Can You Relate to Eminem? – Subject Matter vs. Lyrical Skill

Inside the XXL offices yesterday, during a discussion about Eminem’s Recovery, an interesting point was made. One that I’d never considered before in regards to Marshall Mathers’s standing as, arguably, the best lyricist of all time (this is paraphrased, by the way): “I just can’t relate to a lot of his content—the killing of his wife and stuff like that.”

This was said in the context of, “Yes, Em is incredible on a technical level, but there’s always been an unavoidable disconnect for me.”

A perfectly valid point, if you ask me. Just not one that’s ever crossed my mind when it comes to Em, probably because I’m an outspoken connoisseur of demented fiction and vivid horror (but I won’t get back on that train here; this is hip-hop, after all). Not that I’ve ever killed anyone, of course, or done anything that’d even earn a hard R-rating and fall into the “Horror” aisle at your local Blockbuster. (Do they still have those?) But, this side of my psyche seems to explain why I’ll forever sing the praises of Em’s mostly frowned-upon Relapse.

That album is Em largely on a horrorcore tip, and I love every second of the damn thing. Yet, I get it; it’s questionable that others can fully absorb and embrace something as absurd and dark as “Same Song & Dance,” or marvel at the detailed descriptions of body disposal on “Must be the Ganja” without batting any eyelash and changing the track.

In a strange way, thinking about this topic brought me back to Clipse’s Hell Hath No Fury, which in turn reminded me of a bigger question I’ve long had: Can someone totally love a piece of hip-hop music when he or she can’t relate to the content in any way? Meaning, in relation to that Pusha T and Malice work, can I—a suburban dude with a purely middle-class, suburban background—connect with constant talk of drugs and other paraphernalia I’ve never actually held in my hand?

My answer, to cut to the chase here, is a resounding “Yes.” Though, I connect to the material on a purely artistic level. How the MC puts his or her words together, and how he or she catches the beat; the songwriting and lyricism, outweighing the actual subject matter. It’s the same as someone loving Quentin Tarantino’s Inglourious Basterds, really—you may not have fought in World War II, and you may not be able to speak in French or German, but you can (I’d hope) appreciate the skill in which Tarantino creates such a brilliantly heightened history. Enjoyment over relation. Pusha T is a hell of a rapper, and I know this. Thus, I’m on board.

So when people condemn Eminem’s unsettling lines and twisted grabs toward shock value, I’m left a bit confused. Sure, we’re all entitled to our opinions, and I certainly have some divisive ones of my own. But, honestly, how many of us grew up listening to N.W.A from the comfort of our cozy living rooms, next to a window overlooking a quiet, relatively safe street? Not all of us, but a good amount, I’m sure. I know I did, a 28-year-old White dude who still loves bumping Ice Cube’s vicious opening lines from “Straight Outta Compton” on occasion.

How do you all feel about this? When Eminem spits blood-soaked punchlines, do you turn the other cheek? Is it important for a listener to relate to a song’s content on a deeper level? —Matt Barone

  • http://Pierzy11@gmail.com Pierzy

    I can relate to Eminem much more than I can relate to Clipse (and I like the dudes from Virginia). I found it very refreshing when he would document problems with Kim instead of 99% of other rappers that have to “scrape hoes off their dick.”

    Sometimes, I think it’s all about relativity and symbolism. If you listen to someone rapping about their struggle (2Pac, DMX), if they’re good, you will be able to relate to them regarding a different sort of struggle you may be having…it doesn’t have to be the same exact thing.

    N.W.A called themselves “The Black CNN” and the most important piece of that is expressing (pardon the pun) or ‘reporting’ what you see clearly so that others, who may not be going through it, can still feel what you’re going through simply by listening. That’s how you paint a picture with words.

    • http://www.sylermusic.com Syler

      Pierzy!

      Matt, I get what you are saying here, but I think the Inglorious Basterds analogy was pretty weak.

  • Cheeba Baby

    I feel ya’!! Sometimes I wish he would just spit and dispense with the other shyt.

  • jburg

    I don’t even think you have to relate to him, just have a broad imagination. Relapse was for the most part a horror movie on cd. It was classic to me. People have to jump out of the box sometimes and realize that its entertainment. If you close your eyes and listen to “same song and dance” you can visualize the whole song, he did a great job with detail in the verses. I actually think he should have made a video for it.

    • Chris S

      i absolutely agree. i, thankfully, cannot relate to stalking a girl, trapping her in a car, then lynching them with 66 inches of extension cord. but i still love that song.

      i firmly believe Relapse is a classic. no questions about it. even though he doesn’t say anything that’s “relatable”, his rhyming on the entire album is better than anyone else in the history of rap has ever done.

      take Stay Wide Awake for example. on the second verse, he divides the second verse into thirds and rhymes the the coresponding thirds all the way down. it blows my mind every time i hear it. and it’s still not as good as the first verse

  • Anonymous

    exxxxxxxxxxxactly… most black rap fans that dislike em deep down inside have a feeling of “fuck! why can’t all that skill be used to rap the usual cliches of money, biches and murder”… but that is what em raps about, just in a more original manner… not following like a little nigga joining a street gang because he’s a bich and don’t see himself making in this world alone because without a gun and a bunch of gun-wielding friends behind him this world would make him outwardly look like the bich he is

    haha eminem is a racist fukboi anyways… y’all motherfuckers supporting a racist

    • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

      “haha eminem is a racist fukboi anyways… y’all motherfuckers supporting a racist”

      ^ WORD???

      So Proof was white? Dre & 50 are white? The D12 crew are all Caucasian? Royce and Obie are white?

  • Anonymous

    Well Seeing as Recovery has leaked and Em is no longer on the serial killer shit, he be talking about His drug struggle, about wanting to diss other rappers, and about the rap game, If you don’t already know the Album is amazing and it could be the best lyrically of all time. Don’t wait for it, but make sure you by it!

  • M. Baby!

    Some people can relate to Eminem and others can’t. Some people can relate to Jay-Z and others can’t. I love Eminem because he doesn’t care all about the fame, he tells stories. When these new rappers come into the game and just to try to make it a hit or just to make money, real Hip-Hop is sinking everytime. That’s why Hip-Hop needs to get back to its roots, putting a message in the songs and being about lyrics. Hip-Hop today is about money, money, and making somebody dance in the club. Those records are important because u need to vent sometimes. But you need music that’s inspiring as well. There’s no diversity anymore. Tell me the last time you heard a main single that’s inspiring. The last time I heard something like that was when 2Pac & Big were here. Don’t get me wrong, their were songs from others after Big & Pac but they weren’t big like they were before. Everybody is doing the same thing, using the same type of beats, and everything. JBurg is right, u can’t relate to every rapper because everyone’s upbringing is different…but you need to at least have an open mind. Even A&R’s don’t have an open mind like they used to. Everything can’t be all about money, cars, clothes, & girls. Come on man, talk about what’s going on in the world and the problems. This oil spill is crazy, we’re still @ war since 2001, racism still exists, Jena 6, crime, why is the President hated on, why did all of these people resign after Obama exposed them, all of these major companies getting a government funded bailout, unemployment, and etc. Hip-Hop needs someone new to come into the game to talk about these things. But it will get overlooked because it doesn’t make u dance or it’s not a catchy phrase, it actually makes u think. N*ggaz don’t wanna use their brain anymore to think….sad

  • hater

    conceptual rap does exist……..

    25 to life; its an amazing story, about his love hate relationship with hip hop. Refreshing

    Music is like bitches, everyone has their own taste. If you like Em, its a nice album. If you dont, their is plenty to hate on.

    I cant stand this constant shit about whos the best and whos gay, nigga drake is straight if you got your bitch with you and you want to tear that ass up, and EM is straight for the times you just want to hear some crazy shit.

  • Rap24

    Im white,i can`t relate to what Jay Z raps about,but i still bump his shit cos its dope music.I dont give fuck if i can relate or not.If i like it,i listen.

  • these posts are racist

    Everyone has their own reasons for listening to hip hop. It’s an interesting and unique art form. People watch Godfather, Goodfellas, etc and nobody questions the content or says the listeners are cold blooded killers for enjoying these movies. Rap, partly due to the fault of the rappers (always using “spittin it as they livin’ it” as the standard for rap’s content) has always been held to that standard. And so rapper’s who rap about things they never did are deemed fake, and so are the listeners who don’t kill, f hoe’s and sell drugs…But in fact, that’s not the case. Indeed, rappers take on fake names of people who lived lives they never have, see Ricky Ross, or even Biggie (Frank White). Em is just an interesting example. He used to take real life drama, Kim, elementary bullies and rap about them, while mixing fantasy, satire and fictional horror. Relapse was simply a rap Horror flick, period. For me, as a kid growing up in the ‘hood, rap was an escape. For others, that’s up to them – there is no standard.

  • Sha

    This is some seriously funny shit! XXL…are you serious with this one?!

    Where do I start….. First. Let’s keep it real. Hip-Hop and emceeing is no different than being a professional writer, actor, ball player, or politician. Why? What is the common thread in each of these professions? They are all called upon to paint a picture and live within that imaginary picture for us mere mortals. In other words…. The common thread is to LIE….LIE…LIE.

    Now there are a few emcees that actually live what they spit. But even the realest of the real tells the occasional lie to get chart play. Shit… Eminem did it when he bodied his wife. Jay does it when he talks about killing people. Tupac did it. Biggie did it. THEY ALL LIE.

    Now…. I never looked to hip-hop to teach me anything beyond what I got from my father. My father raised me…. Not hip-hop. But occasionally hip-hop does teach. Those moments are few and far between but they happen.

    Everyone’s a teacher. They can teach you 2 things. #1 What to do…. #2 What not to do….

    It is entertaining for Eminem to put his life out there for our entertainment. But I would rather he would get some help. All of us want to put this cat up there like he is some type of genius, when the truth is, he needs serious…serious…serious psychological help. Yeah, hip-hop gave him a venue to spit his so-called “True” feelings, but the world didn’t give him anything but money in return for that. And money only amplifies the problems within us. The more money, the more fucked up the person.

    I never want to relate to any of these emcees. I would rather relate to someone that has given me the lessons for the life I live now. Peace to my father…. Peace to my uncles and my cousins…..

    Eminem gave us entertainment. And I NEVER NEVER NEVER want to relate to that. Especially someone so fucked up as Eminem. Stop putting these people up as role-models. They clearly aren’t. THE REALEST TALK.

    • P

      are you joking with that “eminem needs serious help” ?? MUSIC IS HIS THERAPY ITS EVERY ARTIST THERAPY OTHERWISE THEY”D BE KILLING MUTHA FUCKAS……dam son you must be stupid.

  • e-furious

    I’m 23 years old white male from Azerbaijan (ever heard of?) working in public service and…… I love dead prez as fuck. i’m no way related to them, i stand on absolutely opposite side, but anyway, for me there is no one as real as them dudes……

  • CLARK

    I relate to eminem more than i relalte any other rapper

  • http://www.jamal7mile.blogspot.com Jamal7Mile

    You don’t have to relate to an artist in order to enjoy them. But it’s an added plus when you do. Em winning his fight with drugs (so far) is exactly like me winning my fight with alcohol (so far). I can relate to that.

    Those who “hate” on Eminem (God I can’t stand that word!) because they can’t relate to him are using that as an excuse to hide why they really hate him.

    Any fans of Rob Zombie movies in here? I love those movies and I can’t relate to not nary one character he’s EVER created. And I really hope none of you can either. It’s the same with Eminem (throw a lil Detroit bias in there too).

    Bottom line, whether or not you can relate to him is a moot point. A flawed argument. A cop-out when used to describe your hatred for him.

    “Can someone totally love a piece of hip-hop music when he or she can’t relate to the content in any way? …My answer, to cut to the chase here, is a resounding YES.” – Matt Barone.

    Me too, Matt, me too…

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  • beaver

    yea i relate to em in some ways but not entirely..some songs yes..either way em is dope..makes dope/great music…so i have to support him..oh and i grew up listenin to him..prob my fav song would be..
    “Sing for the moment”relate to that song so much.

    well my fav artist is joe budden..cuz he says the realest shit. i relate to him more than a any other artist..ANY…
    budden is real with his fans..he lets people know the real him..tells people bout his prob..vents threw his music..thats what makes him dope..plus he has mad skillz.

  • KLETEWOOD

    Its impossible to relate to all lyrical topics on an Em CD. But…on Relapse, he’s pretty much the only rapper to rap specifically about the names of prescription medication (Klonipin, Zani’s, Valium, Vikes, Methadone, Lunesta)….etc.

    I know a ton of people who are taking prescription meds and we all can relate.

    Now…killing his wife was on his older CD’s was his main topic. Probably because his wife was a junkie/cheater and she pissed him off all the time. Just like his mom. People relate to this topic.

    Now…with Recovery. I know a handful of people who have been to REHAB. Mainly for Meth & Pills. But… these types of people can relate. His album will sell. Em is the only rapper who rap’s about overcoming drugs. Therefore, there’s a market.

  • hate

    that new joint with rhianna is some shit that every young’n with a girl can relate to.
    i don’t know anyone in my hood that don’t fight crazy with they girl.
    (30+ year olds not included)

  • http://wtf S on my Chest

    I could relate to the Slim Shady LP (Rock bottom and I just don’t give a fuck(Especially rock bottom at the timee)). I can relate to drama with my mom. So yeah I can relate to some of his shit.

  • jerod

    This is why I decided to start rapping. I fell in Love with the hip hop community… but soon realized that I’m unable to relate to absolutely ANYONE in The Game. So I figured, if I want to listen to rap… I’m gonna have to make my own.

    I have nothing to do with guns.
    Got nothing to do with money. Ha!
    Ladies aren’t hoes.

    I can relate to weed smoking though. I love that shit!

  • http://xxlmag.com Ben

    Em is cold point blank period.

  • avenger xl

    This is entertainment and the closet thing some folks will get to the world of poetry. There isn’t a lot of personal lyricts who connect with human emotions. Most of them pretty much sensationalize emotions or situation and never put things in the veiw of the everyman. It usually only covers base juvenile emotions that lie at the surface of all of us like lust,greed,anger,superficial love etc… There are rappers who deal with deeper more broad emotions but they are not the most famous mainstream acts.
    Go listen to sage francis,
    brother Ali,Atmosphere,psalms,common etc… these are artist that cover life issues that you may feel more.

    Most mainstream artists especially rap music mainstream is supposed to be escape entertainment. Gangsta rap lets people feel powerful and rebellious. This whole country is fascinated with the killer/villan/bad guy. They want to know what makes them tick and it plays back to deep psychological things wired into us since we were kids.

    So I relate to EM on a level of enjoying lyrics and the performing of said lyrics. Em has never been that emotional of a rapper in my opinion because even in his most emotional moments he stuck with the simple base reactions that we all have on some level.

  • Blues

    Im white and from Norway.Cops in the street here dont carry guns,thats how low the crime rate is here.But i can still listen to Hard Knock Life by Jayz for example,because the lyrics are good and the song is dope.I cant relate,but its good music.I find it strange that some people HAVE to relate to a rapper to enjoy his music

  • 3xanon

    I’m white from Sweden, upper middleclass, nice neighbourhoods, good family and friends. In other words, I have nothing in common with anyone worth their name in hiphiop and still I love it, I don’t find Em’s lyrics that disturbing, I find them funny. Shady must be like one of the top 3 funniest guys on the planet. I do beleive that there is a large section of “lower class” white America that can relate to alot of his texts, with how difficult it is to fit in sometimes, coming from a poor broken home. I mostly love it because hip hop often has a strong “believe in yourself” message, the “I’m the best”-mentality. All of his crazy lyrics are so over the top that they are impossible to take seriously anyways.

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  • Will

    LMAO at ice cube comment…Its crazy I know a white boy who loves that ice cube intro and still bumpin that in his jeep….anyway…I relate to em….songs like Lose yourself and now not afraid….helps me relate to him…he is one of the Greatest….some still have issues to admit that because he is white….Lil wayne started cash money at 11…whe he talks about guns and cocaine…all the gangsters relate to him…when you think about…some of those he has to make them up…so leave eminem alone….that music…better yet….entertainment

  • The1987Kid

    You know its funny to me how some are implying that if you don’t like Eminem or can’t relate to him then you must have a deep hatred for him, Ok if were going to say that then lets think about this, Any white person that can’t relate to Diddy or Jay-Z must have a deep hatered for them, Is it because that these two black men from the ghetto make it in a mostly white corperate space & making a killing or do those white people think Jay-Z is scum cause of his former past as a hustler, with his big lips, nose & made it to the top of by pulling himself by his bootstraps, Its a two way street.

    Eminem is an amazing rapper but i also see that people (mostly white) let him grow as an artist (Which he hasent to much he has been doing the same horrorcore style since he Infinate album) But when a black rap artist like Common, Talib Kweli, Immortal Technique & Mos Def grow its almost a opposite effect they get dissed as too preachy, too organic, not hood, not relavent, lame etc. Its like they have to be stereotypical thug & gangsters to sell records and be accepted but people say their tired of hearing about durgs, hoes & guns well those same people that say that on one hand then go buy 50 Cent, Rick Ross & Lil’ Wayne albums then say their diverse in taste, People can’t have it both ways their are plenty of artist besides Eminem that content is not all about bitches, hoes & clothes.

    Some people not all will never accept a intelligent conscience black man that speaks on real life topics with dope concepts, witty lyrics & a believable persona cause it might come off as racist to whites (i.e. Dead Prez, X-CLan, Public Enemy, Brand Nubian, Ras Kass & Ice Cube) & lame or not relavent to blacks, Black artist can kill each other (Nas- Shoot Em Up, Suspect) but when they kick other positive concepts (Nas- I Can, Bridging The Gap ) then it doesent sell or get acknowledge cause its not the norm, So i think its all about what people’s person bias & labling what is too white & what is too black..

  • dhruv

    Eminem is my favorite rapper hands down. But there comes a point in ever rappers career where he just needs to call it a quits. While eminem is an extraordinary rapper his subject matter is incredibly limited as one could tell by encore. Bythe time he made mockingbird the concept just got old. I mean it happens to every rapper from Jay-z(after 11 albums you would run out of stuff too) to Cypress hill and Rakim( god his album sucked). People want to hear about something they can relate to yes, but not the same god damn problem for ten years we start to wonder whether the guy is retarded or not and cannot fix his problems.And making fun of Christopher Reeves is not good subject matter in any context, it is just plain rude. Thething about shock value too is that if someone ever made fun of eminem’s friends or family , just purley for shock value we all know eminem would go fing crazy so the shock value looses its appeal with him after idk ten years. I mean seriously your beefing with nick cannon. Who the hell is nick cannon

    • P

      dont know if you didnt realize this already…but please point out the shock value formula thats worked so great for him in the past and tell me where it is on recovery…..guess what? not there, ohhh and that same old shit that he talked about before….oh guess what…its basically 75% at least 75% NEW subject matter, didnt hear him mention christopher reeves either on this one…..guess he’s showing that his problems can be fixed, hes showing growth….Please explain how he should call it quits?? relapse Lyrically and hate it or love it was well beyond anything past 5 years….and if you listened to recovery emotionally, lyrically is very impressive, so why would you quit if you still had that kind of ability….this is not the that rapper on the block talking bout gangbanging 20 years later

  • Dhruv Alexander

    I don’t condem eminem’s subject matter for the sake of it being shocking as much as I do for it being the same thing over and over and over again. The guy had his time and was the greatest of his time but dude move on. Move away from the kim and the drugs and price of fame (thats kanye’s thing) . I mean the time has come to move on with your life. Sure people can relate but we would like to relate to a guy who fixes his problems not continues on with them for ten years. Also mocking christopher reeves and picking a beef with nick cannon doesn’t constitute great lyrcism. Most grandparents would be like , I heard about nick cannon in History Class.

    • JustMe

      Well,i find The Warning diss very good,even though he disses mariah and nick.I also love the shots he takes at Christopher Reeves.3rd verse on Medicine Ball is funny as fuck.Thats Slim Shady humor and i love that shit

  • AZ40

    If relating is the case than a lot of fans shouldn’t even like rap, I’m sure everyone doesn’t relate to selling drugs or being “bling out”(Fake jewelery doesn’t count) or shooting up shit…Hell a lot of rappers can’t relate to their “own” rhymes

  • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

    More Caucasians are hardcore fans of the ‘black power’ rappers than Blacks. How do they relate?

    It makes this convo moot.

    • SansBeach

      They relate to the rebelliousness of it. Young white people in the U.S. are some of the most rebellious people on the planet.

      • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

        This is true, yet again, it’s ‘black power’ music. Speed metal & Goth music are rebellious too.

        Why have Caucasians around the globe wholeheartedly supported Black awareness/conscious music artists for decades?

        Especially when Blacks don’t?

        • P

          more socially conscience? and thats not a stab at the black population at all but its all about advantages and disadvantages, when you got too much on your plate sometimes you cant worry about certain things, when your plates empty and you have access to info that changes

        • http://www.bboycult.com $yk

          “more socially conscience?”

          ^ emphatic no.

          Blacks are more socially challenged. They are VERY conscience about their social equality.

          Just like you said, advantages v. disadvantages. If they had more chances to explore and witness more than their immediate environment, they would see more, physically and mentally.

          “when you got too much on your plate sometimes you cant worry about certain things, when your plates empty and you have access to info that changes”

          ^ distraction gets no co-sign. That is a downfall.

  • Vodou

    Hip hop music has almost always told stories of violence and killing. Most artists do this in a nonchalant, detached, casual way and we are so desensitized to hearing about it that it isn’t even remotely shocking. It’s actually the opposite which is played out. What Eminem does is deliver these stories in such a way to make violence and murder look as ugly as it is.

  • Vodou

    $yk that is actually a very good point. Especially when you look at an artist like Immortal Technique and you will see that most of his fans are white.

  • http://j-mace.deviantart.com Shawty J

    To be honest, I don’t relate to most rappers. I’m from the Atlanta area and can’t even relate to most of the rappers in my own hometown. With me, it’s not always about the subject matter, but how creatively the rapper delivers it.

  • balaramesh

    em is an incredible lyricist. but i do not like his music.

  • Baltimore

    HOW MANY PEOPLE CAN RELATE TO JAY_Z!!!!??? DO YOU ASSHOLES EVEN LISTEN TO WHAT JAY SAYS??? NO

    ON ANOTHER NOTE IF BEING ABLE TO RELATE TO AN ARTIST IS WHAT XXL WANTS ,,THEN WHY DONT YALL BUMP MORE TRAE, Z-RO, DEVIN the DUDE???

  • http://www.slamonline.com Powerslave

    Ya totally agree, I only murder after 4AM, not 3. Get with the program, Em!

  • ismokerocks

    lyrically Relapse was better than Recovery, Recovery was still lyrical, but i aint likin the album.too poppish for me. em aint the most lyrical of all time either, get off his nuts.
    Kool G Rap FTW

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  • pr1celess

    If u really look at it ne1 could realate to Em’s music just cus he wrote songs bout killin his wife did he actually do it…no…but if u think about it if some bitch u been wit for yrs do some sheisty shit like cheat on u or wutever the case might be the first thought through ur head might be “ima kill dat bitch” em just put that shit into words rather than actually kill her

  • SuperstarExtraordinaire

    this is stupid cuz nobody really relates to all the rappers. For example, nowadays all these ppl like the stupid nagga named Gucci Mane. He raps about having iced out jewelry, selling whatever drug, having a lambo and fucking bomb ass bitches (basically 98% of the bullshit put out theses days raps about this). The average nigga in the street A) doesnt have iced out jewelry, B) isnt slanging drugs, C) isnt driving in anything relatively close to a lamborghini price range, and last but definitely not the least D) isnt fucking bomb ass bitches.

    So all the bullshit about him killing his wife in the rap is why you cant relate to him needs to quit. its just imaginary, dont we all wish we can kill an ex?.

    I like devin the dude, but i dont have a lacville 79 or do i cheef as much cheeba as he does.

  • str8 cash son

    em is dope but lupe fiasco is def a better lyricist by intertwining metaphors and shit he uses

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  • checkm8

    There are plenty of rappers I can relate to, and they sure as hell aren’t my favorites. Who wants to listen to music, watch a movie, or read a book about what they do every damn day? You want something out of the ordinary. This outlines why Pac is one of the most respected rappers of all time. His flow/lyricism wasn’t the best of all time but he made shit that was relate-able but over the top and exciting at the same time. People who complain about Em’s content are missing the point. It’s crazy lyricism and angst that sounds great, nothing more.

  • http://points2shopscam.com alex

    eminem is falling off..

  • http://www.justice.gov.za Chiliz

    Enjoyment over relation.

    How the MC puts his or her words together, and how he or she catches the beat; the songwriting and lyricism, outweighing the actual subject matter it’s important 2 me.

  • sway-z

    Listening to Eminem talk about killing isn’t any different then listening to 50 talk about shooting niggas, or Jay-z bragging about his money. I can’t relate to none of that shit lol, but I don’t take it literal.

    To me, I wouldn’t accept Eminem any other way, I love the fact that he talks about trailer parks, and being white trash, and hating his mom, because that’s HIS truth, and it shows me another side of life. No nigga on this website can relate to 90% of what black rappers talk about, shit, they can’t relate to it themselves

  • eddiesixes

    inglorious bastards was a terrible movie. for real. kill bill was the last hurrah

    em doesn’t do it for me either anymore

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  • spava

    man some of u guys are plain stupid.what’s with this relating to music stuff?why eminem? i bet there are more guys relating to eminem(taking drugs,problems with ex..)then to jay-z,50-cent….(who in most cases tell how well they are doing,women,money,cars and stuff). and i see ppl are saying how EM fell off..?wtf!? in my opinion nas fell off,jay-z fell off,50,ice cube,mobb depp and many more. if u think about it most of the big rappers are doing not so good music compared to the music they did when they started.
    this topic should be about the rap game in general not about eminem. either the rap game is going down or like they say its just evolving.
    sry for my really bad english

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  • caino

    shit, l’m a 29yr old white boy from Glasgow!! What got me into hiphop? was my cousin giving me a copy of Public Enemy – it takes a nation of millions to hold us Back.

    l was like WTF is this!! l couldnt believe it, it helped me grow as a person. l love Hiphop cos you can throw on a hot beat and say what you want into the mic!! It can be party/stripper music, it can be political, it can be story telling it can be anything .

    Thats why l love hiphop!! So l dont care if l relate or not , if the beat hot, and the flow on point , then l’m in !!

  • Serge

    I can definitely relate to Eminem’s songs. More on his earlier stuff like his infinite lp and the slim shady lp.

  • http://xxlmag.com jason

    lyrically amazing but cant pick a beat to save his life,they all sound the same fast drum pattern with a hard snare and one instrument played over it

  • viv

    If ya’ll don’t give this album an xxl, dead this mag

    • Myself23

      Agree.He deserves it,the album is great!

  • Eminem

    All I try to do is be a dope rapper.

  • yeah man

    My prob with Em (as of late – not so much the Rawkus, early Aftermath Em) is more his voice and flow. Lately, his raps are more like an intricate puzzle that are clever on a purely academic level, but they don’t move me to want to bob my head. This is MUSIC after all, right? The notable exceptions being his verse on Forever and the freestyle he kicked at BET. Personally, I think Black Thought, Monche and Jay Elec rock the rapid-fire multi-syllabic flow a million times better, but never get the recognition. Even Cam’ron, back when he was rapping like that, rocked it better then the current Em.
    And before you new kids jump up and say Cam? go back to some of his earlier work, which was just as graphic and intricate.

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    if you look at all my comments on Em, and ask around i’ve made this argument since he first came out. I like the counter argument that a person who never lived a life of crime can relate to jeezy or trap musik BUT em’s content goes beyond people just appreciating him as an artit. As an English major i studied shakespeare and a lot of white guys with warped minds. As a pre law student i studied even more crazier people and can talk about the changes over time. As a poet i’ve studied art and lyrics and all the different ways to convey your message. I cosign the comment about Cam. I read this from my phone and thats the first thing that came to my mind. GET CAm’s first cd confessions. he talks about having sex with a girl who had aids. his aunt molesting him. that was perhaps one of the honest and open cds. Cam use to rap like em before he became more of the buisness man. Thas the point. EM can afford to rap with out any brackets. So many other rappers use multi, better word play, lyrics and better content. So many of those rappers can’t be totally free to express themselves tho. 1 being their skin color. 2. their images. 3. the industry. em is allowed to break barriers. u need subject matter and skills to be the best. as for him and andre 3 stacks. im a huge 3 stacks fan but he’s not the best. he has the potential but he goes into hibernation to often. as for em, he’s running out of things to talk about. i predicted this five years ago.

  • PREEZYDAKID

    I RARELY COMMENT ANYMORE BUT YOU TOOK DA WORDS RITE OUT OF MY MOUTH WITH DA TITLE OF DIS POST..I ALWAYS THOUGHT EMINEM WAS SUPERIOR TO JUST ABOUT ANY MC OUT THERE TECHNICALLY BUT DA SUBJECT MATTER JUST THROWS ME OFF..IF HE HAD A NAS LIKE SUBJECT MATTER OR SPOKE TO DA ILLS OF AN INNER CITY KID/UNIVERAL ISSUES HE’D BE MORE HIGHLY REGARDED IN THE PANTHEON OF MC’S..HIS SUBJECT MATTER ALWAYS PUSHES HIM DOWN MY LISTS OF G.O.A.T.

  • http://stores.lulu.com/NSugezene N.S. Ugezene

    I personally respect what Eminem does. He’ll let you into his most personal thoughts without being afraid to do so. That is ear-catching and does generate controversy. But it’s raw. He also knows how to soften up to deliver hits and has deadly and pure skill. I think he is feared by other MC’s to a certain degree.

  • Anonymous

    There’s only one song of Em’s that I listen to while in the gym, “Mosh”, only because I’m in the military and he says things that I cant in that song, other than that I don’t buy his concepts, seriously, everything “R” rated said by Em has been done by one of the best rappers of all time, BROTHA LYNCH HUNG!!! Yes I said it!!! You want Horrorcore, go by Lynch!!! His new album he has a song on there called “I tried to commit suicide”, one of the best songs I’ve heard ever, I can feel his pain in regards to the problems with his daughter’s custody battles, and sometimes u just wanna give up bcuz you love your kids so much and it hurts when you cant see them all bcuz of womans greed. the greed part I’m reffering to my situation, the only reason my ex wont let me have custody of my daughter is bcuz my child support is her only steady income other than government aid, the court system does not work in a mans favor regarding custody issues, a sucessful man at that! Even though the title kind’ve scares you, everytime I play it I swear I almost cry cuz it’s good to see that what pain I feel isnt felt just by me.

  • http://www.myspace.com/romanintel Roman

    I love hip hop and I believe that Eminem is one of the best ever. I can’t relate to a fraction of what he’s ever said but some stuff does resonate. Loss of friends and family, struggling, hating your dad, trying to get respect in the industry… I believe lyricism is what makes you good. My boy Shon told me one day that Plies is a better rapper than Lupe Fiasco… I flipped out because any real hip hop head knows that Plies can’t hold a candle to Lupe. His response was “You like niggas that can actually rap and I like hood niggas.” So there is an argument about relativity. Then you take the Clipse, in my opinion the best rap duo since OutKast and Pusha T could kill your favorite rapper, they are “hood niggas” that have lyrical prowess. I jave never sold cocaine and I’ve only seen it up close once but the Clipse are my favorite group and Pusha is in my top ten so… I guess it’s a case by case and person by person basis

  • VENOM

    “MUSIC TAKES US OUT OF THE ACTUAL AND WHISPERS TO US DIM SECRETS THAT STARTLE OUR WONDER AS TO WHO ARE, AND FOR WHAT, WHENCE, AND WHERETO.”

    -EMERSON

    “CIVIL DISOBEYERS COMMIT CRIMES FRAUGHT WITH DRAMA; RAPPERS COMMIT DRAMA FRAUGHT WITH CRIME.”

    -MARK COSTELLO AND DAVID FOSTER WALLACE

    “MUSIC IS A MEANS OF GIVING FORM TO OUR INNER FEELINGS WITHOUT ATTACHING THEM TO EVENTS OR OBJECTS IN THE WORLD.”

    -GEORGE SANTAYANA

    “WHY, AFTER ALL, MUST EVERYONE LIKE MUSIC? THAT THEY ARE MISSING SOMETHING IS JUST THE LOVER’S OPINION.”

    -NED ROREM

    “RAP IS A FORTRESS PROTECTED BY TWIN MOATS OF TALK AND TECHNOLOGY.”

    -MARK COSTELLO

    “MUSIC IS MY WEAPON. I BELIEVE IN MUSIC, IN IT’S SPIRITUALITY, ITS EXALTATION, ITS ECSTATIC NOBILITY, ITS HUMOR, ITS POWER TO PENETRATE TO THE BASIC FINENESS OF EVERY HUMAN BEING.”

    -STEREO REVIEW

  • ff1one@yahoo.com

    you qoute all the greats but its clear when an artist forcefully looks for subject matter and cries for attention. Ya he is clever and perhaps he is a great example of how a battle rapper can make it. Create an alter ego. Song writing vs str8 spiting is different. its like free verse vs the many styles of writing poetry. Free verse does allow you to be free but the other styles show other talents. em’s rhyme schemes and cadence his his best skills. the shock value tatic gives him more kudos than he deserves. ONE OF MY FAV lines is “i got lion in my pocket i’m lying a nine in my pocket” you hear the lion and add the sounds of the syllable and mix in the word play and you intially are like WHOA. the line is dope but em does this for the sound. tru the lion is not to be taking in a literal form but the way he says it doesn’t work figuretively either. he said it just for the rhyme and word play and shock. A MC LIKE MOS DEF never lets the rhyme will him. MOST DEF BLACK THOUGHT AND COMMON ARE THE BEST AT content and still rhyming. they can rhyme produce lyrics and make songs and neva force the rhyme. So, ya his thoughts are new and he’s doing things different But it shouldn’t over shadow the people who been doing it are still doing it and do it better but don’t get as much credit.

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  • Otto

    Content and subject matter are overrated. it’s not what you rap about, but how well you actually rap. Ironically, I’m white, but I relate more to Clipse and Killah Priest than Eminem and Vinnie Paz.

  • mav

    i like eminem dude inspired me to spit when i was younger but i dont like that serial killer/devil worship type of music i definitely dont relate to it he should past that stage like the eminem from eminem show that was his realest album i hate his flow on relapse maybe its the ganja is like the only song on there i like em needs to be more serious he got wordplay for days he aint gotta be crazy
    wont back down and not afraid are examples of that just be lyrically dope serial killin is corny as hell so why rap about it

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