By: John Kennedy
Eminem’s introduction seemed friendly enough—“Hi, My Name Is”—with its cheap shots at pop stars and resentful digs at Momma Mathers. Yet his debut album’s “Guilty Conscience” more accurately carved out Slim Shady’s appeal: that trailer-park-bred mini devil hovering above either shoulder, whispering weenie jokes and ex-wife murder plots via manic flows and maniacal puns.
The damage control of Vanilla Ice’s Caucasian credibility void was impossible without an MC of Em’s surgical syllable play and deep-end imagination. But Marshall’s stanzas are too hilariously audacious, too masterful, to discount. He’s beloved when playing underdog (i.e. “Lose Yourself,” rap’s new millennium Rocky theme), yet when the 8 Mile spitter owns his position as rap’s most polarizing figure since Tupac, he thrives (“Stan” and “The Way I Am” are both jarring explorations of Mathers’ afflictions with superstardom). Building on the tradition of Luther Campbell and Eazy-E with 24K bars, Em has become a once-every-generation antagonist. And that takes serious brainpower.
Yelawolf, Shady Records recording artist says:
“Marshall’s studio is littered with comic books. And I think that has a great deal to do with how he approaches lyrics: He’s focused on doing the impossible. He makes the most simple things sound complex. He takes everyday words and knows how to rhyme every single syllable. Anyone could do that and have it sound like gibberish. But to say something specific about a particular subject and add in punch lines and metaphors,
it’s impressive. He has inhuman capabilities. When I was in a cipher with him and Slaughterhouse [at the 2011 BET Hip-Hop Awards], he was robotic, almost. He has pure what-the-fuck moments.”