Eminem has released his surprise new album and used one of its tracks to apologise to Rihanna for siding with Chris Brown.

Speculation had been rife over the past week that an extra release was on the way and Eminem didn’t disappoint. The rapper released his 11th studio album, Music to Be Murdered By, back in January, but gave his fans a surprise Christmas present on Friday, December 18th.

He dropped Music to Be Murdered By: Side B with little advance notice. It’s packed with guest spots, with artists like Dr. Dre, DJ Premier, and Ty Dolla Sign appearing.

Eminem also utilised a surprise approach to releasing records for both Music to Be Murdered By and 2018’s Kamikaze, and with artists like him and Taylor Swift increasingly using this method, perhaps this is the future of music marketing.

One of the most notable tracks on Side B is ‘Zeus’, which sees the star offer a long-overdue apology to Rihanna. Leaked recordings from Eminem’s 2009 album Relapse were released last year on social media and reflected badly on him. “Of course I side with Chris Brown,” he rapped in the snippet. “I’d beat a bitch down, too.”

Eminem’s leaked audio was particularly controversial given that he had worked closely with Rihanna on a number of successful tracks previously, including ‘Love the Way You Lie’ in 2010 and ‘The Monster’ in 2013.

Brown, of course, was convicted of felony assault involving his then-partner Rihanna in 2009. He survived five years of probation, even getting back together with Rihanna briefly in 2012 before their relationship ended the following year.

Now, ‘Zeus’ showcases Eminem’s attempt to make amends. “But, me, long as I re-promise to be honest / And wholeheartedly, apologies, Rihanna,” he raps. “For that song that leaked, I’m sorry, Ri / It wasn’t meant to cause you grief. Regardless, it was wrong of me.”

Check out ‘Zeus’ by Eminem: