Throwback Thursday!

This week marked 17 years since the release of Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP (yes, 17 whole years have passed!) so there’s nothing else to do but remember one of the album’s classics.

Even though Stan would be the obvious hit of the record with The Real Slim Shady following suit, I’ve always found The Way I Am to be more special. Touching on the drawbacks of fame in the ever-witty yet angry ‘Eminem way’, the track sets the tone for the album’s overall angst and darkness.

“‘Cause I am, whatever you say I am
If I wasn’t, then why would I say I am?”

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Throwback Thursday!

Seeing the latest Only In Monroe interview of Eminem to Stephen Colbert, where he looked no more than 25 years old (this man never gets old), reminded me of some of his oldies but goodies.

This Throwback Thursday decision was tough simply because I love most of Em’s songs, especially his older stuff. After careful consideration, it all came down to Cleanin’ Out My Closet, off 2002’s The Eminem Show – although Sing For The Moment was pretty close…

“See they can trigger me, but they’ll never figure me out”

Note: Em seems to have forgiven his mom in the super-emotional The Marshall Mathers LP 2’s Headlights, in case you missed it! Although my favourite part of this song – the ending – is missing from the clip, it’s worth the watch!

Eminem live at Wembley Stadium (11-7-14)

Eminem returned to London after 13 years, being the first hip-hop artist to perform at Wembley Stadium. So this was quite an iconic performance!

After a few bargains and some unexpected luck, I got to attend one of his two London shows, on Friday night. I may not know all the lyrics to Eminem’s songs (to be honest, very few people do!), but I am familiar with most of them, since my sister is one of his biggest fans. So I was very happy I made it at the last minute!

By now, you must have read ‘horror stories’ on the web about how the sound of this concert was awful and how fans are planning to ask for a refund. I admit some of it is true; at times, it was hard for me to hear the rhymes coming out of Em’s mouth.

I don’t know if it’s Wembley’s fault or that of Eminem’s team, but the acoustics could have definitely been better. However, you never really know what AWFUL sound means, until you attend a show at IndigO2! And since I have, no; nothing compared to that!

Honestly, sound difficulties could in no way overshadow such an incredible show. Eminem, now 41 years old, was full of energy. In his ‘Friday the 13th Jason/ English flag’ t-shirt, the rapper looked a lot like the same hip-hop kid he was in 2001, back when he appeared in denim dungarees holding a chainsaw! (I’ve said it before; he must have found some kind of elixir!)

The setlist included hits like Love The Way You LieLose Yourself, Sing for the Moment and Stan as well as older classics such as My Name Is and The Real Slim Shady. Medleys and shorter versions of the songs succeeded in fitting a whole discography into a one and a half hour concert! The surprise of the night was the guest appearance of Dr. Dre, who had die-hard rap fans cheering with excitement!

Everyone was having a great time, screaming and finishing Eminem’s rhymes, hands in the air and beer cups thrown above our heads. It’s amazing how a hip-hop artist can make 90,000 people stand up and scream their lungs out, like they’re in a rock concert!

Then again, he’s not your usual rapper; he has the wit of an indie musician and the anger of a rock star! When he was not given permission to play Hyde Park, because his lyrics were apparently deemed too offensive by the Royal Parks, Eminem played Wembley instead! Well, guess what, Queen Elizabeth; he “just doesn’t give a f**k!”

* Here’s a clip from Eminem’s Saturday concert at Wembley Stadium:

Also, here’s two fun incidents that happened before the show:

  1. Two guys fighting (probably over a girl) created a massive scene right before the concert started!
  2. Being called ‘white trash’ still counts as racism, right? No worries, it wasn’t for Em, there was just a guy yelling “You’re white trash” to all of us standing in the queue…  Happy times!

Eminem celebrates Mother’s Day with new ‘Headlights’ video

In case you don’t know, which I highly doubt, Eminem’s relationship with his mother hasn’t been exactly ideal. The rapper has been accusing her of making his and his brother’s life miserable in every single one of his albums, with Cleanin’ Out My Closet being the ultimate ‘I hate my mum’ track (epic song, epic clip)! It’s also the one that urged Debbie Mathers to file a lawsuit against her son…

But now, things have finally changed and Eminem seems to have left all that drama behind, by letting go of everything his mother has ever done to him (and if you are a true fan, then you know it’s a lot!) The rapper released the music video for his single Headlights, out of The Marshall Mathers LP2, just in time for Mother’s Day.

Em is looking back on the good and the bad and decides to forgive his mum while he’s driving away from her and moving on… The beautiful voice of Fun’s Nate Ruess compliments the rhymes nicely. At this point, I have a complaint to make: in the video, we don’t get to hear the last verse of the song, sung by Ruess, which actually makes it even more sentimental. Such a shame… You can hear it here, though, if you want.

Throwback Thursday!

Good old MTV… these were the days. Britney playing alongside Blink as Eminem was making baby steps. And while all these might seem mismatched to you, they somehow made perfect sense to me!

What’s My Age Again? was released in 1999 as part of Blink-182’s Enema of the State album.  The record included classics like All the Small Things and the band started getting more recognition, even from the fans of pop. While this meant that they became more mainstream, I’m sure they didn’t mind expanding their fanbase.

* Blink-182 were on hiatus for five years but they’ve reunited since 2009 and they are currently working on their 7th studio album. The band will also headline the Reading and Leeds Festivals this summer. Check the dates here.

Eminem and Rihanna on tour together

It seems Em and Riri are planning to join forces once again for their upcoming The Monster Tour. The artists have previously collaborated on Eminem’s Love The Way You Lie in 2010 and just a few months ago on Monster, out of Eminem’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2 album.

Both artists seem excited with this on stage collaboration, with Rihanna sharing the news with her fans through her twitter account and Eminem announcing the tour during an interview with XXL magazine.

Unfortunately, The Monster Tour, scheduled for the month of August, will only be hitting three cities: New York, Detroit and Los Angeles. But who knows? Maybe London’s next.

The Marshall Mathers LP2 (Review)

Marshall Mathers LP 2

Eminem returns to his roots for this album, which serves as a sequel to 2000’s The Marshall Mathers LP. The rapper decided to do something completely different from 2010’s Recovery by experimenting with vintage hip hop and giving it a new sense of purpose. Troubled years in Detroit are now revised under a more mature scope of a 40-year-old Marshall Mathers.

The album cover depicting the rapper’s recently demolished childhood home revives those memories as the story unfolds in front of our… ears. Introducing track Bad Guy picks up from where The Marshall Mathers LP left off, with crazy fan Stan’s younger brother, Matthew Mitchell, taking the lead. Eminem rhymes his lungs out while adding a surprisingly rock flavour to it.

What makes this album special and way different from its somewhat pop predecessor is the diversity of the music styles. Dark instrumental rock backgrounds and soul melodies intertwined with aggressive rhymes and catchy hooks manage to sound completely natural.

Berzerk is the perfect example of this, with hints of guitar setting an old-school ‘90s vibe, echoing the sound of Beastie Boys. Nostalgic So Far… with a country-rock Sweet Home Alabamalike background pays respects to Detroit. Missing the era he grew up in, the rapper is trying to accept the fact that he’s now 40 and still hung up on a generation without iPod.

Survival and Legacy are “screaming” that Em is here to stay. Stronger, but with the same psychological baggage he’s been carrying around since he was a kid, the rapper sounds very aware of his scars that he has somehow come to terms with. Through Marshall’s eyes, Brainless and Monster (featuring Rihanna) portray this battle within him.

Stronger than I was, surrounded by piano melodies, finds Eminem singing –and not rapping- for a heartbreak that reflects his failed marriage with Kim; the same Kim that alter ego Slim Shady brutally “choked” in The Marshall Mathers LP.

In Rhyme or Reason, Mathers unleashes all his hatred towards his dad, although the “bluesy” background doesn’t exactly match the angry rhymes. Conversely, emotionally charged Headlights gives justice to Em’s mother while the rapper seems to have left the pain she’s caused him behind.

On a less mature note, So much better, Asshole, Love Game and Evil Twin remind us of classic angry-at-the-world cynical Eminem who hates all women except for his daughters, while Rap God brings out his conceited self. “Why be a king when you can be a God?” He always maintains a sense of irony and self-awareness, though. Besides, no one else could pull off 101 words in just 16 seconds.

For those of you wondering about the Deluxe edition of the album, unfortunately the extra five tracks are aimlessly repeating the same concept over and over again.

The Marshall Mathers LP2 reminds us of the Eminem we used to know; fun and troubled, now with a sense of inner peace. Fans or not, this is definitely an album worth listening to.

* Image Courtesy of Flickr.