Sorry, life’s been insanely busy for the last little bit. I know you were probably crouched over your computer screen pulling your hair out saying “where’s the band of the week!?!! where the fuck is it!?!?!” for the last week or so. I’m here to tell you…it has arrived.
This week’s band of the week is an artist I have always respected, from when my mom hated hated HATED him to when my mom would play his songs in the car for my little brother to hear. Oh moms, what are we gonna do with you…asides from shoving you in nursing homes…This artist felt it would be appropriate to express his feelings for his mother in song. Awww, he wrote a song for his mommy, that’s so sweet (tear). She responded with a lawsuit. This week’s artist of the week is…
Yes, I have always liked and respected Eminem, even when he was the biggest pop star in the world and even now that he’s sorta retired or something. I’m not that big a rap fan (Public Enemy, Run DMC and Beastie Boys are the shit though) but Eminem’s combination of wit, emotion, bravado, self-awareness and intelligence won me over from the first time I heard “My Name Is”. When this guy is on, he is fucking ON. He takes rap to a new level on songs like “Squaredance”, “Without Me”, “The Real Slim Shady” and “My Name Is”.
Sometimes his stuff doesnt make much of an impact (ahem, “Ass Like That”) but I blame that more on what rap has become in popular culture than I do on him and his artistic decisions…He’s made some bad ones but he’s made infitely more good ones.
He cleaned up his image as he got more popular but he never sold out. He didn’t start rapping about bitches and ho’s, he never stopped being absolutely outrageous, obscene and egotistical but he made really smart decisions. Playin with Elton John at the grammys: that was brilliant.
The thing that truly seperates Eminem from other rappers and makes him so incredible is his vulnerability. I can’t think of any other rappers who reveal themselves and their history so completely and powerfully on record. Eminem gives us his heartfelt account of his troubled relationships with his mother and his ex-wife kim in great detail and never misses an opportunity to give shout-outs to his daughter Hailie. He also has that crucial artistic ability to emphasize and get into the heads of his characters in songs like “Stan”. In “Sing for the Moment” he sings about the kids who “don’t have a thing/ except for a dream and a fucking rap magazine/ who post pin up pictures on their walls all day long/ idolize their favorite rappers and know all their songs”. He really knows these kids – they often appear in his songs – who are the cause of all his success as well as all the bullshit he’s had to put up with undeservedly. After all, he was one of them.
I do have some problems with Eminem though and that is that sometimes he doesn’t live up to his enormous potential. All his albums are plagued by a couple songs that are cliche’d, overcommercialized and weakly produced. In these songs his turns into a lame white boy rapper who just wants his girlfriend to hear his “touching” lyrics on the radio. Hopefully when he comes back from his retirement he’ll make another incredible album and realize that these songs should just be forgotten.
At his peak, Eminem is absolutely mindblowing. He’ll combine everything that makes an artist great into a perfect 3 minute pop song that breaks across boundaries and his lyrics will hit home with Dylanesque force. “Squaredance” is possibly the greatest example of this with it’s incredible production, slap-in-the-face lyrics and a goofy chorus which only serves to make the message of the song more powerful .
Like all interesting individuals, Eminem has polarized people. Many now believe that he’s yesterdays news and just as bad as plenty of the forgotten rappers who were so popular only a couple years ago. Luckily, Eminem definitly isn’t forgotten and if he wanted to make news tomorow, he’d have no problem doing so. He’s just laying low now, enjoying life and working out his shit. Good for him, he deserves it. Yes, he was a pop star of the same caliber as Britney and Christina but unlike those talentless life sized sex-ads, Eminem is a true artist. In addition to that, he also happens to be the real slim shady. And that’s no small feat.