If you haven’t heard it yet, take a listen:
First of all… I LOVE this track.
The only problem being I’ve slightly overplayed this already. I’ve already played this about 10,000 times more than “Walk on Water”.
My initial reaction, as soon as I put my headphones in and this started playing was “Whoooah. Wtf is this?” in a good way. It’s how I always react to a great new Em song. One of the classics, like “Rap God”. It feels like some kind of strange puzzle or onslaught.
I love the fact he’s tackling a serious topic, in this way. I can’t remember the last time he did that, with a topic which was worthwhile and NOT about his fucking self… since… MMLP. Sure he’s had verses or moments here and there, but after MMLP he has just been, basically, a total narcissist; writing himself into a corner trying to cater to fans (or maybe just the easiest source material) wanting to hear yet more ‘life stories’.
Personally, I don’t find plain-spoken autobiography compelling art. Not that it CAN’T be, but I really did not need yet another song from Em where he’s ‘struggling with fame’, or about how he loves his daughters, or has grown up, or about either one of his parents, or about celebrities…
Not only did he tackle a serious topic here – but he remained on-topic and on-concept from start to finish. Again, I really cannot remember the last time he did that. There’s barely a single line of self-reference here… Which, for me, is great. I’ve always felt like he’s been recently wasting his IMMENSE fucking talent by writing about nothing but himself. It’s like Picasso just painting endless self-portraits. It’s maddening.
This track could be described as being ‘split in two’. The first half of the song is from the perspective of a ‘racist white cop’ and second half is from the perspective of an ‘average poor black person in the ghetto’. With beat, mood and delivery changes to fit the concept of the lyrics and ideas.
Not only is this conceptually great but his writing and rapping throughout is just top-notch.
Love the production, especially the second-half – feels like MMLP – stripped-down, simple, nice little effects with the babies crying in the background to add atmosphere to the beat and his delivery in that second-half is so satisfying. So aggressive but clear, crisp.
His rhyming is out of this world and he also tackles the subject with intelligence and some nuance…
“We raise it, you better praise it or you’ll be made to feel like a traitor – we’ll treat you like Rodney Dangerfield”.
This is just masterful writing.
Em tackles a big subject here with a cool concept, a relieving break from the usual song format and with intelligence and humour. And, he closes the song with a powerful few lines…. in a powerful way. A rare example of Eminem yelling something actually impactful and ending it there.