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Eminem releases CeeLo Green collaboration, ‘The King and I’

It's the latest original song from Baz Lurhmann's 'Elvis' soundtrack

By Joe Goggins

Eminem performs live
The biopic is released next Friday (June 24). (Photo: EJ Hersom/DoD News/Wikimedia Commons)

Eminem has unveiled his CeeLo Green collaboration from the soundtrack to Baz Lurhmann’s imminent Elvis Presley biopic – you can hear it below.

‘The King and I’ is the latest track to be revealed from the film, the soundtrack to which features “original songs and recordings” by Presley along with the man playing him in ‘Elvis’, Austin Butler. Also on the soundtrack are contributions from the eclectic likes of Pnau, Jazmine Sullivan, Diplo, Chris Isaak, Denzel Curry and Swae Lee. Additionally, Kacey Musgraves has chipped in with a cover of Presley’s classic ‘Can’t Help Falling in Love’, while Doja Cat sampled ‘Hound Dog’ on her own original song, ‘Vegas’.

Now, Eminem has teamed up with Gnarls Barkley man Green for his own new song, on which he says “I stole black music”, in reference to a charge often levelled at both Presley, for his alleged appropriation of southern roots music in his rock and roll style, and at Eminem himself, for his emergence as a rap megastar in a nineties hip hop scene dominated by black artists.

“I’m about to explain to you all the parallels between Elvis and me,” raps Slim Shady on the track. “It seems obvious: one, he’s pale as me/ Second, we both been hailed as kings/ He used to rock the Jailhouse, and I used to rock The Shelter,” the latter being a venue in Eminem’s hometown of Detroit, Michigan.

“I stole black music, yeah, true, perhaps used it,” he goes on. “As a tool to combat school kids / Kids came back on some bathroom shit / Now I call a hater a bidet / ’Cause they mad that they can’t do shit”. ‘The King and I’ is co-produced by Dr. Dre, and samples Presley’s ‘Jailhouse Rock’.

‘Elvis’ is set for a global release next Friday (June 24), after arriving in Lurhmann’s native Australia 24 hours earlier. Last month, it had its premiere at the Cannes Film Festival, and received a 12-minute standing ovation, the longest for an American movie at this year’s event.

The initial reviews have been mostly positive, with a 76% fresh rating from 50 critics on Rotten Tomatoes, where the consensus reads: “The standard rock biopic formula gets all shook up in Elvis, with Baz Luhrmann’s dazzling energy and style perfectly complemented by Austin Butler’s outstanding lead performance.” Butler revealed last month that his body “started shutting down” immediately after filming wrapped.