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Monday, February 16, 2009

Slim Shady be flippin' burgers somewhere

In the two years I've been blogging it occurs to me I've not written a word on Eminem. With his new single "Crack a Bottle" shooting to #1 this week, now's a good time.

I have mixed feelings about Marshall Mathers. No question he's one of the most innovative rappers of all-time. The Marshall Mathers LP was a classic. The epic "Stan" might be the greatest rap song ever written, and "Kim," his brutal but fictional tale of murdering his wife, was positively chilling. But he does get lazy sometimes - "Without Me" was a pathetic rewrite of "The Real Slim Shady."

Eminem has had prominent beefs with several artists, most notably Will Smith. After Will bragged about being able to top the charts while writing clean lyrics, Em responded with the clever line, "Will Smith don't gotta cuss in his raps to sell records/ Well I do, so fuck him and fuck you too." I was always hoping Smith would respond, but he chose to take the high road. I imagined Smith saying something like, "Eminem can say whatever he wants as long as he realizes that I helped make him what he is today. If it wasn't for artists like me taking rap music into the mainstream in the '80s, Slim Shady wouldn't exist. Slim Shady be flipping burgers somewhere."

"Crack the Bottle" is alright. The song features Dr. Dre and 50 Cent, so it's nothing we haven't heard before. But it's nice to see Em back on the charts. If nothing else, next year's Grammys should be interesting - Eminem and Kanye West will have to battle for Rap Album of the Year. Neither of them ever loses that award, so somebody's about to be humbled.

Streaming Audio via YouTube:
Eminem, Dr. Dre & 50 Cent - Crack the Bottle

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