Like an alien symbiote creeping in the night, Eminem surprised the world with the unexpected release of his latest album, Kamikaze. The final track, “Venom,” is a tie-in to the upcoming Marvel anti-hero movie where Tom Hardy plays a reporter who comes in contact with an inky black substance that turns him into the monstrous Venom.
And much like anything from Marvel, Eminem packed in a few good references and Easter eggs in the four and a half minute banger.
Put on your headphones and fire up your Spotify. Here are all the big Easter eggs to listen for in Eminem’s “Venom.”
7. “When’s something’s in your mitochondrial / ‘Cause it latched onto you, like … “
In the opening verse, Eminem tells his enemies who thinks he shouldn’t rap to piss off, because rap is in his DNA. “When something’s in your mitochondrial,” meaning the mitochondrial DNA.
Consulting with Inverse’s Peter Hess, Eminem is off with his science, as the mitochondrial is the powerhouse of the cell that converts chemical energy from food. That’s not how the Venom symbiote works, but the “latched onto you” part — yeah, that’s what the symbiote does.
6. “L-l-lick like a salad bowl, Edgar Allen Poe // Bedridden, shoulda been dead a long time ago”
Famed weird fiction poet Edgar Allen Poe doesn’t have any direct connections to the Marvel Universe, though Marvel did adapt Poe’s works into illustrated comics in 2006. But Poe is a prominent horror figure, and Venom has always been something of a tragic horror figure (his snappy quips notwithstanding).
At the same time, some of Eminem’s earlier works are prime examples of horrorcore. His first two albums, The Slim Shady LP and The Marshall Mathers LP, are loaded with tracks that evoke occult or slasher movie imagery: In “‘97 Bonnie and Clyde,” Eminem buries the dead body of his wife; becomes a demon and possesses rapper Royce da 5’9” in “Bad Meets Evil”; revs a chainsaw in “Kill You”; and talks about being a “rapist in a Jason mask” in “Criminal.”
In 2009’s Relapse, Em returned to his horrorcore roots with songs like “3 a.m.” and “Same Song & Dance” where he raps from the perspective of a serial killer, and “Underground,” where he illustrates his traumatic five-year absence from music, a period marked by drug abuse and the death of his best friend, the rapper Proof. He compares this time to hell, and his return gets compared to the resurrection of Jason Voorhees.
“Bedridden, shoulda been dead a long time ago,” is a line that goes very very well with scenes from the Venom trailer.
5. “V-venomous, the thought spun like your web and you just caught in ‘em”
You do know what Spider-Man’s powers are, right?
4. “E-E-Elliot phone home, ain’t no telling when this choke hold / On this game will end, I’m loco / Became a symbiote, so / My fangs are in your throat, ho”
First and only explicit mention of the symbiote occurs in the third verse. No one really calls Venom’s terrifying jaw of razor sharp teeth “fangs,” but they pretty much are.
3. “Tie a couple knots, fired up and caught fire juggernaut. / Punk rock bitches going down like Yung Joc”
Any use of the word “juggernaut” in a Marvel tie-in is bound to bring up images of the colossal mutant Juggernaut, who recently made an appearance in Deadpool 2. The “Yung Joc” line refers to rapper Yung Joc’s 2006 single “It’s Goin’ Down.”
2. “So escaping me is impossible / I latch onto you like a parasite, / and I probably ruined your parents’ life”
Again, “latching on” and “Parasite” evoke what the alien symbiote does. In Venom, you’ll see Tom Hardy struggle with the symbiote, which has a mind of its own and feeds off of its host’s aggression.
1. “I’m the supervillain dad and mom was losin’ their marbles too / You marvel that? Eddie Brock is you / And I’m the suit, so call me …”
I shouldn’t have to explain the name-drop of “Marvel.” But Eddie Brock, whom Tom Hardy plays in Venom, is the comic book character who becomes the first Venom and second host of the symbiote after Spider-Man brought it back from the alien planet Battleworld in Secret Wars.
Eminem poetically refers to himself as the Venom “suit,” and his captive audience who grew up listening to him as Eddie Brock. As Em explains, kids who grew up listening to his music (such as yours truly) are infected by his poison. Which, yeah, totally checks out.
Listen to “Venom” below.
Venom hits theaters on October 5. Kamikaze is streaming now.