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Soundcheck Smackdown: Eminem's New Album "Relapse"

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Eminem is newly sober, but his first album in 5-years features raps about pill-popping, rape, abuse, family problems and Lindsay and Britney. In another Soundcheck Smackdown we debate the relevance of Eminem and the brutal fantasies he describes in detail on the album. Guests include author and journalist Touré and Rolling Stone contributing editor Rob Sheffield.

Soundcheck blog: John Schaefer on the new Eminem album

Tell us: What do you think of Eminem?

Guests:

Touré and Rob Sheffield

Comments [34]

David Huber from Flyover country

Sorry for the multiple postings - my computer had a moment of craziness.

May. 25 2009 10:55 AM
David Huber from Flyover country

I'm likely late to the game, but I just listened to the podcast a few minutes ago.

I kept thinking during the show that it would be a waaaaaaaaaay more interesting smackdown if it were two people arguing about what makes the album so awful, instead of arguing whether or not it's good.

There was no reason to have that apologist on the show. The only debate to be had is what, specifically, makes it so awful. The Disney-like arrangements? The Miley Cyrus level of poetic insight in the lyrics? The Weird Al intellectualism? The Rush Limbaugh level of obnoxiously self-absorbed feelings of persecution and victimization? The Andrew Dice Clay level of creativity?

Just sayin'.

May. 25 2009 10:53 AM
David Huber from Flyover country

I'm likely late to the game, but I just listened to the podcast a few minutes ago.

I kept thinking during the show that it would be a waaaaaaaaaay more interesting smackdown if it were two people arguing about what makes the album so awful, instead of arguing whether or not it's good.

There was no reason to have that apologist on the show. The only debate to be had is what, specifically, makes it so awful. The Disney-like arrangements? The Miley Cyrus level of poetic insight in the lyrics? The Weird Al intellectualism? The Rush Limbaugh level of obnoxiously self-absorbed feelings of persecution and victimization?

Just sayin'.

May. 25 2009 10:52 AM
David Huber from Flyover country

I'm likely late to the game, but I just listened to the podcast a few minutes ago.

I kept thinking during the show that it would be a waaaaaaaaaay more interesting smackdown if it were two people arguing about what makes the album so awful, instead of arguing whether or not it's good.

There was no reason to have that apologist on the show. The only debate to be had is what, specifically, makes it so awful. The Disney-like arrangements? The Miley Cyrus level of poetic insight in the lyrics? The Weird Al intellectualism? The Rush Limbaugh level of obnoxiously self-absorbed feelings of persecution and victimization?

Just sayin'.

May. 25 2009 10:52 AM
yaya from Riverside

Honestly I love all em's work.
He is simply RAW and that is exactly why I support his work he does not care who buys his album or what they have to say about it... He is not affraid to say he f**ked your mother while sucking your daughters tit. Some of it of course is shocking to me but hey he is a bit crazy but in this world arent we all just a bit crazy?
I respect everyones view we all like different genres so enjoy what you like one love.

May. 23 2009 03:51 AM
Vivian from Ny, NY

Sorry, typo. That should have been:

On the other hand, it still works as a concept piece or 'fairy-tale story book', even if it's less meaty. So, unlike others, I don't entirely hate the album and can listen to it well enough on those merits.

May. 19 2009 04:10 PM
Vivian from Ny, NY

Wow, a lot of hate on for rap from the listeners, it seems. I got my intro into the rap and hiphop world when I watched over a college friend's shoulder at videotaped rap and DJ battles. Because of that, I guess I always associated rap with the MC/battle scene and had a lot of diffulty with many of the more mainstream sounds.

The enjoyment I got from Eminem's sound was always that almost... direct 'speaking' tone. While also being an interesting and uncomfortable concept piece. The newest album is less... coversational. I agree that it feels empty and closed off, and he's doing himself nothing good by cutting off Proof as a topic. On the other hand, it still works as a concept piece, even if it's less meaty. So, unlike others or 'fairy-tale story book', I don't entirely hate the album and can listen to it well enough on those merits.

May. 19 2009 04:08 PM
Beto from Elizabeth, NJ

WOW. Lots of hate from NPR listeners. This is great! lmao. I LOVE Em's new album. What can I say, I heart the gore and unsurpassed lyricism!

May. 19 2009 03:17 PM
Enrique from Elizabeth, NJ

...i thought eminems where those candies nobody like. What does this guy do? ...oh that's right: nobody cares.

May. 19 2009 02:41 PM
Joseph from NY

That last statement about poetry was too ignorant to ignore. Of course hip hop, and lyrics in general, is a type of poetry. Not necessarily always good, but "bonus dormitat Homerus." When we look towards the ancient Greeks, for instance, and even to the earlier origins of poetry, poetry emerged linked to song. You cannot seperate them just because many people today think poetry means verse on paper.

May. 19 2009 02:40 PM
Jack from Brooklyn

I love hearing people like this "producer" talking about rappers being "self obsessed"...

You know who else was self-obsessed about doing things "My Way"? Frank Sinatra!

May. 19 2009 02:36 PM
maria from bklyn

It's seems that your listeners are prejudice to this form of music. You're show hardly ever discusses rap-why m&m?
Please! No wonder they have such prejudice.

May. 19 2009 02:34 PM
Justin from Sunnyside

what a waste of a segment. stop focusing on this crap.

May. 19 2009 02:31 PM
the truth from bkny

LOLLLL @ Sara!

May. 19 2009 02:29 PM
Nik from Astoria

I think this sounds like a recycled grab at a comeback.
He may have been good in his day, but i think this feels too "vanilla ice" for me.

May. 19 2009 02:29 PM
the truth from bkny

Clearly Dr. Dre's judgement is off OR he owes him a debt!

May. 19 2009 02:27 PM
Sara from Fort Plain, NY

Can someone explain the rasta/count dracula accent?

May. 19 2009 02:26 PM
See from NJ

my pick for least interesting topic on Soundcheck. Ever.

May. 19 2009 02:25 PM
kai from NJ-NYC

Yeah, I've always liked his wordplay and zaniness, especially on his Slim Shady LP, but that still doesn't get to why he got airplay. Lots of great music, hip hop or otherwise, never makes such a huge cultural impact.

May. 19 2009 02:23 PM
Tonky

No - these guys are stupid.

I don't even care about Eminem - But Dre's beats are sick and Eminem's weird horror/rasta/mass-murderer persona has emerged in full force as a mirror for us as we suckle on the teat of pop-culture.

May. 19 2009 02:23 PM
the truth from bkny

Garbage.

May. 19 2009 02:22 PM
frank from NYC

I wish this guy would just go away. This is music for the victim crowd.

May. 19 2009 02:22 PM
the truth from bkny

Sad about the loss of his friend? Maybe and scared straight!

May. 19 2009 02:20 PM
Lloyd from Manhattan

Surprise! Rap is unlistenable drivel. How long did it take these "critics" to figure that out?

May. 19 2009 02:18 PM
the truth from bkny

Garbage.

May. 19 2009 02:17 PM
Soundcheck producer Joel Meyer from WNYC

Kai, John, Robots ... were you ever Eminem fans?

May. 19 2009 02:16 PM
Anonymous from New Jersey


I like his music to some degree, but I get pretty sick of all the griping. Unfortunately, he suffers from the same self-obsession that plagues rap music today even if he doesn't focus on money and women. It's all about dwelling on his personal issues and grudges. It also dates itself very quickly.

May. 19 2009 02:16 PM
the truth from bkny

I think he should go Country!

May. 19 2009 02:15 PM
the truth from bkny

funny..."ughh don't play it"!

May. 19 2009 02:14 PM
John from Bklyn

Weird Al is more relevant than M&M.

May. 19 2009 02:13 PM
kai from NJ-NYC

I returned to America in '99 from being in Scotland for a year, and I it was a bit of a shock to hear Eminem's then dominance on the airwaves.

What was the American zeitgeist that led to his prominence then and his disappearance (besides drug abuse) up until now?

May. 19 2009 02:11 PM
the truth from bkny

Spot on Toure!

May. 19 2009 02:10 PM
the truth from bkny

Annoying and the true kiss of death CORNY!

It's a rap for this clown!

May. 19 2009 02:09 PM
Robots Need 2 Part'ay from Brooklyn

Eminem is the new Weird Al Yankovic. So he's as relevant as you can be making fun of other celebrities.

May. 19 2009 01:48 PM

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