Wednesday, June 5, 2002 Volume 67, Issue 144


 
 









 

Eminem draws on past to grasp fate

By Ed De La Garza
The Daily Cougar 

In the three years since debuting with The Slim Shady LP, Eminem has attempted to kill the notion that white artists can't rap; antagonized
countless activist groups; railed against various family members; and reveled in vitriolic and misogynistic lyrics, all the while selling millions of
albums to mainstream America.


Photo courtesy of Interscope Records


On his latest album The Eminem Show, Eminem (aka Marshall Mathers) turns the spotlight on himself and his place in rap history.

But up even through The Marshall Mathers LP (2002), the Detroit MC has rarely fessed up to the demons that serve as his muse. While always
over-the-top, there's no denying the white rapper can flow. But more often than not, he's given in to the usual hip-hop/rap strategy of bragging
about money, cars and women instead of mixing some substance into his Dr. Dre-produced beats.

That finally changes with The Eminem Show. As he alludes to later in the album, Marshall Mathers is concerned with his place in the rap game.
Maybe being different and controversial isn't enough. Maybe it's the message that's more important than the messenger.

It's far from a classic album and has more than its share of recycled material, but The Eminem Show finds Eminem on the right path. And it's
an introspective path.

Beginning with "White America," Eminem tackles the issue of his skin color and the reasons behind people's fears about his content.

With the lines "Look at these eyes, baby blue, baby just like yourself/ If they were brown Shady lose, Shady sits on a shelf" and "I speak to
suburban kids who otherwise would of never knew these words exist" Eminem raises the idea that there may be some reverse discrimination
going on (from his own race no less).

It's the idea that "White America" may see him as a subversive influence on kids they want to keep away from rap and what they see as
negative images and messages.

Despite recent lawsuit problems, the artist resorts to bashing his mother in "Cleanin' Out My Closet," but this time around it includes some
reasons.

While it's hard to feel sorry for him, we can at least see under the surface with "Take a second to listen for you think this record is dissin,'/ But
put yourself in my position. Just try to envision witnessin' your mama poppin' prescription pills in the kitchen."

The highlights on The Eminem Show are among the artist's best. He worries (and actually sings) about his daughter on "Hailie's Song."

It's odd and endearing to hear someone so concerned about proving he's a thug lay himself bare. There's no bragging or disses on this
song. It's just Marshall and an ode to his reason for living.

He worries about his future on "When The Music Stops." He worries that people don't see past the exterior and slap his music with
"controversy" without really listening to it on "Sing For The Moment."

But before listeners start thinking he's gone completely serious, the album ends with a "My Dad's Gone Crazy," a song that features his
daughter walking in on her father using an illegal substance.

If the album had been trimmed from its 77-minute length, it could have been Eminem's masterpiece. As such, it's a step in an unexpected
direction for Eminem.

 
 
 
 
 
 

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