After years of estrangement and a gradual reconciliation, Eminem and Royce Da 5’9″ are collaborating again: A new track called “Living Proof” was released online Monday. The two formed the duo Bad Meets Evil in the late 1990s and recorded several tracks together; Royce appears on a song called “Bad Meets Evil” on Em’s 1999 debut, The Slim Shady LP. But in 2003 a long feud began between Royce and Em’s camp after Royce fell out with members of D12, resulting in several verbal attacks from both sides.
However, a reconciliation began in the wake of D12 member Proof’s shooting death in 2006 — the new song’s title is clearly a reference to him — and has progressed gradually ever since: Em and Royce were photographed together in Paris earlier this year.
“I think after we lost Proof we realized how stupid this beef shit is,” Eminem said during an interview on his Sirius Shade 45 radio show earlier this year. “It was a serious wake-up call, man, and realizing that life’s short. It feels good to be back in touch with the homie. When I rhyme with Royce, I always gotta step it up because Royce is fucking ill.”
On “Living Proof,” after saying “Bad and Evil is back,” Royce’s first verse seems to be about his relationship with Em: “Once again where I fail from blundering/_Shady lifted his wing, then I fell from under it/_Now I’m freefallin’/_My career is gone and the weed callin’/ Regardless of who’s fault I was b-ballin’/_God bubble-wrapped me and dropped me on top of the Earth/_Marshall double-backed and got me from on top of the hearse/_I’m alive, n—a … The writing’s on the wall since n—as seen me at the baseball game with Shady and Jay-Z/_Suddenly everybody calls_like, ‘I’m just checking on you, dog.’ “
Em’s verses feature his familiar combination of self-deprecation and self-aggrandizement, but his first two lines might be in response to Royce’s: “Your body language is sayin’ your confidence is gone/_Well pick ya ass up, lil homie, come on.”