Throughout the past two decades, Eminem has been heralded as a national treasure, long celebrated as one of the greatest rappers of all time. When you’re an artist of such legendary stature, not a day passes without a loyal fan manifesting the possibility of new music.
While some speculation may solely be the stuff of a rap enthusiast’s pipe dream—and other rumors debunked as quickly as they surface—that’s simply par for the course. However, for a rap legend who meticulously maintains a low social profile, the safeguarded news of what would be his ninth studio album wouldn’t necessarily leak solely by accident. In fact, with countless examples etched into his impressive history as an artist who plays by his own rules and follows his own timeline, Em is an expert at building momentum and keeping his audience engaged every step of the way.
The 44-year-old’s last album, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, arrived in 2013, debuting at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and later becoming the second-best selling album of the year. As he added another Grammy Award to his storied trophy case for his eighth solo record, he also entered a period of subtle hibernation, taking a break from the studio to focus on Shady Records, executive producing the sports drama, Southpaw (as well as the crime drama, Motor City) and making a satirical cameo in the 2014 film, The Interview, alongside James Franco and Seth Rogen.
Throughout the past four years, Eminem has perfected the balance of working behind the scenes and making brief-but-meaningful appearances in the spotlight, with the 2014 posse cut “Detroit Vs. Everybody” arguably marking the beginning of speculation regarding Em’s future endeavors in music.
While 2017 doubled as the 15-year anniversary of his Grammy Award-winning masterpiece, The Eminem Show, fans remain hungry for more as well as are undeniably curious about what material the spitfire MC has been sitting on in recent years, especially since Trump assumed his role as president. In fact, prior to Trump’s election, Eminem resurfaced once again, with the timely freestyle, “Campaign Speech,” arriving on the same day as the third presidential debate and clocking in at nearly eight minutes for a ruthless lyrical attack against the Republican candidate.
From here, our saga begins as we calculate and piece together everything we currently know about Eminem’s (hopefully) forthcoming ninth studio album.
Eminem Announces He’s Working on New Album, Twitter Explodes
Eminem releases a new song, “Campaign Speech,” on Oct. 19, 2016, pairing the loose single with the announcement he’s working on a new album. Naturally, the news went viral, with fans eagerly commenting in anticipation.
Eminem shared the YouTube link for his latest offering on Twitter and Instagram, adding the note, “Don’t worry I’m working on an album!” Naturally, this was all it took for the internet to lose itself in the moment, with many commenting that a new project from Em was long overdue.
Alleged Album Tracklist Arrives
Roughly a week after Eminem released “Campaign Speech,” on Oct. 21, 2016, a user on Reddit posted what was most likely a fake tracklist. A photo of a one-page document showed the details of an album allegedly called Success (debunking rumors it would be called Roots). The tracklist also boasted production from Dr. Dre (who served as executive producer), Eminem (executive), Mr. Porter, Rick Rubin, DJ Premier, Just Blaze, Boi-1da, The Neptunes, The Alchemist, DJ Michael Keenan and Symbolyc One.
The 21-track album also listed Chance the Rapper, Kid Cudi, Adele, The Weeknd, Vince Staples and Mastein Bennett as featured guests. Considering the disclaimer attached to the post, many fired away in the comments section that this allegation was a farce. Stans pointed out Eminem wouldn’t likely have so many guest features, among other theories. Additionally, the sheet claimed a release date of Jan. 25, 2017, and as we now know, did not prove to be accurate.
Wale Is a Rumored Guest, Along With Guitarist Mike13
On Nov. 19, 2016, guitarist and composer Mike13 shared a photo of himself with Wale, captioning the post with news that particularly caught the eye of Eminem’s fans.
“Just found out I’m going to be playing guitar on a new single featuring this guy & @Eminem,” the caption read. “Pretty fuckin pumped…never worked w @Wale before.”
With no confirmation from Eminem himself, it’s safe to say the verdict is still out on this one.
Just found out I'm going to be playing guitar on a new single featuring this guy & @Eminem! Pretty fuckin pumped…never worked w @Wale before 👍🏿#wale #mike13 #hiphop #eminem #music #defjam #atlanticrecords #nyc #losangeles #fashion #icon #guitar #gibson #picoftheday #instagood #igers #tbt #fbf #sex #kyliejenner #love #grammy
Eminem Releases a 10-Minute Documentary Short, Sparking Rumors of His Retirement
While the documentary, Partners in Rhyme: The True Story of Infinite, focuses on Eminem’s early years in Detroit, many fans couldn’t help but weigh in the archive footage is a sign Eminem is closer to retirement. Just take a look at the comments section on the YouTube page to see how speculation has grown that his highly anticipated ninth album may be his last.
Eminem Appears on Big Sean’s Album, I Decided.
Eminem delivered a guest verse that Big Sean described as a crazy experience, detailing how he wasn’t positive if he was going to be able to land a feature or not in time.
“I’m such a fan that it just meant a lot, for me,” Big Sean shared. “Because, I know Em don’t do features like that. It’s a short list of people that get that Eminem feature, and on this song, he had so much to say. He let it all out. I appreciate that he chose this to do that on.”
While the song doesn’t have too many subliminals regarding a comeback, with a guest verse like that such a blessing feels inevitable. The line “And Tell Dre I’m meeting him in L.A.” also feels a bit like foreshadowing.
Footage Leaks of What Is Believed to Be the Recording of a Track for Eminem’s Album
Producer FredWreck and singer Jenn Em posted some footage from the studio, working on a track rumored to be for Eminem’s new project.
The video was posted originally to FredWreck’s Facebook page back in March 2017, with the caption, “The talented Jenn Em layin down vocals for another for Em.”
While nothing is confirmed yet, the hook reportedly will be sang by Skylar Grey on the song’s official version.
So Fred Wreck posted something that might be a hook for Eminem's next Album and @CrookedIntriago teases us about Eminem in the booth.
— Eminem & Shady News (@ShadyFansite) 27 марта 2017 г.
Eminem’s Manager Paul Rosenberg Shares a Cryptic Instagram, Fueling Release Date Rumors
Paul Rosenberg, Em’s right-hand man and business partner at Shady Records, took to Instagram on April 4, sharing a photo of himself and the beloved rapper. With the caption, “It’s been a long time,” getting fans riled up that Eminem is about to drop new music at any given moment, many fixated on the ineligible scribble on Em’s hand, claiming it reads April 9 and that date signifies a release date. Unfortunately, that was not the case, but a cryptic caption like that is enough to send the internet into a frenzy.
Eminem’s Longtime Collaborator Mr. Porter Adds Fuel to the Fire
Mr. Porter, Eminem’s longtime producer and D12 groupmate, hinted on Instagram back in May that it’s “almost time” for Eminem to drop new music. While the post has since been deleted, Eminem has made several other appearances on Mr. Porter’s page, with many keeping watch for future (and even perhaps accidental) updates.
2 Chainz Confirms He Did a Song With Eminem
During a July appearance on DJ Drama’s Shade 45 show, Streetz Iz Watchin, 2 Chainz spilled the tea that he has, in fact, been working with Eminem on the iconic rapper’s new album. As the conversation revealed, Tity Boi didn’t believe Em at first when he said he wanted to work with him.
Once the reality sunk in that Eminem wasn’t playing around, 2 Chainz shared that the two weren’t immediately on the same page. According to 2 Chainz, Em wanted his help redoing a hook and contribute some adlibs, which he wasn’t really feeling.
After Eminem offered him the opportunity to do a remix, 2 Chainz explained why he wouldn’t be down with that, further championing for a verse of his own. From there, the rest apparently is history, with 2 Chainz explaining that the opportunity inspired him to get competitive as he wrote and recorded his verse.
Dr. Dre Is Rumored to Be On Board
During a recent interview with Uproxx, Allan Hughes, the director of the Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine documentary, The Defiant Ones, let the news slip that Dre is heavily in the studio, likely putting the finishing touches on Em’s new album.
“Dre still records,” Hughes said, during the sit-down. “People don’t know this: Dre records every day. Literally, he’s in there recording songs every day. He’s like Picasso in that way. He’s always painting. Right now he’s producing, in the 11th hour, a track for Eminem’s latest album. So Dre’s still real active in music, you know? But I hear what you’re saying. It’s the truth.”
While Dr. Dre hasn’t produced any songs for Eminem since their lone collaboration on his 2010 album, Recovery, fans are hopeful this new project will reignite their historic chemistry.