December 30, 2009

My Gut Reaction: Eminem - Relapse: Refill (December 21, 2009)

For the last write-up of 2009, I've elected to go with Interscope's most recent cash grab, Eminem's Relapse: Refill, mainly because it's fucking short.

Released a few days before Christmas, Marshall Mathers provided the few fans he has left with seven tracks which were allegedly earmarked for the Relapse 2 album that he hinted at during one of the skits on the original 2009 release.

According to a press release, Eminem decided to go in an entirely different direction with his 2010 album, but as he didn't want these songs to go to waste, he included them on a bonus disc. In reality, Relapse: Refill was probably in the cards all along; with the prevalent theme of pills overshadowing the entire project, that addendum to the title was too fucking convenient to just be something clever that someone in the marketing department came up with in November.

I wasn't a big fan of Relapse, but it was one of my most popular posts in all of 2009, at least if you're counting all of the comments left by readers. So why the hell shouldn't I look into the bonus material that constitutes the only real draw of Relapse: Refill?

Here's why.

Well, the obvious complaint regarding the inclusion of “Forever”, the 2009 “Swagga Like Us”, is that this is Drake's song, not Marshall's, which is a similar complaint I would have had if the aforementioned T.I. song also appeared on Hova's The Blueprint 3 as it was originally intended to. It's only on Relapse: Refill because it's currently blowing up radio airwaves, and it's the only Eminem song that hit in 2009 that didn't include an awful accent and/or sucked. (And yes, I'm including the boring “Beautiful” in that list. Some say that is the man's finest showing since “Stan”. Some are completely wrong.) After hearing this shit over and over again while driving, here are my observations: (1) Boi-1da's beat isn't awful; (2) Kanye West punches the clock much earlier than his peers, as if he's trying to scam some overtime from his employer, and still turns in the worst verse; (3) Drake doesn't impress on here, either; (4) Eminem technically has the most lyrically flexible contribution (because if he didn't, would this song even make an appearance?), but, surprisingly, Weezy's verse is more proficient. I know, I'm weirded out by my own statement, too. Probably the best aspect of this track is its video, where the members of Slaughterhouse stood behind Em and ignited rumors that flooded the Interweb almost immediately.

Doesn't Em have a lost song from his The Slim Shady LP days with the same title? Even if he does, this is clearly a more recent effort, proven by Marshall's stupid fucking accent that he really needs to lose. The Dre prescription sounds like something he originally crafted for Busta Rhymes; it isn't bad, but both Em and Andre sound awkward over it, especially when Dre decides to speed-rap. Marshall says nothing of consequence on here, leaving me to wonder why this wasn't on Relapse, an album that also consisted of the man not saying much.

This homage to The Silence Of The Lambs is sadistic as shit, and Marshall's accent grows increasingly worrisome, but if you look at this with the mindset that Eminem is a bullshit artist who rhymes about shit such as this because he's an antisocial nut job, than this is actually pretty good. Dre's beat certainly helps, as simple as it is. Em's horrorcore tactics wouldn't have fit on Relapse, as that album already contained “3 a.m.” and its own shout-out to Jame Gumb, but Em's flow is as creative as he can be on his best days. Anyone else think that the second voice he trots out during the third verse sounds like his impression of Seth Rogen as a Muppet?

The hook on this non-Flo Rida sampling, self-produced effort is overly wordy but still interesting: it's a shame that the rest of the song doesn't hold itself up to the same standards. There used to be a time when the media would go apeshit over the lyrical content of Marshall's music: nowadays, it's a given that the man will say something fucked up, just like his old running buddy Marilyn Manson, who hasn't done anything remotely controversial in years (besides fuck his girlfriend, Evan Rachel Wood, in a music video). His mean-spirited potshot at Adam Lambert only shows that Em pays attention to popular culture: the fact that it's immediately followed by some barbs thrown in the direction of Lance Bass, an artist nobody has given a fuck about since the first Dubya administration, proves that Marshall Mathers is completely out of touch with reality. This song was pretty terrible.

If you shelled out hundreds of dollars for the special edition version of DJ Hero, you were treated to a double-disc set which consisted of songs handpicked by Jay-Z and Eminem from their respective catalogs; this was one of Marshall's choices. I'm convinced that Em uses his ridiculous accent because he has nothing to say, and he believes that masking this lyrical deficiency with an annoying voice will help him sell records. Sadly, it has already: Relapse is one of the top-selling albums of the year, but that album (and Refill by proxy) will never stand up to the test of time like Marshall's first three major label efforts. Yeah, I said it. This should have stayed locked up in the fucking vault.

This musical exercise is all about the Slim Shady persona turning into a murderous pedophile, a natural progression if I've ever heard one. While the subject matter is halfway clever (the song morphs into a psychological mindfuck midway through), it's still pretty fucking boring. Some song ideas should remain in the head of our host.

I already reviewed and disliked this song, but for those of you who refuse to click on the link, here's the gist: Dre's beat is pedestrian, as if he made it in his sleep and then decided to charge full price for it anyway, and Marshall's hook is fucking horrible. Lyrically, he comes across as okay, but my problem with both Relapse and this bonus disc isn't Em's flow: it's his lack of anything interesting to say.

THE LAST WORD: Relapse: Refill is an unnecessary addendum to one of the most disappointing comeback albums of 2009. It consists of six songs that, for the most part, will only interest hardcore collectors, as they have no place on any album project, and one additional song that wasn't even Eminem's to begin with, included only to trick people into buying this shit. Dr. Dre, who produced most of these songs, provides such a plodding atmosphere that I'm almost certain that Detox will suck whenever the fuck it actually drops. While the original Relapse contained a handful of moments that were worthy of the Eminem canon, this seven-track bonus disc is something I cannot rationalize: Interscope just wanted to make more money. And I don't want to hear any bullshit arguments that this isn't a cash grab: if Eminem and the label really gave a fuck about the fans, Refill would also be available as a separate EP, not unlike Lady Gaga's The Fame Monster, but since they clearly don't, Interscope actually expects people to pay for these throwaway tracks. I didn't care for most of these (“Buffalo Bill” was alright, though), but if you're an Em stan, I recommend that you seek alternative means for finding these tracks. Everybody else can forget all about Relapse: Refill, as it is of no use to hip hop whatsoever.


Catch up on Eminem's album reviews by clicking here.


  1. I'm going with max on this one, it's just a cash grab and nothing really worth anyone's valuable time

  2. Start the New Year with a Me Against the World review, you know you want to. Ok, maybe you don't but do it anyway. Oh, and Relapse and Refill both suck AIDS infected monkey balls.

    Have a happy New Year!

  3. Your are such a fucking moron Max.

    Everytime I am on here U claim "oh Lil Wayne sucks" but if you go through your reviews ie. "Theatre of the Mind", "Duets; The Final Chapter", "Relapse; Refill" you constantly claim Dwayne isnt actually that bad.

    Do yourself a fucking favour and go and listen to Tha Carter III and rewrite your hatred for Wayne because although Jeezy/T.I./Gucci Mane/Plies and loads of other shit from 2008 is not worthy of a review C3 definetely deserves some props.

    Oh and Happy New Year!!!

  4. Max you should do a review on skillz year-end rapup" series or do your own decade-end review. Quite a decade in hip-hop, hopefully the next decade doesn't continue to dig itself a hole and the roots can start growing again.. looking forward to more hip-hop reviews! peace!

  5. ^^^ LOL @ this butthurt lil wayne stan.

  6. Ringpeace - we'll see. But you better make sure you leave a comment if/when it does happen.

    And I don't understand how I can't admit that Weezy has some decent verses in his catalog and still believe that he's the most overrated rapper in this fucking century. Surely I'm not the only person who feels this way. Luckily, a reader already tackled The Carter III, so I'm home free, as far as I'm concerned.

    Thanks for reading!

  7. u r an asshole. if u think u r so smart why dont make a record and see how many copies its sells nd how many good reviews it gets

  8. Sorry, Stan. Didn't mean to get your panties in a wad. They're called opinions for a reason. If you feel so differently, you are always welcome to submit a reader review rebutting my write-up. Or you could leave the non-committed responses (ones which don't even say that you like the fucking album or anything) to your fucking self.

    Thanks for reading! Signed, Smart Max

  9. i agree with this review i think eminem lost touch and needs to get that seriousness back which i know he still has it in him because that mariah diss was pretty funny. Lil wayne is also overrated with his 4 letter word rhymes. Have the time he doesnt even stick to the basics which is STAY ON TOPIC he talks about 3000 different things in one song. Only song i liked of LILWAYNE recently is DROP THE WORLD.