A shady lane > schadenfreude > Shady Records
I'm not saying I would turn down Eminem, if he wanted to cut me a check for a million dollars to sit around all day in my underwear scouring the Internets for pictures of the kind of girls I'd most like to make sweet, passionate love to - which would be perfect for me, because that's how I spend a lot of my time anyway, when I'm not working like a Hebrew slave at the BGM. I'm just saying. I'm not sure how cool it would be to stand there, on the cover of a magazine, with my boss/white benefactor, like Cam'ron and Dennis Hof (that was Dennis Hof, right?) on the cover of Platinum Entrepreneur, or whatever it was called.
If, like Soulja Boy, I wasn't deemed notable enough to appear on the cover of XXL by myself, but the TIs still felt it necessary to have me on the cover every six months or so, to discourage black intellectual development (just throwing that out there as a possible reason why Soulja Boy keeps turning up on the cover of XXL), I'd at least insist on posing with a smoking hot white chick - perhaps one of the girls from my aforementioned Tumblr. After all, pictures of smoking hot white chicks on the cover have been known to sell magazines. That's why Rolling Stone magazine, on its cover, tends to alternate between pictures of decrepit old white guys, like Keith Richards, and seemingly any ol' white chick. Half the time they don't even have anything to do with music. One of the things I regret most in life, right up there with having never made more than $8/hour, is not copping that issue with Blake Lively and Leighton Meester going to town on an ice cream cone, just like in my dreams, except... you know, minus the ice cream cone.
I guess the cover of this new issue of XXL makes sense, if you're Eminem. Your last album, Recovery, sold a metric fuckton of copies, in an age when even black people who haven't worked a day in their adult lives have a computer connected to the Internets, and hence the means to download music for free, as evidenced by the list of trending topics on Twitter at night, when people who work for a living are sound asleep. Week in and week out, Recovery is among the top 5 rap albums in the country, right up there with My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, and the most popular rap album in the country right now, which is by a motherfucking woman. (I might have to hit the studio.) This despite the fact that it's been out for going on a year now. You think people are still gonna give a shit about My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy this time next year? Hardly anyone gave a shit about it in the first place, except for Pitchfork. As soon as next week, it will have been outsold by Nicki Minaj's Fish Friday, as predicted/assumed in my post on "H.A.M."
However, as successful as Recovery has been, I don't know if there's anyone who knows from good rap music who really gives a shit about it. It could be one of those albums, like Nelly's Suit (no Chopper Suit), that develop a random, seemingly inexplicable appeal to white people in semi-rural areas, many of whom struggle, mightily, with addiction to weird drugs that black people aren't up on - a phenomenon I'm familiar with both because I used to work in a K-Mart where the only album we would ever sell - and indeed, maybe the only album we even sold (I always meant to go back to Electronics and check, but I never got around to it) - was Suit, and because I went through one of those periods where I'd take any ol' shit that was shoved into my hand [||] at the kind of parties where people still, unironically, crank Regulate: The G-Funk Era. Black dudes who grew up around a lot of white dudes know what I'm talking about.
Enter Slaughterhouse, who, it's obvious to me, have been recruited to play the same role, for Eminem, that Pete Rock, DJ Premier and the RZA played in the making of My Beautiful Dark Twisted, i.e. as a cynical, empty overture to the kind of people who were offput by his last album. (The alternative would would be that Eminem signed Slaughterhouse because he thought it would be a genuinely worthwhile investment, and... well, no.) If he was really so interested in appealing to that community, he could put out an album of his own along the lines of that Slaughterhouse album. But then it would only do dial-up numbers (56,000 copies sold), and then where would he be? Much easier to find four random black dudes who rap well, the way aging haters prefer, and pay them to stand next to you on the cover of a magazine.