reacting to critics reacting to rap god

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Eminem is technically gifted at his craft and possibly one of the best rappers of all time. I’m not here to discuss where he belongs in the pantheon of the still relatively young genre.  Em has new music out this year because, among other things, he’s got bills to pay.

After his less-than-stellar Rick Rubin-produced single “Berzerk”,  Eminem needed to make some more noise before the debut of Marshall Mathers LP2.  Yes, Em is cashing in with a sequel of his most critically-acclaimed album from about a decade ago. Enter “Rap God” which is not to be confused with Kanye West’s “I Am A God” which is a different song entirely.  Straight up: “Rap God” is kind of awful.

 

 

With 6 minutes to use, you would think Eminem would say something incredibly interesting about where he’s been since he dropped RecoveryInstead, he just drops a bunch of subtle disses at upcoming rappers (allegedly) and does it through being incredibly homophobic.  Not just dropping one or two outdated slurs, instead he’s using whole parts of verses to try and make a point. His point essentially comes down to “I am a very good rapper. Did you forget I am good at rapping?”

No, I didn’t.  Instantly, my reaction to the song and its less-than-stellar beat were incredibly negative. Not one to couch myself in my own thoughts, I looked to some well-respected critics to gauge how they were reacting. Granted, this was on Twitter, and they were not writing at length about it.  One comment stuck out to me in particular, maybe it shouldn’t have:

Weingarten is being incredibly hypocritical, of course. The easiest way to point this out is that he, himself, is a white guy who might be considered a hipster.  He might just want to get white hipsters to think a different way, though. Still, he’s just a dude being contrarian for the sake of it. Why do I say that? Here’s another tweet:

No one said Eminem lost his talent or that he was incredibly terrible.  Weingarten appears to believe that everyone casted Em off for good and denied his talent.  In one of his retweets, he implicitly agrees with Craig Jenkins:

Comments like this insult the audience.  Sometimes, yes, people have generally awful taste in music and think a lot of terrible things are good. Saying that a more critically aware audience would accept anything one rapper did as gospel because he’s newer is highly condescending and a giant misfire. You can like the song all you want, but sometimes you have to realize when you’re wrong. CraigSJ’s twitter led me to what I think sums up the whole mess beyond this awful single:

Busdriver, if you’re not aware, is a rapper who is incredibly fast. If there’s a guy to identify with fast rapping, it’s Busdriver.  I agree with him wholeheartedly on the style clinic part. In terms of being incredibly appealing on an aesthetic level (minus the beat), he’s right. Most rappers can’t do that. If they did, they’d look foolish. When Eminem does it? He’s just reminding you he can rap.

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