"Why be a king when you can be a God?" That's the question Eminem posed yesterday on "Rap God," the 6-minute lyrical pipe-bomb of a track from his upcoming album, the Marshall Mathers LP 2. It's a provocative question. Immediately, some wondered if Em was taking aim at his Interscope label-mate Kendrick Lamar, who famously made his own aggressive claim of rap game dominance earlier this year on his "Control" verse, but in many ways what Eminem was doing on this track was more complicated than that.

Like Kendrick, Eminem named names, but he wasn't going after his contemporaries. Instead of doing what Kendrick did—threatening to (lyrically) murder all his rap rivals—Eminem was placing himself in a historical lineage, imagining his own rap Mt. Rushmore and placing his own bleached blonde head right in there. He was staging a rap mythology session, remaking his own version of Clash Of The Titans and releasing the krakken. Even though reactions on social media were somewhat mixed, there's no denying it was an event.

So, what about the names he did name? Was he paying tribute or throwing shots? To decipher Eminem's barrage of references on the undeniably dense and complicated track, we've offered up a list of the rap gods Eminem was name-checking on his incendiary track and tried to figure out what Em was trying to say with each reference and allusion. Bow down. --Dan Jackson

Busta Rhymes
Line: "MC's get taken to school with this music/Cause I use it as a vehicle to bust a rhyme/Now I lead a new school full of students"
Diss Or Tribute: Tribute. Besides turing Busta's name into a nice little pun, Em is also paying tribute to his old group, Leaders Of The New School.


Slick Rick And Doug E. Fresh
Line: "Six minutes, Slim Shady, you're on"
Diss Or Tribute: Tribute. He's alluding to the essential track "The Show" here, showing off that his hip-hop knowledge goes way beyond the '90s nostalgia most lyricists are peddling these days.

Rakim
Line: "Me? I'm a product of Rakim, Lakim Shabazz, 2Pac N.W.A, Cube, hey, Doc, Ren, Yella, Eazy, thank you, they got Slim"
Diss Or Tribute: Tribute. He lays it all out here.

Lakim Shabazz
Line: "Me? I'm a product of Rakim, Lakim Shabazz, 2Pac N.W.A, Cube, hey, Doc, Ren, Yella, Eazy, thank you, they got Slim"
Diss Or Tribute: Tribute. He's going deep here.

2pac
Line: "Me? I'm a product of Rakim, Lakim Shabazz, 2Pac N.W.A, Cube, hey, Doc, Ren, Yella, Eazy, thank you, they got Slim"
Diss Or Tribute: Tribute. We all know Eminem is a big 2Pac fan. He produced one of his many posthumous LP's.

N.W.A.
Line: "Me? I'm a product of Rakim, Lakim Shabazz, 2Pac N.W.A, Cube, hey, Doc, Ren, Yella, Eazy, thank you, they got Slim"
Diss Or Tribute: Tribute. Gotta show respect to the Dr.

Run DMC
Line: "Inspired enough to one day grow up, blow up and be in a position/To meet Run DMC and induct them into the motherfuckin' Rock n'Roll Hall of Fame"
Diss Or Tribute: Tribute. This was obviously a big deal for Em.

Hot Stylz
Line: "Little gay looking boy/So gay I can barely say it with a straight face looking boy"
Diss Or Tribute: Tribute. This is one of the weirder ones. I don't think Em is placing Hot Stylz and Young Joc on the same level as Rakim, but obviously something about "Lookin' Boy" stuck with him.

Waka Flocka Flame
Line: "You fags think it's all a game 'til I walk a flock of flames"
Diss Or Tribute: Eh, this seems more like some wordplay than a diss.

Pharoahe Monch
Line: "Was king of the underground, but I still rap like I'm on my Pharoahe Monch grind"
Diss Or Tribute: This one's a little complicated. He's paying tribute to Monch in a way, but he's not exactly celebrating him.

Fabolous
Line: "To just come and shoot ya like when Fabolous made Ray J mad/Cause Fab said he looked like a fag at Mayweather's pad"
Diss Or Tribute: Diss. No one looks good in this scenario.

Ray J
Line: "So Ray J went straight to the radio station the very next day/''Hey, Fab, I'mma kill you''"
Diss Or Tribute: Diss. Again, it doesn't seem like Eminem is exactly celebrating Ray J.


J. J. Fad
Line: "Lyrics coming at you at supersonic speed"
Diss Or Tribute: Tribute. By referencing "Supersonic," he lets us know he's about to go a little crazy.

Heavy D
Line: "I'm drunk so Satan take the fucking wheel, I'm asleep in the front seat/Bumping Heavy D and the Boys, still chunky, but funky"
Diss Or Tribute: Tribute. He calls Heavy D chunky and he says he's falling asleep at the wheel while bumping it, but he also says he's funky, so this is still a tribute.