don’t know why no one has stood up to your bitch ass yet. But I guess it’s going to take a corny, wack rapping, boy toy from Nickelodeon to set you straight. And trust, I am going to be relentless.” (It’s unclear if this is a reference to something Eminem said about him, or if Cannon, then a 29-year-old man, was calling himself a “boy toy from Nickelodeon.”)
After one more unmemorable diss track from Eminem (“The Warning”) and one instantly iconic pop song from Mariah Carey (“Obsessed”), the drama mostly seemed to blow over. In fact, Cannon confirmed as recently as September that the feud had been resolved. Opening up on T.I.’s podcast, he said, “I wrote this long-ass letter pretty much saying, ‘I respect you as an artist, I’m actually a fan. I think you’re one of the best to ever do it, but from man to man, you’re talking out of pocket to my wife.’” Demonstrating respectable self-awareness of his middling talent as an artist, Cannon allegedly told his rival, “I know I’m not gonna be able to out-rap you, but I will whoop your ass.” Eminem allegedly apologized privately.
So why all of the fighting now? Surely it has absolutely nothing to do with the steadily-decreasing relevance of both men involved. On Dec. 7, two days after “Lord Above” dropped, Cannon ribbed at Eminem’s age in an Instagram post captioned, “@FatJoe album is star studded, he even did some charity work and dug @Eminem out his grave I mean cave!!” He then piled on with his own diss track with Suge Knight, “The Invitation,” revealing to countless unwitting America’s Got Talent viewers that he too was once a rapper. The track includes the accusation, “I heard your chauffeur got a video of you suckin’ a cock / You paid him off then laid him off, now who really the opp?” By way of denial, Eminem tweeted, “I never even had a chauffeur, you bougie f*ck.”
50 Cent also decided to get involved, officially transforming the feud from mildly interesting celebrity drama into a collective cry for attention from three middle-aged men at risk of fading into obscurity. The 44-year-old rapper posted a pixelated close-up of Eminem’s face on Instagram, writing, “I don’t understand to save my life why someone would pick a fight with EM. He is a different kinda animal, I haven’t seen a motherfucker come close to beating him man.” That Eminem was actually the one to pick the fight, both in 2009 and now, is apparently unimportant. 50 ends his caption with a threat: “hey Nick that shit was trash, I oughta kick you in yo ass when I see you PUNK!”
In response, Cannon released another diss track on Tuesday. “Pray for Him” is filled with jokes about Eminem’s daughter, his age, and his physical appearance. “Em, you really should start to stare at who’s in the mirror,” Cannon raps, “Look at all the fuckin’ Botox, bitch, I know you’re embarrassed / Fuck all the tricks and the gimmicks / You like the new white supremacist.” As of Wednesday afternoon, Eminem had not responded.
Meanwhile, I can only assume Mariah Carey is too busy counting her annual “All I Want for Christmas is You” royalties to be bothered by the dick-swinging pettiness of her exes. Here’s hoping that the new year will bring more worthwhile things to discuss than likely-manufactured beef between the host of The Masked Singer and the guy who rapped about sympathizing with Chris Brown.