Eminem issues apology to Rihanna for supporting Chris Brown in new song 'Zeus'

'It was wrong of me,' says the rapper about lyric in years-old leaked track

Eminem has issued an apology to his Love the Way You Lie collaborator Rihanna in a newly released song from his surprise album.

The US rapper, who unexpectedly unveiled Music to be Murdered By Side B on Friday, gave a shout-out to the singer in the track Zeus.

"But, me, long as I re-promise to be honest / And wholeheartedly, apologies, Rihanna," Eminem, born Marshall Mathers, raps. "For that song that leaked, I'm sorry, Ri / It wasn't meant to cause you grief. Regardless, it was wrong of me."

FILE PHOTO: Singer Chris Brown poses at the 2015 iHeartRadio Music Awards in Los Angeles, California, March 29, 2015. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok/File Photo

The musician, 48, is referring to an unreleased track leaked in 2019, in which he backed US singer Chris Brown, who assaulted Rihanna in 2009.

In the untitled track, Eminem said: "Of course I side with Chris Brown."

Brown, 31, faced a felony conviction in 2009 for assaulting then-girlfriend Rihanna, 32. He was sentenced to six months of community service, five years’ probation and a year of domestic violence counselling.

At the time the song was leaked, Eminem revealed it had been recorded years before and was not intended for release.

"This is a leak of something that's over 10 years old," a spokesperson for the musician said last year. "After Eminem recorded it, he scrapped it, and rewrote it."

Eminem and Rihanna have collaborated several times, including on Numb on her 2012 album Unapologetic and The Monster from The Marshall Mathers LP 2 in 2013.

Rihanna has not yes publicly responded to the lyrics featured in Zeus.

Music to be Murdered By Side B, which accompanies Eminem's January album Music to be Murdered By, features appearances from DJ Premier, Ty Dolla $ign and Sly Pyper.