With Eminem nominated for Grammy Awards Wednesday, two NeXt correspondents offer their takes on the controversial rapper.
Mathers LP is 'disgusting'
In the recent NeXt survey, teens were asked whether they thought Eminem was a jerk or a genius. I think he's definitely both. Anyone who can sell millions of records by being a jerk and making fun of people has to be a genius.
I used to really like Eminem. When I first heard "My Name Is," I knew right away that Eminem was a tight rapper with great lyrical abilities.
His production (by Dr. Dre) and rhyming was incredible. Although his lyrics were about drugs, killing and were insulting sometimes, his first album was still down to earth. Then he had to go and top it with his second album.
"The Marshall Mathers LP" is a downright insulting and disgusting record. Some of the things he says on it make me cringe. Personally, I think Eminem was trying a little too hard to shock everyone. Yes, I do listen to the record. Why? Because the production and rapping is awesome. But I also have to skip some songs and I get really bothered at some parts.
For example, the song "Kim" on the LP is about his wife. Some of the things he says about her in the song make me think he should be locked up. On the album, he manages to insult his mother, his wife (now former wife), our former president, his producer (Dr. Dre) and his fans (the ones that are spending their own money to buy his album). Maybe you like being insulted by the artist after you just spent $17.99 to buy his or her album. I don't.
I'll be extremely interested to see what Eminem's third album will be like, unless he's in jail by then. Can he be more disgusting and disrespectful? Of course. But how long will we keep listening to it?
-- Michael Snodgrass
Taking rap to new level
"The Marshall Mathers LP" may be disturbing to some at first listen, but the artistry of Eminem's work is unparalleled by nearly all rap artists today. In the right hands, this CD can be found to be remarkably innovative and essentially a work of genius.
Eminem was named Artist of the Year by both Rolling Stone and Spin magazines. No artist can receive both those awards without having immense talent. Perhaps the controversy he stirred up was the cause of his immediate success, but his talent is what kept his album on top of the charts.
Eminem's jabs at just about everyone, from his mother to Insane Clown Posse, are thought to be rude, but really, how could you not find yourself laughing when Eminem spouts, " 'N Sync, why do they sing? Am I the only one who realizes they stink? Should I dye my hair pink and care what y'all think? Lip sync and buy a bigger size of earrings?"
What bothers most people is his vicious attacks on gays, his wife and even his mother. True, Eminem does go a bit overboard with the violence (particularly in the haunting "Kim"), but let's not go overboard by saying he's out to corrupt the youth of America. However, he is out to shock people, and it's definitely working.
Anyone with a grip on reality is not in danger of acting out the violence in Eminem's music. Eminem rebuts critics in "Who Knew": "Don't blame me when lil' Eric jumps off the terrace, You shoulda been watchin' him -- apparently you ain't parents."
It's not Eminem's responsibility to raise your kids. However, young children are probably too impressionable to listen to some of his songs. But parents should decide whether or not it's appropriate.
Eminem refreshed rap and raised its standards with his rapid-fire quick-witted rhymes. It's blatantly obvious he's kidding most of the time.
Be thankful Eminem saved us from run-of-the-mill rubbish of a rap song that attempts to see how many times in three minutes you can rhyme "street" with "beat." Eminem says in one song, "Get aware, wake up, get a sense of humor, Quit trying to censor music." He is definitely one of the most intriguing people around, and "The Marshall Mathers LP" is sick and twisted fun. Before you call Eminem insane again, listen to "The Marshall Mathers LP" in its entirety and ask yourself, is he more sane than we know?
-- Lindsey Daigler