At this point, having listened to a number of big hip hop records over the last few years, I have two types of reactions to hip hop albums: The first is I admire the production (and/or the musical diversity) and can spend my time focusing on that. The second is, I can’t do that, because it’s just not that musically interesting, and I’m left with not knowing what to do. This is one of the latter.
I understand Eminem is a big deal. I’m pretty damn sure I am not the person to tell you whether or not this is any good.
Musically, it’s pretty unsophisticated. This is a decade plus since the Bomb Squad and this record feels like it was made in alternative universe in which they never existed. I understand that Dre does a very different thing but I guess I just don’t like the more minimalist side of hip hop production.
The lyrics are obviously a huge part of the appeal, in all their misogyny and violence. Eminem revels in his contradictions and I understand that’s the appeal. I have seen 8 Mile and I suspect that this album was, for many people, sort of like that climactic rap battle – oh, rappers are human and flawed. I have no idea if anyone had ever done this before (or this well). I guess it’s the rap equivalent of confessional songwriting.
I can’t comment on Eminem the performer because I’ve heard a limited number of rappers and have no idea about flow. I know his delivery is distinct. Bu that’s all I got.
But, not being an angry young man, I cannot ever imagine listening to this again, or listening to any Eminem record except for my podcast. He does absolutely nothing for me on any level and the way he used his actual daughter in that song… well, I don’t care if rumour has it he’s a good parent now, that is hugely problematic.
The rating is because it’s important.