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Eminem is getting a little more stellar in his choice of collaborators. He famously enlisted winsome English singer Dido to help out on his biggest hit 'Stan'. On his new album he has aimed a little higher, duetting with Rihanna no less.
The news was revealed when the rapper released the tracklisting for his next album, The Marshal Mathers LP 2. Freshly-tattooed Rihanna features on a track called 'Monster'. He had issued a teasing tweet in September, saying: "Recorded a #monster hook for one of my favourite artists! And that's all I can give you . . ."
The album is supposedly a sequel to Eminem's classic 2000 Marshal Mathers album, suggesting that, like many hip-hop artists, Eminem feels a need to reconnect with his old-school roots, although he hardly sounded passionate about it during a brief appearance on a US football show. "I'll probably be most excited to just be done with it," he said. "It's kind of a revisit to the first Marshall Mathers LP. That's pretty much all I can probably say about it."
It's a typically lethargic comment from the rapper who seems to have been struggling to rediscover his original anger and drive in recent years. The summer UK shows at Leeds and Reading were marred by fans on Twitter suggesting that the rapper had been miming on stage.
The festivals' promoter Melvin Benn angrily denied those accusations but it was symptomatic of the diminished reputation of the artist who used to be the dominant personality in hip-hop that fans could imply that he was resorting to cheap showbiz shortcuts.
The album artwork features images of Eminem's humble childhood home in north-east Detroit (it recently went up for auction). It seems almost like a wistful look back at the environment that inspired his initial work.