November 03, 2013 8:13am PT by Kevin Rutherford, Billboard
Eminem Gets Assist From Rick Rubin, Skylar Grey on 'SNL'
Saturday Night Live addressed criticism over its lack of a black female cast member as Eminem tore through the rock-fueled hits from his upcoming LP during its newest episode (Nov. 2).
The rapper performed singles "Berzerk" and "Survival" -- both top 20 singles on the Hot 100 -- from The Marshall Mathers LP 2, which drops next week and is currently streaming ahead of its release.
For "Berzerk," Em was joined by album producer Rick Rubin and a rock backing band -- and honestly, it's unclear whether or not he was actually lip-syncing through the entire performance. He was spot-on almost throughout, but his vocal seemed to match the studio version to a T, and there were moments where he seemed to lag behind a bit. Still, it was cool to see Rubin -- and his majestic beard -- on the side of the stage.
"Survival" threw us for a loop; rather than featuring Liz Rodrigues, who performs on the album version, Eminem recruited frequent collaborator Skylar Grey to help sing the hook. He admittedly seemed a bit more there on the second song, less cartoonish and perhaps actually providing a live vocal. But in terms of unbridled energy, there was no matching "Berzerk" -- with or without Grey's solid vocal.
SNL returns in two weeks with Lady Gaga as the host and musical guest.
This post first appeared on Billboard.com.