Eminem and Rihanna: Why? He’s the reedy-voiced rapper from Detroit who defined MTV when the channel’s current demo was in diapers. She’s the smoky-toned singer from Barbados who defines the modern musical landscape of free-form hip-hop that sounds like dance-pop, or whatever the hell “Diamonds” is. He’s a confessional storyteller. She’s a tantalizing enigma.
Sure, they’ve partnered on a few songs—most famously the 2010 smash “Love the Way You Lie,” a track that helped define Eminem’s older-wiser-louder circa-2010s persona. But on the opening night of the duo’s joint-headlining Monster tour at Pasadena’s Rose Bowl Stadium, there was still that central question: Why these two together, right now? The ultimate answer, frustrating and thrilling: Why not?