Relapse by Eminem
What makes Eminem so unusual? Is it the fact he willingly embraces his white-ness? It is his shape-shifting nature? Is it his explicit nature in lieu of classics like N.W.A (Hence his infamous Dr. Dre production)? In Relapse, all three of these come together to create an Eminem we haven’t heard since The Slim Shady LP . He summons not the Slim Shady from more humorous albums, but the murderous chainsaw-wielding madman from his early days.The album opens with a skit entitled “Dr. West,” that portrays Eminem in a meeting with a counselor that quickly turns into a nightmare. If you didn’t keep up with Eminem’s grief and drug addiction in the four-year period before this album was released, you might need some context. After his childhood friend Denaun Porter (known by the stage name as “Proof”) was shot at a afterhours club in Detroit, Eminem fell into a prescription-drug scented haze. In 2008, Eminem overdosed on methadone and landed in the hospital. Afterwards, he checked into rehab and started writing a new album. But Relapse is obviously drug-induced. It’s a trip into the mind of a man scared of himself. The opening skit foreshadows what this album is: a disturbing, twisted therapy season leading straight to the pharmacy. The record has two shining moments that reminded me of early-years Eminem, the family man who hated the industry and just wanted the best for his daughters. Those two songs are “Deja vu” and “Beautiful”. “Deja vu” is a heart-bearing account of his addiction, involving falling asleep in the back of his car and hiding drugs from his eleven-year old daughter Hailie. “Beautiful” is a sample-heavy inspirational rap ballad in style of his earlier song “Say Goodbye Hollywood”. But this album isn’t for everyone. It’s proudly disgusting, loud and rude. Plus, Eminem’s exploration of accents (Including Jamaican and British) can be trying at the best. But flaunting complex rhyme schemes and stunning beats make up for the faults. No one can call Relapse the next Marshall Mathers LP, but this weaker album has notable highlights, including Dr. Dre and 50 Cent cameos and a baffling yet somehow possible rhyme of “red panties” with “drumbeat” without batting a eye. In all, Relapse is a must-buy for all Eminem fans and a must-avoid for all Eminem haters. Ayo.