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    Tuesday, September 25, 2018

    #ThemeSongTuesday: Invincible

    Much like pro wrestling, hip-hop has also benefited greatly from the existence of feuds. And in case you've been living under a rock, the hottest one right now is the beef between the Rap God, Eminem, and the self-proclaimed Rap Devil, Machine Gun Kelly.

    Here's what you need to know. The feud began in 2012, when MGK tweeted about Eminem's daughter, Hailie, and called her "hot as fuck." She was 16 at the time and a photo of her had just gone viral, mostly because fans had been shocked that Hailie had already grown up with the passage of time. (Duh.)

    Three years later, MGK accused Eminem of burying his career—presumably because of the Hailie comments—on Hot 97, a popular hip-hop station in New York. And then three more years later, earlier this March, MGK threw shade Eminem on his guest verse in Tech N9ne's track, "No Reason."

    That led to Eminem's own diss track towards Machine Gun Kelly entitled, "Not Alike," which is part of his latest album, Kamikaze, which dropped like an RKO OUTTA NOWHERE last August 31. Four days later, MGK released his counter, "Rap Devil," basically sealing his fate as a SACRIFICE TO THE (RAP) GOD, because Eminem would go on to obliterate MGK on the diss track "Killshot" last September 14. Whew. That was a lot to get through.

    What a lot of wrestling fans probably don't know (or remember) is that Machine Gun Kelly is actually very much part of WWE's recent history. Hell, I became a fan of his music because of wrestling. Let's take you back to 2012, before MGK went full-on fuccboi with that ridiculous manbun.

    Remember this song? "Invincible" was one of the theme songs for WrestleMania XXVIII, which featured the "Once Twice In A Lifetime" match between John Cena and The Rock. I loved the song the minute I heard it because it was one of those songs that made you feel like a fighter. It was an underdog anthem that I identified with because 1) who hates underdogs and 2) I was going through some personal things at the time and I needed a song like this to toughen up.

    "Invincible" was used throughout the build to 'Mania, effectively serving as a handy promotional tool leading up to the release of its music video that June. Bits and pieces of the song were even played during the match card montages that would be shown on RAW and SmackDown.

    MGK even got a live performance at WrestleMania itself, where he performed the song alongside frequent Eminem collaborator Skylar Grey. Kelly represented Cena, who he identified in his words as an "underdog, someone who is not favored to win a fight." Clearly, in the context of that year's WrestleMania, Cena wasn't favored at all. People wanted to see Cena get beaten by The Rock. Remember, this was towards the tail end of the Super Cena era.

    Furthermore, that WrestleMania was held in Miami, Florida, which is pretty much Rock Country, since that's Dwayne's hometown. Needless to say, MGK—and Skylar Grey, by extension—were booed mercilessly through their performance, even though there was nothing heelish about them at all. It was an uplifting underdog anthem, for fuck's sake.

    Skylar Grey didn't sing the hook in the original recording, though. The voice you hear on the hook is Ester Dean, who's most known for being a Barden Bella with Lana, and for having sung hooks on other more popular mainstream singles like "Super Bass" by Nicki Minaj, on top of being an actress, songwriter and producer—basically a multi-hyphenate.

    "Invincible" was MGK's second single ever, and for most people, it served as their introduction to his signature rapid-fire delivery—which is the reason he earned the nickname "Machine Gun." You'll notice this late in his first verse when he drops these bars:

    Let it be known I got the throne like I don't know that there's a king
    Never grew up around a family because I'm not a human being
    And anyone under my level that’s coming at my spot for the top
    Let them have it, cause when I leave, the whole world drops
    Lace up, Kells

    If you want another example of when he goes into machine gun mode, you'll get it early in the second verse, where he doesn't really let up—something that definitely drew me to his style of delivery. 

    I started this column with a look into MGK's feud with Eminem, and how it may have drawn all eyes on him since his career hasn't blown up the way he thought it would've back in 2012. Honestly, this shit isn't really all that different from wrestling storylines in which a young, brash up-and-comer takes on an established veteran—or even a legend—and tries to take them down.

    The difference between wrestling and hip-hop is that in wrestling, the Creative Team will put the younger talent over more often than not. After all, wrestling has always been about building towards the future and creating that next generation of talent—someone remind WWE about this. 

    But in hip-hop, it doesn't really work that way. And it most definitely won't if you go all kamikaze and try to attack one of the best lyricists of all time, someone who is willing to give zero fucks when absolutely engaged, and someone whose burns will scathe you so bad not even a Burn Heal can cure you. Hell, not even a Full Restore can revive Machine Gun Kelly at this rate.

    MGK wasn't the heel six years ago when he repped John Cena at WrestleMania. He wasn't even a heel in 2015 when Kevin Owens powerbombed him off the RAW stage through a table. But in this Eminem feud, he's clearly the heel, and he's clearly jobbing to the Rap God. Lace... down.

    Image from WWE


    Stan Sy (@_StanSy) is the Editor at Large of Smark Henry, and is also a radio DJ on Wave 89.1, an events host, a freelance writer, and one of the hosts of The Smark Gilas-Pilipinas Podcast. He also used to be one of the hosts and writers of The Wrestling Gods on FOX. He enjoys watching WWE, NXTLucha Underground, and the occasional New Japan match. You can ask him questions about wrestling, Survivor (yes, the reality show), or whatever you like on his CuriousCat account.

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    Item Reviewed: #ThemeSongTuesday: Invincible Rating: 5 Reviewed By: Stan Sy
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