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Why Eminem Needs to Find Something New to Rap About

I don't want to disrespect Eminem here, especially considering this site already has beef with several prominent rappers (which is probably at least partially my fault). And we never win rap rivalries because there are simply too many harsh things that rhyme with Cracked (hacked, jacked, sacked... has anybody used "frak" in a rap song yet?). But here's the thing:

Eminem appears to be displaying signs of what's known in the realms of psychology as "a pattern of behavior" and what's known in the realms of this website as "being utterly full of shit."

"Not Afraid"

Eminem made headlines recently because his new album is all about how he's cleaned up his act, and now wants to serve as a role model to you and me. Here's the video for "Not Afraid," which is full of inspirational lyrics like, "I'm not afraid to take a stand, everybody come take my hand, we'll walk this road together, through the storm, whatever weather, cold or warm, just let you know that, you're not alone."

Again, it's not just that he's cleaned up ("So starting today, I'm breaking out of this cage... I'm gonna face my demons... time to put my life back together right now"). He's so clean he's now a goddamned guru for the rest of us ("If you're trying to get out, just follow me, I'll get you there"). Check out this promo for MTV that portrays the man as a Christ-like leader of men.


He's the one in red.

Don't get me wrong. That video currently has over 90 million views. I'm pretty sure this makes it the "Charlie Bit My Finger" of rap videos. And that's great. If you're in a tough spot and listening to a fucking Eminem song gets you through it, well, you probably didn't have a problem to begin with. But still, good for you.

Hey, maybe you were also inspired by another Eminem track, "Cleaning Out My Closet."

Remember that song? It's the one where he declared that he had overcome his personal demons, and was going to be a good father, and that, quote, "I maybe made some mistakes, I'm only human, but I'm man enough to face them today." Hmm... a pretty similar song, actually. From "I'm man enough to face them today" in that one to "Starting today, I'm gonna face my demons" in "Not Afraid."

Wait a Second...

"Cleaning Out My Close" was made eight goddamned years ago. Yeah, 2002.

In fact that same year, on the same album that featured "Cleaning Out My Closet," he recorded a song called "Say Goodbye to Hollywood." Guess what that was about? Right, no more drama for Eminem. "Thank God, I got a little girl, and I'm a responsible father... 'cause all I wanted was to give Hailie the life I never had."

Two years later, in 2004, he would drive the point home again on his next album with "Like Toy Soldiers," a song all about how he was squashing all of the conflicts in his life by way of one of the fruitiest samples in rap music history.

No more insults or crazy rivalries with other crews for Eminem! Quote, "I ain't tryin' to have none of my people hurt and murdered, it ain't worth it I can't think of a perfecter way to word it, then to just say that I love ya'll too much to see the verdict, I'll walk away from it all before I let it go any further."

Call me crazy, but I believe a pattern is emerging here:

*Eminem has problems

*Eminem records inspirational song about said problems and declares them to be a thing of the past

*Eminem has the same problems

*Eminem records inspirational song about said problems and declares them to be a thing of the past

And so on, until after about a decade of this he declares himself to be the model of personal problem-solving and that you, too, can get your life together using the proven Eminem Technique, which apparently involves listening to his music, or "just follow(ing) him, (he'll) get you there."

Granted, overcoming the ravages of addiction is no laughing matter. As someone who washes three eggs and four slices of bacon down with six shots of Jager every morning, I can appreciate that. But if by some act of science I did come to terms with my pickled liver, you know what I wouldn't do? I wouldn't write a triumphant rap song about it and brag to the rest of the world like I deserve a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame because I managed to quit huffing paint.

There are two reasons for this: The first, to paraphrase a Chris Rock joke (that would probably get me jumped if I quoted it directly), is the fact that not being a junkie is what you're supposed to do. That I can go a day without blowing a trucker for meth money just puts me right in line with like 99.6 percent of the population. It doesn't deserve a whole video of me staring pensively at the horizon and looking wise.

The other problem is that if I make said video and then fall off the wagon later, it makes me look really stupid. Especially if, after getting clean again, I make another freaking song just like it, and pretend that first one never happened.

I'm not the only one to notice this, right? Did the other 90,000,000 people who watched that video not figure out that the "rehab via inspirational rap song" method has been failing Eminem for almost a decade? In fact, we can't find a single medical professional who would recommend it as a recovery strategy.

This Raises Several Questions

Who is Eminem hoping to reach with these "holy shit y'all, I didn't die of a prescription medication fueled heart attack and now I'm back to rock the mic!" type anthems? Drug addicts? Nobody is going to put down the pipe, get the kids back from pawn and rebuild themselves into some kind of success story because they overheard you say you're "not afraid to take a stand." Hell, it didn't have that profound of an effect on you 10 years ago, and you're the one who wrote it. Hearing it will just make them aware that they should probably boost whatever stereo system is playing the song and sell it for black tar heroin money.

Seriously, Eminem, do you even enjoy talking about that shit on every single album you put out, or do you just address it because you think you have to? We understand the pressures you're under these days. Back when, for instance, Al Green got hot grits tossed in his face by a jilted lover who eventually killed herself, the Internet wasn't around to make it the top story on Digg for three days.

Back then, by the time word of mouth about what happened sloooowly spread to the deep recesses of society where people take information like this and turn it into entertainment (like us!), Al Green was already a few years into exclusively singing about Jesus and didn't want to talk about anything but that. So if you wanted to interview him about the dead lady, you'd likely just be met with a scripture quote. Fucking brilliant, another example of how religion fixes everything.

We get it, it's not like that for you. If you get hot grits thrown on you, that shit would probably be on YouTube and remixed and autotuned 50 times before you even woke up the next day. So in light of this unprecedented level of fan access into the daily comings and goings of their favorite celebrities, a lot of famous people choose to spend their time not fucking up. Have you tried that? Of course you haven't, which brings us to the point we're really confused about ...

Is it All an Act?

Honestly, Em, are you really that much of a fuck up, or do you maybe just think it's the only way you'll sell records? Did you honestly get yourself straightened up while recording The Eminem Show years ago, only to realize that nobody wants to hear someone rap about how you've taken up mountain biking and that you've found just the best vegan cafe in your neighborhood? Is that what you were thinking when you grabbed a gun and started waving it around at that nightclub?

And if that is the case, don't you realize you can just make some shit up? If you wanted to write a song about pistol whipping the Insane Clown Posse roadie who was making out with your wife, just write that shit. You don't actually have to go out and beat up a clown to do it.

The same goes for any topic. Drug addiction? You don't have to inhale Vicodin. Just, fucking, read a book about drug addiction. It's called research. Wouldn't that be easier? Wouldn't you rather just rap about pretend problems, nail groupies and drive nice cars when you aren't on stage or recording? You have to admit, that part about nailing groupies sounds pretty wonderful. If nothing else, it beats having to manufacture a heart-wrenching personal problem every few years just so you have something to rap about to suburban white kids.

Hell, it's probably all moot anyway. If that "Not Afraid" song is to be believed, all of that stuff is behind Eminem now. Sounds like he's really got things straightened out. I guess we'll see!


Adam hosts a podcast called Unpopular Opinion that you should check out right here. You should also be his friend on Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr.


For more rap lyrics deconstruction, check out The 15 Most Baffling Boasts in Rap Music History and The 11 Most Unintentionally Gay Rap Lyrics Ever.

And stop by Linkstorm to see Adam spitting his mad rhymes, yo.

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