June 16, 2009

A Reader's Gut Reaction: Eminem - Relapse (May 19, 2009)

(For today's Reader Review, I'm going in a slightly different direction, with Red Magic's review of The Marshall Mathers Relapse. I'm running this as a Gut Reaction post because the disc has been out for less than a fucking month, and yet people still have the balls to deem this an instant classic. The fuck is that shit about? An album has to be in circulation for a while before it can be deemed anything other than "entertaining" or "disappointing". But I digress.)

After 4 years of eating fast food, taking drugs and hanging around at a rehab clinic, Eminem, known to the pizza boy and Mother Mathers as Marshall, returns to the music scene thereby ending his hiatus (yeah… I stole that word from Wikipedia). The man who is possibly the most-well known rapper alive is no longer the pissed off person who went diamond with The Marshall Mathers LP, nor is he trying to downgrade his ex-girlfriend Kim at any opportunity. Basically, Marshall flew to Michigan with his buddy Andre Young and decided to record some songs. Interestingly, this little outing ended up becoming two albums which are known as Relapse and Relapse 2. Also, I remember being hooked on the computer during the hours it started leaking (don’t worry, I purchased it) and to be honest I wasn’t that impressed, especially by “We Made You.”

The reason for this review is my belief that Max’s critique is besmirched by his (well-founded) anger at Blackout!2’s poor interest as well as his anti-Eminem stance in the Royce Da 5’9/D-12 debate. (I can't be the only guy who feels that Royce is better than all of the members of D-12 that aren't Em combined, am I?) Nevertheless, I do enjoy his reviews and wanted to congratulate him seeing as his blog is one of the few I enjoy, especially since other critics, let us not mention names (okay, lets; The Source) have fallen short.

Personally, I blame Eminem and Coolio for shoving me towards hip hop. I even remember ice skating in Scotland in 1995 and nodding my head to “Gangsta's Paradise” (You two can do with that image what you will.) . Additionally, Eminem’s lyricism on “Stan” was insane and essentially turned me away from my parents feeble attempts to make me like The Beatles (hey, what's wrong with The Beatles?) and towards U.S. hip hop. Hence, it was pretty obvious that I would purchase Relapse.

Before I start, I would like to state my distaste for the following rappers:


That is all.

The one thing that is annoying about hip hop is skits. I do like Dominic West as an actor, but his cameo role in this is not necessary. Pass.

2. 3 A.M.
I remember when this leaked I thought it was absolute bullshit and considered deleting every Eminem song on my iTunes playlist. My girlfriend (a big Eminem fan, like myself) exclaimed it was “amateuristic” and at the time I agreed. (Not entirely sure that's a word, but that's fine.) 2 weeks and a catalogue of whisky’s later, it’s still not worth a listen and is arguably the poorest start to an Eminem album.

The lump of shit which is called "3. A.M." is followed by the 2nd best song on the album. The hook is hilarious and although I agree with Max that Young merely sells Marshall his “What’s The Difference” beat with some extras, it’s still pretty awesome. Also, it seems Eminem is actually enjoying himself and goofing around whilst acknowledging that fans are tired of him complaining about his upbringing. His verse “I ain’t playing go find you a white crayon and colour a fuckin’ zebra” makes me laugh every time.

This song sounds like a The Slim Shady LP leftover track. It’s good, especially the blasting start reminds me of “Brain Damage,” and his verse about being old enough to pee is pretty funny. On the other hand stealing lyrics (or “sampling”) a 1980’s rap band is not exactly breathtaking and this is not better than any song of his first album.

As a Scotsman I have a weak spot for this. Marshall’s accent in the intro reminds me of drunk Glaswegians trying to get a free beer at the pub and the lyricism is dope. Furthermore, mimicking the beat at the end is pretty amusing.

The chorus is utter garbage and like “3 A.M.”, his accent is seriously annoying. Also, repeating his name on every albums is totally unnecessary. If I didn’t know his name, I wouldn’t have bought his fucking album.

Why would anyone want to listen to this?

I was hoping this song would sample Aerosmith’s “Same Old Song & Dance” but, sadly, it does not. However, as a fan of Dawaun Parker (go and listen to Bishop Lamont’s “Grow Up”), I really like his production with Andre on this. Marshall’s first verse is poor but he shakes himself awake and gains muscle the longer the song goes on.

You probably know this, and yes, like the rest of the world, I hate the song, but I still chuckle at Joseph Khan’s video. Eminem’s mocking of Sarah Palin and Amy Winehouse is pretty lame, though, and was it really necessary to mention Elvis again? Running out of ideas, Slim Shady?

This song is atrociously bad and probably would have been the worst song if Curtis hadn’t made an appearance on another song. Next.

Thanks for wasting nineteen seconds of my life, Marshall.

Dr. Dre once again gives Marshall a strong beat which is ruined by the blabbing about absolutely nothing. Oh, and likening yourself to Mozart? Who the hell do you think you are? Lil Wayne? (I’m joking).

The third single and like the other first two singles there is nothing good to say about it. The hook is annoyingly catchy (as in you will be humming this bullshit when eating your dinner). Eminem again uses his stupid voice and sounds even more awful than Relapse first feature, Dr. Dre, who seems either high or confused or maybe a bit of both.

I don’t know why, but I really like this song. Perhaps because the last four songs where worse than my Gran at karaoke. I really like the beat and I have to thank Marshall for making a hook which is worth listening to.


The beat sounds a lot like the previous song but obviously I might be suffering from déjà vu myself. Apparently this is seen by many Eminem fans as a tribute to Proof seeing as he throws the line “Oh ya there's an excuse you lose Proof so you use/There's new rules it's cool if it's helping you to get through” but to be honest the song is disappointing.

The Queens sample is totally unnecessary but this is without a doubt Relapse's most powerful single. Eminem’s attempt at a ballad pays off and his own production is surprisingly awesome. On the other hand, this song reminds me too much of “Sing For The Moment” which is probably the better track, seeing as he actually got the sampled rock band to help on the song.

Hey folks, guess who can’t sell jack shit and has to hop onto his mentor’s ship to gain attention? Oh, how I laughed when I heard his album was going to get scrapped and re-done. As for the song, it’s awful and should have been replaced by a certain bonus track; more on that later.

This skit at least has a point, as it confirms Marshall’s decision to make two albums.

This song is really the main reason for my review. I nearly fell of my chair when Max claimed it was his worst song (maybe he's never listened to “Fack“?). I thought this song was fucking brilliant. It’s what Marshall should have been doing throughout the whole album and it sort of reminds me of “Till I Collapse.” For me everything fits on this song, especially since Eminem uses his normal voice and spits some fiery hate. His dark humour “Cut your fucking head off and ask you where your headed off to/Get it, headed off to?” ensures that this song outshines anything he has made on Relapse. Thank you Marshall for reminding me why some (unlike me) regard you as the G.O.A.T.

The Relapse Deluxe Edition boasted two iTunes bonus tracks as well as the single versions of “We Made You” and “Crack a Bottle”. Seeing as you have heard my take on the singles, I will merely note some points on the two bonus tracks.

I like Eminem’s self- portrayal as a “sleeping giant”, but to be honest this song is nothing special and the hook is utter tripe.

The beginning for some reason reminds me of Young Jeezy’s “Put On” song intro about the recession (obviously) affecting America. However, unlike that piece of garbage this is pretty sweet and should have been substituted for “Crack a Bottle”. Eminem proves he can still tell a story and rightly notes the critics diverse ratings of albums after a period of time. Shame it’s not longer though.

THE LAST WORD: Relapse is certainly an interesting album. It proves that Marshall is still an important asset to the rap game and still has some surprises up his sleeve. Although it is by no means his worst album, it hardly has the tools to match The Slim Shady LP or even Encore (I am probably the only person that likes that album). Yet there is something exceptionally different about Marshall and other rappers. His hilarious stunt with Bruno at the MTV awards, his pesky insistence to take his jokes out on egocentric celebrities, in addition to him being the only “real” white rapper (I added the quotation marks), suggest that he will be around for quite a long time and I for one have no trouble with this. As for his new album, “Careful What You Wish For” suggests only time will tell if it will be regarded as a success. Like The Notorious B.I.G. in his lifetime, Eminem is considered a “good” rapper by most hip hop bloggers, but hardly the best. Hopefully somebody will piss Marshall off in a couple of weeks (someone should go knock on Ja Rule’s motel door) and revitalize his anger towards music. However, if Relapse 2 follows the same concept as its predecessor, I will regard a burn as efficient, just like I am for this album. Steve Berman’s indication of the music business “melting the fuck down” as well as worldwide depression luring over us should be enough to make anyone wary of buying an average Eminem album. A handful of the songs are worth a slot on your iPod but it will generally disappoint.

-Red Magic

(Be sure to leave comments, and check out my original Gut Reaction post by clicking here.)


  1. This review was better than Max's. Sorry Max!

  2. max i agree with you that royce is better than all of D12

  3. AnonymousJune 16, 2009

    Good review mate, liking it!

  4. Bought this garbage from itunes. Let it simmer, like the steaming pile that it is, for a couple of weeks, and i've since deleted the entire thing. Awful. Just. godawful. My wife doesn't like Eminem because she can't stand the sound of his voice. Before this album I always thought that was kind of a silly criticism (if his flow is tight, I'm not really concerned about how his voice sounds). But after listening to Relapse, I have to say that Em's voice on that album is like getting your nuts cought in a sausage grinder. Think about that for a minute . . . Yeah. Awful. Between this album and allowing Borat or Bruno or whatever to shove his nuts in your face FOR PUBLICITY (think about THAT, are YOU willing to let some dude hold his nuts in your face for money??? Yeah, me neither), I'm leaving Em alone. Em go sit in the corner with MC Hammer and think about what you did.

  5. AnonymousJune 16, 2009

    The only thing I agree with this guy about more than Max is his opinion of "Underground".

    Personally, I thought it was the nicest song on the album.

  6. This is a so-so album. Not as good as the stans say (due to lackluster production & poor concept) but not as bad as the haters say (due to great flow). Rawr

  7. OK enough with that fuckin Eminem Shit already! Its a shame that bumhead is the only artist in a city so full of talent that gets so much attention. So Max... are you ever gonna do a review yourself again? I suggest you do a gut reaction on - behold - the new U-God album, no joke! I just ehm... digitally previewed it and though U-God cant escape his self the beats are the best and grittiest i ve heard from a Wu artist in a long time! And the Track with GZA on it is really cool!

  8. I too would like to second the U-God album. Cmon Max, you know you have more fun doing gut reviews anyways. Rawr

  9. Max,
    I read this blog for real reviews on real hip-hop.

    So why the hell did you choose to paste this fan-boy's stance on an obviously poor album? You really had nothing else to put up?

  10. AnonymousJune 18, 2009

    Eric... What do you mean "fan-boys" when I said the album was under par?

  11. you had to take the word "hiatus" from wikipedia? that speaks for itself

  12. I really don't know what people want from this album.

    It's good in some spots, bad in others.

    What exactly were you expecting?

    If you accepted Eminem for what he was from the getgo(a clever rapper who made you laugh) then you're fine, but if you were tricked into annointing him the best rapper ever than you have nobody to blame but yourself if your disappointed(I'm looking at you Vibe Magazine).

    The highest points on the album are when Eminem talks about real issues he's gone through, things so personal he has to mask them behind personas, accents, whatever.

    When he's on he still does it better than most.

    But when he's being corny, he can be cornier than most too.

    And Deja Vu is the best song on the album, I don't know what people are talking about when they say it's disappointing.

    Anyway, any reviewer who says he was inspired to listen to rap because of Coolio gets their credibility immediately put into question.

    Everbody knows "Fantastic Voyage" was Coolio's best song anyway.

  13. AnonymousJune 21, 2009

    thanks, I wanted to see what youd think of this album,

  14. AnonymousJune 23, 2009

    bad review, spelling mistakes and misinformed points...

  15. AnonymousJuly 26, 2009

    I like people who rap about real life shit, shit that happens to them or things they have seen. Emniem's Relapse album just does that in most of his songs. This album was a dark album beacuse of what he went through the time he was gone, so that tells me it's going to be a little different from previous albums. If you are a Stan, of course you will like every song (minus We Made You & Crack A Bottle, jesus 50...) but if don't like Em I don't think you like.

    One thing for sure Relapse 2 will NOT be like the first. He is already past that dark stage of drugs (hopefully) and he is back in the light.

  16. Who gives a fuck Eminem's always sucked.

  17. OK, this is an interesting review for an album. All this bashing, and yet, it has sold more than any other album this year, and until any onw of your idiots sells the amount of album eminem has in his lifetime, don't say shit. Hate this album all you want, say all the bad things you want about it, but its a great album, i want to see one of you go platnium in a recession, oh wait, you can't even probably write a song as good as eminem's worse song ever. EMINEM BEST RAPPER ALIVE

  18. Anyone who seriously believes that Eminem's record sales makes this automatically the best rap album of the year has no right to criticize anybody else's opinion about any rapper ever. Sure, Marshall has sold a lot of records - ever since he signed with Dre, he always has. But even he would be the first person to admit that sales don't mean anything.

  19. Agreed Max, sales don't means shit but could you say that about 2pac?? Doesn't Pac have the most record sales? or has has eminem lapsed?? All i can say about this album is it's a waste and feel eminem should cut his contract.. if the aftermath camp does make another effort it's gonna last with Detox but other than that.. I don't think Eminem wants to be in Slim Shady's shoes anymore if you know what i mean.. and that is to allll the STANS out there lol.. sure i was too anticipating this release of Relapse, only in the hopes that he would some how defect from a lot of the worthless bashing and involving himself on bullshit topics about pop music. With that i can sadly say that he and Lady Gaga are close friends.. :( lol.. anyway..