May 20, 2009
On the day after the release of Eminem’s sixth album Relapse, I can’t help but feel like I’ve been cheated. When Mr. Mathers first entered mainstream consciousness with The Slim Shady LP, he was on some next level shit. Using people from his personal life as point persons for lyrical fodder and creating horrifying fictitious scenarios involving them (“’97 Bonnie & Clyde” still gives me the heebs), Em took rap to its darkest corners, making his offensive tales lighter by comically framing them. And that’s exactly what America came to love about him: his ability to shape deeply disturbing songs out of not-so-disturbing material, all while joking about it as if it were the national behavioral standard. But on Relapse, which sees Em at a point in his life following the death of his best friend and overcoming an addiction to painkillers, Em turns his back on reality and foolishly assumes the role of a character (stupid voice included).