Urban Contemporary, 2002
I don’t know what happened, I’m guessing hubris and megalomania, but Eminem’s newest CD sees him whining worse than the bottom bitch at Prison Cell Block H. Twenty tracks (including five short skits) of our dear Marshall Mathers having absolutely nothing to say anymore add up to an excruciating exercise in listening to a buffoon yapping out of his bunghole.
On the first listen, White America is a brilliant, razor-sharp piece of brutal fuck-you wave-off to the media that pegged him as a social nuisance. He has a point when he says that none of the controversy he gets will happen if he’s black. After all, Run-D.M.C. and Ice-T have been getting away almost all the time with their deliciously smelly stuff which can be worse then Eminem’s at times. But after my initial delight has passed, I realize that horrors of horrors, Eminem is now passing himself off as a martyr. You’d think he’s a misunderstood brat the way he is whining, and one has to very naive to imagine that his lyrics aren’t calculated to shock and sell. But that’s what he is selling in White America and making a running theme out of in tracks like Without Me and Sing for the Moment.
Somehow the idea of Eminem whining that the press is giving him too much shit doesn’t sit well at all with his image of an “honest” rapper. What’s the matter, big boy? Can’t take the heat anymore?
If he’s not whining that people are giving him too much crap (oh, spare me), he’s blowing hot air about his “multi-platinum album” (a phrase which he repeats in almost every track) and how women love to used like toilet paper by him (Drips and Superman). I’ve have expected a man who wrote hard-biting stuff before in the past to know that he can’t be loved and not be pilloried by backlash in turn. One can’t have it both ways. And since when did Eminem claim to want all this fame anyway? Wasn’t he who wrote that brilliant fuck-off to his overzealous groupies in Stan?
Only when Eminem sticks his infamous blade into people do things perk up somewhat. But this time around he is ripping apart nonentities who have no consequences outside his megalomania. Who cares about his feud with Moby? That’s one track (Drips) gone to waste in a frivolous penis-length-contest with a persona non grata. Most of his targets in The Eminem Show are insignificant targets that make his admittedly brilliant wordplay petty and frivolous. It’s like a kid at the top of the heap pissing at the lesser mortals down at the foot of the heap. It’s only meaningful to Eminem and his fans that take him way too seriously.
Eminem does has a point. If he isn’t white, I doubt so many white people will buy his album and while I listen to black rap artists and enjoy some of their music, I seldom buy an album from them. Rap just isn’t my cup of tea, but because of Eminem’s race and skin color, he gets more exposure than any other rapper could only dream of.
But in The Eminem Show, whatever he is trying to say is lost under his uncontrolled self-absorbed megalomania. It’s all about him now. He expects the world to listen to him whine about his petty grievances with Tom, Harry, and Dick and love him for it even as he smacks them in the face for making his CD hit platinum. Once there may be a true anarchist in him, The Eminem Show only cements Eminem’s image as a total sell-out and first class whiner. In his own immortal words, oh shut up, bitch.