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Grantland/Molly Lambert on the sad truth of Eminem

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by Double Down, Nov 25, 2014.

  1. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Boom. Ethered.


    Most of you probably won't care, but this is pretty great cultural criticism.
  2. poindexter

    poindexter Well-Known Member

    I had zero interest when he was "relevant", and the same level interest now.
  3. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    Thanks for your valuable contributions to this thread.
  4. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Her Twitter feed is going to be something for the next week or so.

    What's odd, to me, about him is that he seems completely self aware. That he knows exactly what he's doing and what buttons to push and what gets press attention and buzz. That it is all an act, a character and that when he's home and all by his lonesome, he rocks out to the new Wilco box set and sings along with California Stars. Please pause to allow this image to form in your mind.

    But the character has to rap about raping Iggy Azalea or punching some dumb bitch in the face.

    And for damn sure, he doesn't want to be his generation's Axl Rose.
  5. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    I think what's sad is that when he released Mosh -- not a great track, but somewhat of a bold stance at the time, criticizing the Iraq war -- I thought: Here it is, the man is going to direct all his talent, all his brilliance, all his lyrical genius at slaying actual establishment figures. He's going to rail on shit that would actually make him controversial, not just fake controversial.

    And then he immediately retreated back to mocking celebrities with stupid shit like "We Made You."
  6. Mr. Sunshine

    Mr. Sunshine Well-Known Member

    Good until the last sentence.

    And 40-60 Valium a day? Damn.
  7. PCLoadLetter

    PCLoadLetter Well-Known Member

    It's a good read -- and it leads me to a question for those of you who are more of an Eminem/hip hop fan than I am:

    How much of this is Eminem stagnating, and how much of this is Molly Lambert (and you, as a fan) outgrowing the genre?

    I'm 5 years older than Eminem and I've never really been a hip hop guy. I recognize the talent -- "Lose Yourself" is a great song, and there are a few others I thought were pretty good -- but I always sort of viewed Eminem as a pathetic, stunted little shitbag who was brighter than he wanted to be. What was he going to develop into? Did anyone really want to hear his thoughts on foreign policy? Is there any precedent for a hip hop artist growing into a successful, more adult music career? I mean, the consensus is Jay Z sucks now, right? Snoop Dogg hasn't exactly grown. Kanye sort of came in as a more "mature" figure than they did, so I don't know if he counts.

    This probably reads as a trashing of hip hop, and I don't really mean it that way. As she wrote, it's a young person's game. The shelf life of a rapper has always been just a few years. Eminem is 42 -- of course he's irrelevant. He can keep rapping about women he wants to rape, or he can play a cop on a TV show. At least the rapey shit will sell a few copies to people revisiting their childhood.
  8. Double Down

    Double Down Well-Known Member

    It's probably a fair question. What I would say is that Eminem has always displayed not only a technical brilliance to his arrangements — This video breaking down Lose Yourself does a great job of explaining it — but also an ability to embody different narrators as a way to turn the genre on its ear. Stan is a great example of this, and I have blabbered on about its post-modern brilliance previously here. I think it wasn't out of the question to expect, given some of these talents, that he might in fact evolve in ways previously not seen by hip hop artists. He was always winking at the audience, saying provocative stuff while at the same time making the point that there was a clear line between Marshall Mathers and Eminem/Slim Shady. Philip Roth might have poured many of his own weird fantasies into Portnoy's Complaint, but he didn't spent another 20 years writing about masturbating. He evolved, and while it may seem ridiculous to compare someone like Roth to a dipshit punk from the Detriot slums, again, he could really do some amazing shit with words and storytelling.

    I don't wish we'd heard his thoughts on foreign policy, I think like Lambert, it just surprises me he didn't evolve into taking on more worthy targets for his ridicule. (The government? Wall Street? The Illuminati?) He made a habit out of punching down. At least when he was making fun of Spears and Aguilera and Carson Daly, he was part of their generation. He had a semi-legitimate reason to be pissed at Aguliera for calling him a wife beater on MTV (his point being that she couldn't differentiate between his character and his real life), and when he was throwing bombs at the dudes in N'SYNC at least they were powerful within the industry and relevant. When a dad with a daughter in college is taking shit about Lana Del Ray or Iggy Azelea in a sad attempt to stay relevant, it's pretty damn sad. Tupac was an immature d-bag a lot of the time, but even by age 25 he was rapping about teen pregnancy, poverty, the crack epidemic, etc. Who knows what he would have done at 40. He might have been just as tired as Eminem seems now, and that's the one benefit of dying young is you never have to see Tupac in a Best Buy commercial or Cobain and his new band playing a state fair. But it feels like, for someone who always seemed self aware, he's woefully unaware of how sad it is for him to be feuding with Iggy Azalea.
  9. jr/shotglass

    jr/shotglass Well-Known Member

    I read it earlier today. Regarding Lambert's points, it seems she's just now intolerant of his more misogynistic moments, utterings, outlooks.

    I think there was a divide on young Marshall way back when on that same count. If you could look past the fact that some of the things he said were just plain "wrong," and judge him on his truth and his musical acumen, you were on one side and could truly appreciate his talents. But a lot of people didn't think that his wanting to pop a cap in a bitch was worth what he brought to the table, even back then.
  10. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    In that same vein, the AV Club sat down for a music roundtable on Dave Matthews Band and Under the Table and Dreaming for its 20th anniversary.


    While many of them, okay all of them, come across as giant hipster douchebags; the consensus opinion is that the album sucked because they have changed and they can't believe they ever liked them in the first place.

    But I have two ears and a heart and was alive in the 90s and I know that Dave Matthews doesn't suck.

    As for Eminem (am I the only one who says the way John Oliver does when he imitates a New Zealander?) when you create an iconic character, you ride that character until you die It is the Shatner curse.
  11. ucacm

    ucacm Active Member

    Ok, I don't keep up with pop music and hip hop like I did 15 years ago, but isn't Eminem still churning out a ton of hits? Reading this thread, you'd think he's working the local Indian casinos.
  12. PW2

    PW2 Member

    I have a couple of quick thoughts about this subject:

    First, I have always thought that someone could write a pretty good essay comparing the persecution complexes of Eminem and Sarah Palin. They strike me as very similar. A lot of his lyrics are about how put-upon he is by everybody.

    Second, Kurt Cobain's band mate is not playing county fairs. His peer, Eddie Vedder, is not playing county fairs. I doubt Kurt would have been playing county fairs. But your larger point is fair enough.

    Finally, I think the Dave Matthews Band wrote good songs and were talented musicians. A lot of the hatred has to be at least in part because of who because their core audience - frat guys and sorority girls.
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