Lose Yourself

I’ve been actively thinking about the irrelevance of Eminem. He took the hip-hop world by storm not 5 years ago with his self-featuring movie 8 Mile. Before that, he was nothing short of a genius level poet. He could do no wrong, and in his pinnacle work (Lose Yourself) he wrote about his potential demise about as casually as he did any of his post-fame freestyles with lines like: “as we move toward a/New World Order/a normal life is boring/the superstardom’s close to/postmortem” and then “homey grows hotter/he blows it’s all over […] they moved on to the next schmo who flows/he nosedove and sold nada […] and the beat goes on […] I wonder if he was referring to 50 Cent when he talks about the “next schmo.” Instinct tells us that witnessing the same sensation of overnight stardom with your close peer has to ring like eerie de ja vu. Marshall Mathers was never content with the Slim Shady image. In his own words, he’d “created a monster” so far from his original artistic identity that it started to affect his work and his prowess. Specifically, Eminem is a blues artist. Just like many many white artists in black genres (Amy Winehouse and Robin Thicke in 2007), it is more credulous for Eminem to draw on his bluesy self, his dark moments in order to relate to his listeners.

*An aside: being soulful and bluesy are sometimes connected but entirely different things. Blues artists hold pain close to their lyrical construction (see: “Stan”, “Cleaning Out My Closet”) while soul artists use the pain as a subtext, veering off to sometimes create happy effects or rising melancholy. Thus, Eminem is the blues; Lil Wayne is soul. Nas is soul; Joe Budden is the blues.

But without his blues, Eminem lost himself in the rumor mill. Tabloid reports of him and estranged wife Kim Mathers turned him into the Britney Spears of rap. “Celebutante” is not exactly what he was aiming for when he began his career. And now, after a strange voluntary hiatus from recording, the first thing I hear about Double M is that his life is in danger. After three subpar albums, an untimely in his crew (R.I.P. Proof), and a lawsuit from his troubled mother, Eminem stares at the nadir of his recording persona.

His blues might resuscitate him, on the other hand. Maybe the rise has to come after the meteoric crash instead of the other way around. Ol’ Blue Eyes has got to regroup for the sake of lyrics. He does staged macabre much better than actual morbidity.


2 Responses to “Lose Yourself”

  1. 1 watchuknowaboutdat January 8, 2008 at 11:32 pm

    all the exstacy and other fuckin pills has finally caught up to eminem.
    u think its just a little pill til u hit 40 and wakeup one day and your body is totally fucked up. w.e though it was worth it right. listen to drug ballad by eminem

  2. 2 TC January 9, 2008 at 7:51 am

    Great artists do great things when faced with adversity. Look for a “Me Against The World” type deal whenever he decides to come out…

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