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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eminem: Relapse

"Tuned Into Pop Culture" guest contributor Nick Carrabine is a News-Herald staff writer.

First things first: Eminem always has been, still is and always will be crazy.

That is nothing new and there is no getting around that. Whether he is on drugs, drunk or completely sober, Eminem doesn’t have screws loose, the screws never arrived.

Since his last album “Encore,” released in 2004, Eminem almost fell off the face of the earth due to his relapse with prescription drugs and alcohol on top of his relationship issues, the death of his best friend and depression. He tackles all of the above issues on his much anticipated new album so fittingly titled, “Relapse,” which was released in stores today.

As usual the content is dark, disturbing, awkwardly humourous and at times downright depressing.

A year sober, all the tracks but one were written and recorded during his sobriety, which makes him a certified loony with the lyrics that come out of the alleged coherent man’s mouth.

The only track that was written and recorded during his relapse surprisingly is by far one of his most heartfelt songs Em has ever recorded titled “Beautiful,” where he raps about his depression and quitting the music industry on the six minute long song.

“I don’t know how or why or when I ended up in this position I’m in
I’m startin to feel distant again so I decided just to pick this pen
up and try to make an attempt to vent but I just can’t admit
Or come to grips with the fact that I may be done with rap, I need a new outlet”

"Deja Vu" is another brutally honest song where he comes clean about why he was admitted to the hospital in 2007. Media reports said it was pneumonia, Em admits it was an overdose of mathadone and hydrocordone near the end of the song. The beginning of the song, he explains how he started back up with the prescription drugs.

“Blood pressure climbs at a dramatic rate
I seem to gravitate to the bottle of NyQuil then I salivate
Start off with the night well like ‘I think I’ll just have a taste’
Couple of sips of that, then I gradually graduate
To a harder prescription drug called Valium like ‘Ya that’s great’
I go to just take one and I end up like having eight
Now I need something in my stomach cause I haven’t ate
Maybe I’ll grab a plate of nachos and I’ll have a steak
And you’d think that with all I have at stake, look at my daughter’s face
‘Mommy something is wrong with dad I think
He’s acting weird again he’s really beginning to scare me
Won’t shave his beard again and he pretends he doesn’t hear me
And all he does is eat Doritos and Cheetos
And he just fell asleep in his car eating Three Musketeers in the rear seat’”

So this is Em’s past five years in a nutshell.

The rest of the album, Eminem digs deeper into his Slim Shady roots, calling out as many celebrities as he can, fantasizing of murder and as always, his hatred for his mother, who he blames his drug addiction on.

While Em’s lyrics can be downright brutal, offensive, controversial and profane, those who take them serious need to take a chill pill (don’t overdose). It’s all in jest and really, in my opinion, it’s no different than a screenwriter writing a move script about serial killing, drugs, and various other taboo issues. At the end of the day, it's all entertainment and Eminem is one of the biggest entertainers in pop culture history. If you can't stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.

The one complaint I have with the album is the obnoxious Caribbean-like accent Eminem has fallen in love with, which he started using on “Encore.” The accent can be heard on almost all of the songs.

Despite that, Eminem on his worst day is still better than 90 percent of other rappers out there today and Em is far from his worst on “Relapse.”

The beats are solid as the entire album was produced by Dr. Dre, with the exception of “Beautiful,” which Em produced himself. His lyrical flow is on point as always as no one will ever question Eminem’s lyrical approach to a track.

Overall, the album is solid but I’d like to hear "Relapse 2," which is scheduled to be released by the end of the year, until I completely rate Eminem’s “comeback.”


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