I remember the first time I heard “My Name Is”. I was shocked. Not really shocked by what he was saying, even though it was incredibly vulgar. Not shocked by how good it was, even though it was pretty catchy. No, I was shocked that a white rapper was actually being played on the radio. Maybe it was just a fluke, though, I thought.
But it wasn’t a fluke. He has gone on to be arguably the biggest rapper ever. I think, because of his race, he was able to transcend boundaries and bring young white teenagers over to rap who never would have thought about listening to it before. (I was certainly one of them.)
What I liked about Eminem was how edgy he was. He’d say whatever he though. It didn’t matter if it was going to piss people off. He’d still say it. And it did piss people off. That just made him that much greater. Sure, some of what he was rapping about was grossy obscene. Killing his wife, raping people, killing gays. It was terrible. But it was terribly good. It was so well done that you couldn’t help but like it. Take a song like “Kill You”. This is one of the most violent I’ve ever heard, and yet I love it. The beat is great, the lyrics are tight, and it is so edgy that you feel dirty just listening to it, in a good way.
He kept making albums like this. Sure, he’d have a joke song or two in them, but the meat of the album was always consistent. But then I feel like he started going downhill. There was “My Band”, which became so annoying that I can almost not stand to write the name. And now we have his new album with “Just Do It”, which is maybe his dumbest “goof” song as well as two songs “Toy Soldiers” and “Mockingbird” which have some of the worst rhyming and delivery I’ve heard from Eminem. Its horrible. And maybe even worse, it isn’t offensive at all.
Admittedly, I haven’t listened to the rest of the album, but I don’t have much of a desire to do so. If the songs that they have decided to put on the radio are any indication, the rest of the album is sure to be pretty bad. So I guess what I’ll do is listen to his old stuff and remember what it used to be like.