Yes, Eminem’s New Song Really Is Seemingly an Ode to Tobey Maguire

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Eminem is seemingly paying homage to Spider-Man actor Tobey Maguire in his new single, “Tobey” — but the shoutout is not as random as it seems.

The track, which also features fellow Michigan rappers Big Sean and BabyTron, was released on Tuesday, July 2, and is the second single off the legendary rapper’s forthcoming album, The Death of Slim Shady (Coup de Grâce).

“Tobey Maguire got bit by a spider / but see, me, it was a goat,” BabyTron, 24, raps in the first line of the nearly five-minute song, suggesting that Eminem, 51 – who has been called the GOAT (greatest of all time) by fans and some fellow artists – “bit” him like the radioactive spider bit Maguire’s Peter Parker in the superhero series.

(Upon hearing the first verse, fans had theories about why Eminem only referenced Maguire and not his character. One Reddit user said, “Because Tobey is Spider-Man and Eminem is Slim Shady. The person who plays the fictional part,” while another added, “Probably just for the rhymes man.”)

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The second verse sees Big Sean, 36, repeat the same line before going into his part of the rap. In Eminem’s verse, he repeats the line with a slight variation before rapping the rest of the lyrics in his signature rapid spitfire style.

Fans of the 15-time Grammy Award-winning artist couldn’t get enough of the track and its visuals: a play on the iconic Spider-Man meme in which three Spider-Mans are pointing at each other in a standoff.

“When Big Sean and BabyTron say they got bit by a goat they mean EM. EM also says this in the end saying maybe he is the goat that bit Big Sean and Babytron… So, Em did what he wanted to do, give hope… Amazing,” wrote one YouTuber.

Another said, “Em is actually bringing up the new generation, a legend passing the torch in a sense. A lot of rappers, especially the legends, aren’t doing this.”

The music video for “Tobey” is set to premiere on Friday, July 5, just one week before his 12th studio album drops.

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This isn’t the first time the Detroit native has referenced the Spiderverse in his work. He contributed the track “Venom” to the 2018 movie of the same name. The song also appeared on his Kamikaze album, which was released that same year.

Earlier this week, the Mom’s Spaghetti restaurant founder dropped the music video for “Houdini,” the first single off his new album. Pete Davidson, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg and comedian Shane Gillis all made blink-and-you-miss-it cameos in the video. All three of his children – Hailie, Alaina and Stevie – also make cameos in the video.

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In May, Eminem (whose real name is Marshall Mathers) teased his new album with a faux obituary for his Slim Shady alter ego in the print edition of the Detroit Free Press.

“A product of Detroit who began his career there as a rogue splinter in the flourishing underground rap scene of the mid to late 1990s, Shady first became a household name in 1999 with the debut of his playfully deranged single ‘My Name Is,’ which — along with its uniquely eye catching video — exposed the young artist and his lyrics to a wider audience,” read the eulogy. “That audience was soon exposed to the extreme darkness of the muse/rapper, as he led millions of fans down a road that glorified a demonstrably nihilistic worldview.”

The eulogy concluded, “Ultimately, the very things that seemed to be the tools he used became calling cards that defined an existence that could only come to a sudden and horrific end. His complex and tortured existence has come to a close, and the legacy he leaves behind is no closer to resolution than the manner in which this character departed this world. May he truly find the peace in an afterlife that he could not find on Earth.”

The Death of Slim Shady (Coup de Grâce) is out Friday, July 12.

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