Eminem apologizes to Rihanna 'for the song that leaked' in surprise album 'Music to Be Murdered By'

Brian McCollum, Detroit Free Press
·2 min read

Eminem is wrapping up 2020 the same way he started it — gifting fans with a midnight surprise.

“Music to Be Murdered By – Side B (Deluxe Edition)" landed early Friday morning, providing a 16-track bookend to January’s “Music to Be Murdered By.”

The rapper used one of the tracks to apologize to Rihanna for lyrics about Chris Brown that leaked in 2019.

On his new track "Zeus," Eminem raps: "But, me, long as I re-promise to be honest / And wholeheartedly, apologies, Rihanna. For that song that leaked, I'm sorry, Ri / It wasn't meant to cause you grief. Regardless, it was wrong of me."

In the leaked song, which was recorded in 2009 for an unreleased song, according to Billboard, Eminem could be heard saying: "Of course I side with Chris Brown / I'd beat a (expletive) down too." The lyric alludes to Brown's 2009 felony assault of then girlfriend Rihanna. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to five years probation.

The leaked lyrics came as a shock to fans since Eminem and Rihanna had collaborated on a 2010 song "Love The Way You Lie" and went on tour together four years later.

USA TODAY has reached out to Rihanna's reps.

“Music to Be Murdered By – Side B (Deluxe Edition)" marks the second-shortest gap between studio albums in Eminem’s career, bested only by the eight-month turnaround of “Revival” and “Kamikaze” in 2017-2018.

Guests on the new album include go-to Eminem collaborators Skylar Grey and Dr. Dre, along with Ty Dolla Sign and Dallas rapper MAJ.

Like the January release, the new album draws inspiration from 1958’s “Alfred Hitchcock Presents: Music to Be Murdered By,” which featured macabre readings by the late master of suspense. “Alfred’s Theme” finds Eminem, who turned 48 in October, rhyming atop the distinctive theme tune to the vintage TV series “Alfred Hitchcock Presents.”

Cover of Eminem's "Music to Be Murdered By -- Side B Deluxe Edition," released Dec. 18, 2020.
Cover of Eminem's "Music to Be Murdered By -- Side B Deluxe Edition," released Dec. 18, 2020.

More: Eminem's 'Slim Shady LP' turns 20: An oral history of the album that created a superstar

More: Eminem talks football, quarantine, hip-hop favorites and 'The Marshall Mathers LP'

The midnight release followed a flurry of online speculation and social-media clues this week — signs that something was coming down the pike from the veteran Detroit rapper.

If you are a victim of domestic violence, The National Domestic Violence Hotline allows you to speak confidentially with trained advocates online or by the phone, which they recommend for those who think their online activity is being monitored by their abuser (800-799-7233). They can help survivors develop a plan to achieve safety for themselves and their children.

Contributing: Rasha Ali, USA TODAY

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Eminem apologizes to Rihanna in 'Music to Be Murdered By'