Was Eminem and Machine Gun Kelly feud manufactured? Some fans think so, and here’s why

Is this the last time you’ll ever have to read something about Eminem versus Machine Gun Kelly? Perhaps — if we’re all lucky.

After a few weeks of treating each other like longtime mortal enemies, the two rappers’ feud ended as fast as it started, its lifespan beginning with the release of Eminem’s “Kamikaze” album on August 31, and seemingly concluding with MGK’s “Binge” EP on Sept. 21. Neither rapper has come out against one another since the EP’s release, with MGK claiming in an interview leading up to the album that he and Eminem haven’t resolved their differences, but that he’s done releasing diss tracks.

It’s been quite a convenient summer for the two artists, with a feud that spanned precisely from one of their releases to the other and scored both Eminem and MGK the kind of breathless coverage and streaming numbers that neither artist has seen in years. It’s a marketing campaign that played out almost as if, like many fans speculated online, that their drama was manufactured.

To recap the rappers’ big month, Eminem pulled the first punch — well, really more like a poke — with a line on “Kamikaze,” his surprise album that initially made headlines on its release for the rapper once again using gay slurs, this time referring to his fellow rapper Tyler, the Creator on a track called “Fall.” Controversy began to mount, but luckily enough for Eminem — who eventually apologized for using the slur — another less-unflattering news cycle quickly bubbled up around another “Kamikaze” track to replace it in the headlines, this one centered around his “Not Alike,” which dedicated an entire verse to MGK’s various crimes against him.

Related: Machine Gun Kelly cashes in on Eminem feud with terrible new EP ‘Binge’

As if on cue, MGK released with his own diss track “Rap Devil,” which became his first solo track to crack the Hot 100, with the rapper seizing on the feud as some sort of a generational struggle, telling audiences that a battle between the past and the (expletive) future.” With fan and media interest in the feud at its peak, Eminem responded with his follow-up track “Killshot,” with the song earning him his highest-charting single since 2013 and the splashy title of “the biggest hip-hop debut in YouTube history” — a distinction “Killshot” likely wouldn’t have achieved if it wasn’t a YouTube exclusive for its first 24 hours.

Meanwhile, the feud continued to be completely devoid of redeeming moments, an exhausting circus of incidents that included MGK telling an unwitting audience to throw their middle fingers up, then claiming on Instagram they were all flipping off Eminem; Eminem fans responding by allegedly doctoring audio of an audience booing MGK; and a parade of hip-hop names (50 Cent, G-Eazy, Iggy Azalea, Jay Electronica, Joe Budden and more) chiming in to stake out their own stake in the drama, with actor Gabriel ‘G-Rod’ Rodriguez claiming he got in a physical altercation with MGK’s associates over his diss tracks.

Both rappers went quiet after MGK’s “Binge” came out, its released announced the week before, presumably to capitalize on whatever interest remained in their feud, with sales numbers for the EP — which sold 25,000 units in its first week — seemed to show there wasn’t much.

Nevertheless, MGK and Eminem both walked away with a boatload of press, hundreds of thousands more music streams and a few new charts distinctions each, which should make their shared record label Interscope very happy. Their Interscope brethren aside, the fact that one producer Ronny J has production credits on both “Not Alike” and “Rap Devil” had skeptical fans convinced that MGK and Eminem’s tidily-conducted feud was all a ruse.

Yet, marketing stunt or not, MGK and Eminem are both here, and we all the losers — at least, of the brain cells we wasted on this pointless exchange.

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