Eminem - Relapse
Published on Thursday, 01 July 2010 20:00
Written by BobFreville
|By It Now On|
Guess whose back, back again!
"Hello, allow me to introduce myself/My name is Shady, so nice to meet you.
It's been a long time/Sorry that I've been away so long."
Eminem. Remember him? Of course you do. Cuz every time you may have come close to forgetting he'd release a song called "Remember Me" or one where he reminded you what his name was. But then it was curtains. Sound familiar? Shady vanished like Vanilla Ice's dignity. Seems Marshall was a sick boy and this time Mommy wasn't the one responsible (at least not directly, though she's only a few verses away from being connected to the compulsion).
Em was self-medicating, taking oodles of pain killers and other narcotics, to numb him from the cretins and succumb to all the demons. And fortunately for modern hip-hop these drugs didn't do him in. The malignant MC bounced back with 2009's most underrated and aggressive rap album, Relapse.
As with all of his most powerful jams, Mr. Mathers has drawn on his most painful experiences to create more potent gutter poems of catharsis, closure, absolution and indictment. The tracks on Relapse are both self-aggrandizing and self-asserting, two modes of presentation that Marshall is masterful at.
Love him or hate him or burn his effigy on your barbeque, Eminem is indisputably gifted. His crossover appeal as an artist who draws multi-ethnic, multi-racial and multi-sexual crowds is a testament to this. And, in addition to missing out on more sentient and prescient lyrical barbs, his absence also posed the threat of us losing the voice of one of our most talented and complex rhyme schemers. That's right. Em's knack for verbal attacks has long twisted words to make them fit the larger story he was telling and his flow was such that the stream of similar but unrelated verbiage made for a fluidity that could put a bob to your head and a smile on your face.
I'm glad to report that these skills have not waned. If anything he has honed 'em even more in the interim, this sharpening of his metaphorical knives producing such wicked wordplay as, "I only get naked when the babysitter tells me/She showed me a movie like Nightmare on Elm Street/But it was 'X' and they called it Pubic Hair on Chelsea/Well this one's called Ass Rape and we're shooting the jail scene."
It only gets more mellifluous, more malicious and more enjoyable from here, as Em spits his trademark pop-saturated, pop-prosecuting lines with the furious fervor that made him notorious. And while some will say that his brand of shock value has grown hackneyed, there's no escaping the politically-incorrect charm of stuff like, "In the bed with two brain dead lesbian vegetables/I bet you they become heterosexual/Nothing will stop me from molestin you/Titty fuckin you till your breast nipple flesh tickles my testicles."
Em is on the murderous tip once again, only this time there is more than just one way to skin a cat. And there's more than just one cat... Kim. Taking aim at everyone and everything from spurned ex-lover Mariah Carey and reality mannequin Kim Kardashian to naïve hitchhikers and movie villains, Marshall drums up some serious musical mayhem by way of the macabre. The artist known as Slim Shady prepared for the album by researching real-life serial killers and, evidently, watching a cornucopia of classic horror movies.
"You see that chick in the gym checkin' me out/Any second I'm 'bout, to stick her neck in my mouth." And the story goes on, with that grim figurehead Shady tracking down a girl whose car is disabled and whose On-Star's not working. "I got your back, why don't you put your laundry baskets in the back/And sit up front--I'm not asking--It's a trap/You just got jacked and body snatched/And it's a wrap/In broad day, and no mask for this attack/I heard him say, exact opposite attract/If that's the case it'll take task forces to get you back."
The homework shows, giving the album a unifying theme of madness that neatly mirrors the real chaos Em is addressing. "Stay Wide Awake" is the gloriously grim stand-out on this collection, a joint whose dark ethereal background works harmoniously against Em's morbid and preternatural ruminations on homicide and necrophilia. "They can't see what I can see, there's a vacancy in my tummy/It's makin' me play hide and seek like Jason, I'm so hungry/She's naked see, no privacy, but I can see she wants me/So patient see I try to be but gee why does she taunt me/Pull the drapes and she goes right to sleep and I creep right through the front, see/So blatantly but silently 'cause I know that she's sound 'sleep/Who's wakin' me so violently and whe's he on top of me/He's rapin' me she tries to scream, somebody please get him off me/He's tapin' me, he's bitin' me, he's laughing like it's funny/She's scrapin' me, she's fightin' me, she's scratching like some dumb freak/Escaping me, no dice, you see, I might just be Ted Bundy/Or Satan, gee, what a site to see. I'm dancing in my red panties."
And so it goes, as Shady pulls out the power tools and gets busy with your spleen. This is horrorshow stuff and it seems like this is what Eminem always wanted to make an album about. Which is just fine by all of us who know what Marshall puts into this kind of morbid attraction.
Call me immature, but someone spits some shit like this and I get giddy: "That's my sector, homosexual dissector/Come again, rewind selector/I said nice rectum, I had a vasectomy, Hector/So you can't get pregnant if I bi-sexually wreck ya/Hannibal Lector in the guy section, I betcha/I tantalize ya and in less than five seconds I get ya."
As mentioned before there is a good deal of satire here for those who prefer his hidden comedic talents, but Em doesn't just lampoon and caricature those around him or those he hates. He also lampoons and caricatures himself, nowhere clearer than in LP's closing interlude (in the form of gay support meeting attendee Ken Kaniff). And lest you think Em is all about the juvenile shenanigans, so-called misogyny and silly Triumph The Insult Dog voice, pay more attention. This is Em spilling his guts about the addiction that crippled his spirit and he brings authenticity there as well. The intro to "Deja-Vu," concerning an EMT phone call to dispatch regarding an overdose victim is so factually accurate it hurts.
If you thought Em was irredeemable then toggle over to "Beautiful" for a kick in the nuts and a tug of the heartstrings. Here is where that sensitive and wounded soul named Marshall Mathers emerges to re-enforce the determination and perseverance that obviously kept him with us.