“Gospel” by Dr. Dre (ft. Eminem)
Back in the golden age of videogames, players used to think chiptune tracks like those found on Congo Bongo or Contra were slappin’. But the technology and industry have evolved and proliferated significantly since then, and as of the writing of this post it isn’t unusual for games (or their spinoff media) to have actual soundtracks.
And in some cases, the bigger companies would even go as far as to enlist A list musicians for such causes. So in this case we have Dr. Dre and Eminem, the greatest collaborative duo in the history of rap music, teaming up in the name of propagating Grand Theft Auto (aka GTA).
Anyone who is familiar with said videogame franchise would recognize from the jump that the cover art to this song was directly inspired by it (even barring the “Grand Theft Auto” logo). But usually, when videogame companies employ big-time musicians to drop a track, the goal is to come out with a piece whereas the lyrics aren’t directly related to the game per se, i.e. one that listeners who aren’t even familiar with the franchise could still appreciate.
And in this case Rockstar Games made the perfect, as both Em and Dre are gangsta rappers, and GTA is in fact a series whereas the protagonists tend to be violent criminals. In other words, Slim Shady and the D-R-E putting together a song in the name of promoting GTA doesn’t actually require them to do or say anything outside of their established musical norm.
Lyrics of “Gospel”
So for instance in the first verse we have the Doctor depicting himself as a rich gangsta, with the emphasis being on gangsterism. Put simply, he raps abou his willingness and wherewithal to violently and convincingly deal with those who offend him.
And to reiterate, GTA is a very violent and potentially off-putting piece of software. It is the type that is most-often cited by critics who feel the videogame industry has gone too far. So with that in mind, there is nothing unusual about the sheer violence in the chorus. Here, Dre asserts that he will “put a moth-rf–king hold in your face” or that he’ll ‘ride ’til he dies’.
Of course that latter statement is one traditionally associated with rap music, pointing to the idea of being about that life. But also within the context of GTA it can be considered a double entendre since, as implied by the “Auto” aspect of the series, the game is heavily based on driving different automobiles.
But there is one line in the chorus that is directly related to Dre and Em and apparently not the game. This is when the vocalist implies that he was once a drug dealer but has switched to “hip-hop” since the latter has proven more profitable.
Then the reader is treated to one of those very-lengthy Slim Shady verses. Such passages don’t really tend to focus on anything in particular besides Eminem finding different creative ways of putting forth, most simply put, that he is the man.
So all things considered, one of the most notable aspects of his verse is that he namedrops MMA star Nate Diaz. And he also gives a shoutout to The Transformers franchise and the Kellogg’s cereal brand, which for all we know may well be sponsored acknowledgements.
It should also be noted that in the first verse Dr. Dre, even if only briefly, alludes to his recent divorce. And the reason we’re pointing this out is because first of all, as he also implies in the song, his ex is slated to take a large portion of his wealth.
And secondly would be that it more or less seems that Dr. Dre, to some degree, retired from coming out with new music circa 2015. So it is theoretically possible that, in the name of re-upping his wealth post-divorce, “Gospel” (as well as associated songs) is akin to Dre’s reemergence on the music scene.
And conclusively the title is, as we all know, a term with religious connotation. But as used in the song, it is basically Dre’s way of saying that his freewheeling, money-infused, violent lifestyle is a doctrine, so to speak.
And on that note this track is basically a quintessential Dre/Eminem collaboration, even if the rappers may have lost a lyrical step or two throughout the years.
Eminem and Dre
Dr. Dre and Eminem have dropped innumerable collaborations together, with the former being the main industry figure to put the latter on. Eminem is also, all things considered, the most prolific rapper from the 1990s, having dropped his most recent studio album, “Music to be Murdered By”, in 2020.
However, as alluded to earlier Dre’s most recent LP, Compton, dates back to 2015. And it is possible that he had de facto retired from the industry during the mid-2010s, considering for instance that Dre is filthy rich, even compared to Eminem.
Facts about “Gospel”
This song was written by the two vocalists, with Dr. Dre also serving as its producer.
Gospel was released on 15 December 2021. It is not part of an album. It is rather an extension to Grand Theft Auto Online known as “The Contract”. This DLC actually features Dre, as well as other musicians, as characters in the game. Additionally it sports a number of new songs by the Doctor, including collaborations with other rappers like Busta Rhymes, Ty Dolla $ign and of course Snoop Dogg.
The forthcoming of “Gospel” was made public a few days before its official release.