Pink and Eminem both found fame at the turn of the century and haven’t stopped having hits since. They even recently added to their tally of chart smashes with collaboration “Revenge.” When the colorful pop diva first approached the no-holds-barred rapper to work on the track, though, his initial response left a lot to be desired…
Pink herself was born Alecia Moore in Pennsylvania in 1979 to a salesman father and nurse mother. However, she acquired her stage name – derived from the <i>Reservoir Dogs</i> character Mr. Pink – when she began performing on her hometown’s club scene aged just 14. Two years later, meanwhile, she formed Choice, an R&B trio who signed to L.A. Reid’s LaFace Records.
Unfortunately, though, the group failed to achieve any notable success. It wasn’t all bad news for Pink, though: after Choice had disbanded, she managed to score a solo record contract with LaFace. And from there, her career went from strength to strength. Debut single “There You Go” would become a top ten hit on the Billboard Hot 100 chart in 2000, for example; the track’s parent album, <i>Can’t Take Me Home</i>, then went on to sell two million copies. What’s more, the singer would later win a Grammy for her performance on chart-topper “Lady Marmalade.”
Then, when Pink reinvented herself with 2001’s more pop/rock-oriented <i>Missundaztood</i>, that album became even more successful than her debut LP. The record spawned multiple hit singles, shifted 13 million copies and was supported by a sold-out world tour, in fact. And while 2003’s <i>Try This</i> was a commercial disappointment in comparison, it did nevertheless earn Pink her first solo Grammy.
However, she bounced back with 2006’s <i>I’m Not Dead</i> and 2008’s <i>Funhouse</i>, the latter album spawning a number one hit in “So What.” A 2010 Greatest Hits compilation then cemented her status as one of the decade’s biggest pop stars. It also produced a chart-topper in “Raise Your Glass,” as did 2012’s <i>The Truth About Love</i>, from which the Nate Ruess duet “Just Give Me a Reason” came.
Ruess was just one of a long line of Pink collaborators, however, as the star has also recorded tracks with the likes of Lily Allen, Kenny Chesney, India Arie and Indigo Girls. In 2014 she even teamed up with Canadian artist Dallas Green to record album <i>rose ave.</i> under the guise of You+Me.
Behind the scenes, meanwhile, Pink has more than kept herself busy, writing songs for the likes of Mya, Celine Dion and Faith Hill. There have also been contributions to the soundtracks of <i>Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle</i>, <i>Alice Through the Looking Glass</i> and <i>Beat Bugs</i>. And if that wasn’t nearly enough, the singer has taken up acting, too, with performances in movies including <i>Catacombs</i>, <i>Thanks for Sharing</i> and <i>Happy Feet Two</i>.
Perhaps as a result of all this extra activity, Pink took five years to deliver a follow-up to <i>The Truth About Love</i> – but the resulting record proved to be worth the wait. And it excelled commercially as well, as 2017’s <i>Beautiful Trauma</i> sold an astonishing 408,000 copies in its first week of release to top the Billboard 200. In fact, the album had the highest first-week sales of any LP by a female artist since Beyoncé’s 2016 album <i>Lemonade</i>. <i>Beautiful Trauma</i> also reached number one in the U.K., Australia and Canada.
<i>Beautiful Trauma</i> was preceded by “What About Us,” one of Pink’s most politically charged songs to date. Recorded in the wake of Donald Trump’s inauguration, the track attempted to reflect the nation’s collective confusion. Its accompanying video also featured audio footage of a speech from New Jersey’s governor Chris Christie and one particular voter’s defiant response.
Pink worked on the album, moreover, with regular producers Max Martin, Shellback and Greg Kurstin. There were also contributions from other recording artists, including singer-songwriters Tobias Jesso Jr. and Julia Michaels and fun.’s Jack Antonoff. However, only one collaborator could actually be heard on the record.
And that just happened to be one of the world’s most successful hip-hop artists: Eminem. Pink and Eminem had previously worked together on the rapper’s <i>Recovery</i> album track “Won’t Back Down” in 2010. Even so, though, the singer was still nervous about approaching the hip-hop star to discuss the possibility of collaborating again.
Indeed, Pink would later tell <i>Entertainment Weekly</i> that she had only felt brave enough to ask him about a guest appearance after she had consumed copious amounts of alcohol. In particular, after she had been working – and drinking – with Max Martin in the studio, the star decided to email Eminem at home alongside a few more glasses of wine. “This is why they call it liquid courage,” she joked.
Pink didn’t exactly play it cool in her message to the rapper, either. “You know I love you,” she wrote. “I like that you work with a lot of the same people, like Rihanna. She’s hotter than me, but I’m funnier. So I’m going for a rap Grammy, and I’d like to take you along with me.”
Of course, Eminem is no stranger to the subject of obsessive fan letters. After all, the star scored a worldwide chart-topper in 2000 with “Stan,” the story of a crazed admirer who mails him a series of increasingly disturbing messages before killing both himself and his pregnant girlfriend. However, Eminem’s response in this case was far more succinct.
Indeed, while a slightly inebriated Pink ended up pouring her heart out to Eminem, the rapper replied to her request with just one word: “Okay.” Pink then immediately sent the song over to her fellow artist, who was working in Rio de Janeiro at the time. And, just four days later, Eminem sent the finished track back.
Fortunately, Pink was delighted with Eminem’s contribution to the song, named “Revenge.” She told <i>Entertainment Weekly</i>, “I emailed him again, I was like, ‘This is the best thing I’ve ever heard! I want to tackle you and rub your face in the dirt.’” Once again, though, the rapper responded with the same word: “Okay.”
Then in October 2017 “Revenge” was released as the second single from <i>Beautiful Trauma</i>. Produced by Shellback and Max Martin, the song sees Pink take aim at her cheating former boyfriend. Said ex, played by Eminem, then responds in the rapper’s typically forthright style.
Furthermore, “Revenge” received a positive critical response on its release. <i>Rolling Stone</i>, for instance, compared it favorably to the material on Eminem’s breakthrough <i>The Slim Shady LP</i>. <i>Variety</i>, meanwhile, would describe the track as “one of the funnier duets between hateful lovers since The Pogues’ “Fairytale of New York.””
The song itself also charted in several territories across the world, even reaching number one on the US Bubbling Under Hot 100 Singles chart and the top 40 in the UK and Australia. It was Pink’s third hit of the year following “What About Us” and “Waterfall,” her collaboration with Stargate and Sia.
And after the release of “Revenge,” Pink continued to gush about Eminem: most notably, during an October 2017 <em>Billboard</em> interview. “He’s a lyrical genius, I think he’s one of the best that ever did it,” she said. The singer added, “I think he’s funny as s**t. I don’t think he believes in any of the s**t he says. Otherwise, why would he respect a woman like me? Which he does.”