A Reflective State: Growing Up With Eminem
Eminem has a new album. Some appreciate, some don't, but there's no denying the influence.
Words by Brian Padilla
The Slim Shady LP came out when I was in 5th grade but it seems like yesterday. I was at Sam Goody somewhere in Providence, RI and I had my weekly allowance, a whopping $20. Right away, I jetted to the Hip-Hop/Rap section rummaging through those ancient relics called CD’s and as soon as I saw it, with the colorful lettering practically marketing the album to children, I was sold. My mom took one look at the back cover, saw “I Just Don’t Give a Fuck” and I went home empty-handed.
Now, 14 years later I can buy (or illegally download approximately one week before the album drops) whatever the fuck I want and Slim Shady just dropped his new album and I wanted it. Well this album seems to be less Shady and more Em if you know what I mean. Regardless, whenever Eminem/Slim Shady/Marshall Mathers releases a project it brings me back to that disappointing day in Sam Goody.
It creates some sort of nostalgia that takes my mind back to every Em album release. When The Marshall Mathers LP came out and I had to hide the tape (literally the cassette tape) from my parents. Every time they found it I would go buy another and find a better hiding spot. Then in 8th grade when I skipped Geometry to go to Newbury Comics and get The Eminem Show which was my favorite of the three because according to 12-year-old me, “he really flexed his lyrical skills on this one!” And I even remember when my Dad, who was a teacher at my high school, surprised me after Chemistry class with Encore. I remember every one of these days. For better or worse this is the artist that raised me. He was the number one selling artist of the 2000’s so he probably raised you too.
I understand that people may not like sober Eminem. At times he is preachy, redundant, and his Slim Shady persona seems a little too forced (specifically on Relapse). Despite all of that, he proves time and time again he is still the best doing it lyrically. No one’s touching his wordplay – no one’s even close.
MMLP2 proves to be no different. Some of the subject matter has changed (In “Headlights” he pulls a complete 360 and apologizes to his mother for the songs he’s made about her) but his lyrical skills remains unbeatable. One of my favorite tracks on the album, “Brainless,” Em spits words out with unbelievable diction leaving me dumbfounded.
Cause I feel like a little bitch, this predicaments despicable
I’m sick of just getting pushed, it’s ridiculous
I look like a freaking wuss, a pussy, this kid just took my stick
of licorice and threw my sticker books in a pricker bush
Those jaw dropping moments however are too brief. What people will remember about this album is the second feature from Rihanna. Or maybe the awkward combination of old star and new star on “Love Game.” Maybe we have become so used to his skills that they go unappreciated and unnoticed with each passing album. Whatever the case MMLP2 won’t come close to the first one in regards to critical acclaim.
At the end of the day whatever people say or whatever is written means little to me. Eminem/Slim Shady/Marshall Mathers dropped an album this week and that’s a rarity. I feel like a 5th grader on Christmas morning. Thanks for everything you’ve done Em, you helped raise a generation.