Eminem discusses being a quitter and how watching Jean-Claude Van Damme inspired him on the song from the “Southpaw” movie.
Eminem annotates “Kings Never Die” on Genius. The song, which appears on Southpaw: Music From And Inspired by the Motion Picture, is produced by The New Royales.
The cut’s chorus features an ironic closing with the line “Kings never die.”
“My dog ‘King’ died immediately after the recording of this song,” Eminem writes.
In the first verse, the Detroit rapper rhymes about sitting “in Lucifer’s den by the dutch oven.” The line was inspired by a real-life incident.
“I actually dutch ovened myself one time,” Eminem writes, “and it was like Lucifer’s den which became the inspiration for that line.”
Later in the verse, his lines, “How ’bout that, I’m somehow now back to the underdog / But no matter how loud that I bark, this sport is somethin’ I never bow-out at” drew inspiration from a 1988 movie.
“Shout to Jean Claude Van Damme,” Eminem says, “I wrote this bar during a Bloodsport marathon on TNT.”
Even though rappers tend to put a premium on authenticity, Eminem says that some of his lyrics at the end of the first verse do not reflect reality, specifically the section where he raps about not being a quitter.
“This is a complete fabrication, because I’ve quit quitting on more than one occasion,” he says. “Such is the circle of life.”