“(High) Energy Flowin’…”
In my last chapter I spoke on how I likened basketball dribbling/ballhandling/streetball tricks to lyrical ability in hip hop. Simply put, a lot of it can be unnecessary but nothing wrong with thinking outside the box IF you keep it entertaining beyond corporate constraints
…and that’s where I bring in my appreciation of one Marshall Bruce Mathers III aka Eminem. He’s in my top 10 since hip hop started (I don’t like the whole “ever” thing), sandwiched between Jay-Z and Lupe Fiasco. I will say Em and Lupe alternate from time to time but Em’s pretty consistent at the #2 spot.
So, a bit of backstory on how Eminem came to his #2 spot: like a good majority of people in 1999 that were conscious to fathom what they were seeing (fancy way of saying people that were alive and aware in 1999) I remember turning on MTV and bearing witness to the madness of “My Name Is”. I was intrigued but I figured this zany White dude was just a reincarnated Vanilla Ice.
Then I listened to “The Slim Shady LP” …followed by “The Marshall Mathers LP” …followed by leaving for college and coming back with my ears full of random freestyles/guest appearances, “8 Mile”, “Eminem Show”, so on and so forth.
I say all that to say that I was VERY wrong with my teenaged assumptions back in 1999. Sue me.
So, while I cannot “identify” anymore with Eminem’s lyrical content than I can with dabbin’ on ranches or eating quail with Chris and Gwyneth…I respect IMMENSELY how Eminem says his zaniness. I could go on about favorite lines, but my current fave is his guest appearance on Big Sean’s “No Favors”. I’ve read a lot of disapproval regarding said verse…but luckily for you I don’t follow blind criticism.
The premise of the song is how throughout their respective careers, Sean and Shady don’t need anyone’s assistance doing what they do. Sean pretty much stuck to “topic” …while Em just Em-ed. If you allow me, I’ll break it down as to why this is my favorite verse of 2017.
“If she was flavor I won’t savor/No taste buds: ho, later! /Fuck you looking at, hater? /I saw them eyes like an ass raper”
-Right from the beginning Shady assaults us with homophones and entendres: people tend to savor the flavor but Em’s tastebuds ain’t about to rescue (save her) nothing! And in, perhaps, my favorite execution of single-line wordplay, he questions someone’s visions while looking them dead in the face. And within those eyes (he just said he SAW THEM EYES) he SAW DEMISE, tying in the whole “ass raper” quip…or, SODOMIZE! Yeesh.
“Try to copy my swag like a cheating classmate
I’ll be the last face you see before you pass
When you get your fucking ass graded like a math paper”
-I was very good in math (well, save for that one Stats class that was absolute garbage) so cheating off me probably would’ve boded better for you vs. whomever copied Em’s style. More homophone play with graded/grated, as well as some homonym action with pass (as in passing by) and pass (as in passing a test).
“So ahead of my time late means I’m early, my age is reversing I’m basically 30, amazingly sturdy, zany and wordy Brainy and nerdy, blatantly dirty Insanely perverted, rapey and scurvy They blame me for murdering Jamie Lee Curtis Said I put her face in the furnace, beat her with a space heater A piece furniture, egg beater, thermos It may be disturbing, what I’m saying’s cringe worthy But I’m urinating on Fergie”
-This. This right here is what I mean when I tell people that I don’t care so much about the WHAT Eminem raps: it’s the HOW behind the WHAT he raps. The rhyme schemes are as ridiculous as the subject matter. Disturbing and cringeworthy, indeed.
“call Shady number 81 Surely I’m turning into the Aaron Hernandez of rap State of emergency, the planets having panic attacks Brady’s returning, matter fact I may be deserving Of a Pat on the back like a Patriots jersey”
-Forget all the parallels of an Eminem return to Tom Brady’s story-written season (y’all know the Patriots’ season and subsequent Super Bowl couldn’t have been written better by Stephen King nor Martin Scorcese) and overt Patriots references: I lost my wig when I heard the “pat on the back like a Patriots jersey” line. It’s so simplistic in its cleverness that you’re like…wow. Kind of like Lil’ Wayne’s “real G’s move in silence like lasagna”, but I digress.
“Inexplicable stomach growl from the pit of it Like a fucking Terrier hittin’ it Despicable, dumb it down, ridiculous Tongue is foul shoot off at the fucking mouth Like a missile, a thunder cloud 100 pound pistol pull the trigger this gun will sound And you’ll get a round like Digital Underground”
-Again: one line in particular made me lose my mind- “and you’ll get a round (around) like Digital Underground”. If you don’t already know, Digital Underground was in the music video for a very famous proclaimer of “thug life” named 2Pac. The name of the song? “I Get Around”. So not only will you get a literal round from Em’s pistol…you’re probably going to be moving around from the pain. And let’s not forget the pit-terrier wordplay. Not the first time Shady has thrown in dogs.
“And fuck Ann Coulter with a Klan poster
With a lamp post, door handle shutter A damn bolt cutter, a sandal, a can opener, a candle rubber
Piano, a flannel, sucker, some hand soap, butter A banjo and manhole cover
Hand over the mouth and nose smother
Trample ran over the tramp with the Land Rover
The band, the Lambo, Hummer and Road Runner
Go ham donut or go Rambo, gotta make an example of her That’s for Sandra Bland ho and Philando
Hannibal on the lamb, no wonder I am so stubborn
I’m anti, can’t no government handle a commando
Your man don’t want it, Drumpf’s a bitch
I’ll make his whole brand go under (yeah)”
-…self-explanatory. Anne Coulter actually caught feelings over this verse while amazingly remaining emotionless about her commentary towards EVERYONE else. So, essentially: eff her. The Trump dig is played out but we’ll be seeing a lot of Trump digs for years to come. I found the shouts to Philando Castile and Sandra Bland somewhat shady (pun intended) in execution (pun not intended): a lot of people would have you believe White folks can’t really speak on “Black” matters, and considering the severity of the Ms. Bland’s and Mr. Castile’s deaths…eh. Eminem’s been accused of being a culture vulture (and has even poked fun at himself for doing so), and there was the infamous tape of him using certain words towards his ex-Black girlfriend so, again…eh.
Oh…and didn’t former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger star in “Commando” 😉
“And tell Dre I’m meeting him in L.A., white Bronco like Elway Speeding, I’m ‘bout to run over a chick, Del Rey CD in? Females- stay beatin ‘em, bet you they’ll lay bleeding And yell, “Wait!”, pleading—but screaming is pointless Like feeding Michel’le helium…”
-John Elway is a former Denver Bronco; OJ Simpson was in a Bronco on the LA Freeway, speeding and whatnot. Both are white in color. The “Del Rey CD in” line pertains to Lana Del Ray having an unfortunate domestic disturbance issue that Em may or may not have made light of…which is something he’s prone to do within his music. There’s also a slick reference to “The Great Gatsby” (the soundtrack to which Del Rey featured on) with the “run over a chick” line. Finally, Michel’le, former girlfriend to Dr. Dre, has a high-pitched speaking voice. Screaming from a naturally high pitch? It would be overkill, or pointless.
So why would Eminem bring up Lana Del Rey, Michel’le, or anything resembling domestic violence? No matter the “abuse” (Eminem’s lyrics or actual unfortunate behaviors), nothing (in SOME cases) is going to be done to stop it. Thus- pointless screaming.
“Leaving them pale faced medium sized welt Straight treating ’em like a cell mate See me I’m climbing hell’s gate Bitch, I’m like your problems: self-made Meaning someone else’s help ain’t needed Cause I’ma—”
-…and now we’ve come to the end of the show. All of that madness for Eminem to FINALLY tell us why he doesn’t need any assistance. I immediately thought of Katt Williams’ self-esteem joke, though…
Man! I hope y’all enjoyed that as much as I did. He might just be talking some nonsense at times, but damn, is it entertaining and mind-bending. I’ll catch y’all next time.