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Interview:
Eminem, Rihanna bring their Monster (Tour) to Detroit
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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Back when he was making his "Recovery" album in 2010, Eminem had his sights set on Rihanna for a collaboration.

"I'd been wanting to record with Rihanna for awhile," recalls the Detroit rapper -- who wraps up his six-date Monster Tour with the Barbados-born singer this weekend with two sold-out home town shows at Comerica Park. "I kept mentioning it to the people just around the studio, like, 'Yo, Rihanna's dope. What do you think about me doing a song with her?'

"She's a super talented vocalist. But I didn't want to approach her until I had a song that I felt was the right one."

That turned out to be "Love the Way You Lie," and there's no question it was indeed the right one. The song spent seven weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 and was nominated for five Grammy Awards, including Record and Song of the Year. It also launched a relationship that's led to three more songs together as well as the Monster Tour, a 50-song extravaganza during which the two spend a good deal of time on stage together, guesting on each other's material and expanding their combined repertoire to include covers of Jay Z's "Run this Town" and T.I.'s "Live This Life."

They're rapidly becoming the first couple of hip-hop/pop, and even if they don't do a thing together in the future Eminem, 41, and Rihanna, 26, have made an indelible impact during the past four years. Getting ready for the Monster Tour wrap-up at Comerica, here's a look at what they've done together:

"Love The Way You Lie" (2010): Eminem's dark portrayal of domestic violence certainly hit home for Rihanna, who had been assaulted by then-boyfriend Chris Brown before the 2009 Grammy Awards. "With some of the things that she's been through, I thought she would or wouldn't," Eminem explains. "I mean, any song I would've presented her she could have said yes or no or whatever. But I just felt like this one, with her voice on it and the way she sings, it would be crazy if she got on it. And it was." In addition to the aforementioned accomplishments, "Love the Way You Lie," recorded at Effigy Studios in Ferndale, was certified 11-times platinum and was 2010's top-selling song in the U.K. It was also Billboard's Top Rap Song of the year and won two People's Choice Awards, a Soul Train Music Awards and a Teen Choice Award.

"Love The Way You Lie (Part II" (2010): Rihanna flipped the track around for her 2010 "Loud" album, singing from the woman's perspective. She was "completely against" the idea of a sequel at first but changed her mind when Eminem sent her a demo with vocals by Skylar Grey. Though not released as a single in the U.S. it did chart in the U.K., Canada and South Korea, and Rihanna performed it as part of a medley during the 2010 American Music Awards as well as with Eminem at the 53rd Grammy Awards in 2011.

"Numb" (2012): Eminem returned the feature favor for a track on Rihanna's "Unapologetic" album, which also samples Kanye West's "Can't Tell Me Nothing." Though not an official single, it did hit the Top 15 on the Billboard Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Digital Songs and the U.K. R&B charts, and No. 16 on Billboard's Hot R&B Songs survey.

"The Monster" (2013): The duo's second track for an Eminem album (last year's "The Marshall Mathers LP 2") lived up to its name, hitting No. 1 on charts in 12 countries -- including the Billboard Hot 100 -- and giving Eminem his first ever No. 1 Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs hit. "The Monster" was first written by singer Bebe Rexha for her own album but wound up with Eminem when producer Frequency played it for Shady Records' Riggs Morales. It was nominated for the Billboard Music Award for Best Rap Song and is also up for a pair of World Music Awards and three MTV Video Music Awards. Eminem and Rihanna, who stars as a therapist in the song's video, performed "The Monster" live during April at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards.

The Monster Tour with Eminem and Rihanna

7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Aug. 22-23

Comerica Park, 2100 Woodward Ave., Detroit

Tickets are sold out

Call 313-471-6611 or visit www.olympiaentertainment.com

Web Site: www.olympiaentertainment.com

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff

 



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