After Eminem spent weeks teasing his new track “Phenomenal” by dropping snippets and scoring a recent Beats by Dre commercial, the rapper finally premiered the hard-hitting cut at midnight Monday night. The song will appear on the soundtrack of the upcoming boxing drama Southpaw and shares many of the film’s themes of resilience and revival. “Phenomenal” also makes allusions to Eminem’s own struggles and fight to rise where he is in the rap world, since a southpaw in boxing is comparable to being a white rapper, as Southpaw writer Kurt Sutter pointed out when the film was first announced.
On the galvanizing, DJ Khalil-produced cut, Eminem raps, “Let me self-empower you/When you’re down and they’re trying to clown the fuck out of you/When you feel like you’re running out of fuel/I’ll show you how to use doubt as fuel/Convert it to gunpowder too.”
Eminem also makes reference to Cypress Hill’s “How I Could Just Kill a Man” as well as Southpaw itself, with the rapper touting, “I write with the left/Same hand I hold the mic with as I fight to the death.” According to the Detroit Free Press, the song was co-written by the rapper’s longtime collaborator Luis Resto and his brother Mario Resto.
Eminem was originally brought onboard in 2010 to star in Southpaw, which would have marked his first starring role since 8 Mile. However, the rapper decided to leave the film to concentrate on recording his The Marshall Mathers LP 2. Director Antoine Fuqua and Sutter then recruited Jake Gyllenhaal for the main role, and Eminem opted to executive produce the film’s soundtrack, which will be released via his Shady Records.
“We have been involved in developing Southpaw since its inception, and Eminem has dedicated himself to ensuring that this film captured his passion for the project through his music,” Shady Records president Paul Rosenberg told Billboard. “We’ve assembled a great soundtrack to accompany what’s sure to be one of the finest boxing films ever.”
“Phenomenal” isn’t the first time Eminem has found inspiration in boxing: His 2010 album Recovery boasted a track titled “Cinderella Man,” a reference to the Russell Crowe-starring history-based fight flick.