Eminem’s New Song ‘Berzerk’ Released & Everyone Needs to Relax
August 29, 2013 7 Comments
If you’re a true Eminem fan, saying something negative about the White God is like saying something bad about The Godfather, Goodfellas, The Wire or Breaking Bad. It’s pretty much expected that someone nearby will be ready to punch you in the face and feel justified for doing so.
But everyone needs to relax. If we drop the whole, “it doesn’t sound like the old Slim Shady” argument and understand that he is never coming back, there really aren’t really too many negative things to say about Eminem’s new single Berzerk. Granted, if any other rapper released this song with the exact same delivery, we’d probably say it wasn’t very good…but they didn’t. Eminem released it, and somehow we have become receptive to his shouting punch lines. I actually think the song is OK and, when keeping in mind the argument that Eminem’s recent singles have been the worst song on his subsequent albums, expect big things from MMLP2.
But everyone needs to relax. This song is not “amazing.” This song does not resurrect the caliber of music he put out in 1999-2004. Give any 30 seconds of a song from his first four albums (including Infinite) a listen to, and you’ll realize that immediately. His old songs have context and a story that you can follow from the very first time you listen…even if that story is about killing his ex-wife. You can feel the anger and the passion (and, I guess, the drugs), while here I just hear him trying. Slim Shady didn’t try, he just was – and most importantly…he just don’t give a fuck. I consider this album being named MMLP2 borderline blasphemous (yes, blasphemous), unless he knocks us all on our asses and releases songs identical to Stan, Drug Ballad, or Marshall Mathers.
In the 48 hours that this song has been out, I’ve had half a dozen people tell me to “listen to it a few more times, it’ll grow on [you].” No. Eminem’s songs aren’t comparable to an 18-year-old trying to drink coffee or appreciate a glass of wine. Eminem songs are songs that make you say “oh shit” from the first listen and rewind mid-song because you just can’t wait to hear that line again. His raps were so audible, and a lot of that can be credited to his underwhelming (yet amazing) beats, of just stripped down loops that gave his voice center stage. Listen to The Way I Am, Cleaning Out My Closet, If I Had, etc. and tell me if those beats are overbearing. This strictly simile/metaphoric style of rapping is so new school, and the overproduced Bezerk-type beat goes right with it. I love the Beastie Boys too, but that is not Slim Shady’s style. His style had such intricate and complex internal and external rhyme schemes…ones that make him one of the greatest rappers of all time.
“Plus I just showed up with a coat fresher than wet paint”
– Berzerk, 2013
“Okay quit playin’ with the scissors and shit, and cut the crap”
– Not Afraid, 2010
“I just sneeze, but I just go atchoo then achieve!”
– Survival, 2013
“Whatever happened to catching a good-ol’ fashioned
passionate ass-whoopin and gettin’ your shoes coat and your hat tooken”
– Marshall Mathers, 2000
“And everything’s spinning, you’re beginning to think women
are swimming in pink linen again in the sink
Then in a couple of minutes that bottle of Guinness is finished
You are now allowed to officially slap bitches”
– Drug Ballad, 2000
Eminem wouldn’t be caught dead in his early career spitting some lame metaphoric punchline. His flow was rhythmic, internal, mind-blowing and incomparable. Also, does it sound weird to anyone else when he brags about himself now? What made his old raps great was that he was ironically rapping about his failure (family problems, being broke/bullied, drugs, etc). Take all of that away, and he really doesn’t have anything too meaningful to rap about. While other artists were boasting about how much money they had, how dope their raps were and what types of cars they were driving, Eminem was giving us lines like “I ain’t had a woman in years, and my palms are too hairy to hide” (My Name Is, 1999). This new album seems as if it will be the antithesis of the original Marshall Mathers LP.
But in comparison to his recent releases, I can’t say I expected more or less from Berzerk. It was right on par. For some reason, Marshall Bruce Mathers III’s vocal chords have developed in a way that inhibit him from sounding the way he did on the Slim Shady LP, Marshall Mathers LP, Eminem Show, or even Encore. I would personally rather him use the accent from Relapse than listen to the way he raps on Recovery. I loved Relapse. I understand why the accent wasn’t well received, but the sick, twisted (yet hilarious), darkness of it reminded me of that evil Eminem we all knew and loved. His word play was unbelievable on that album, and when it wasn’t accepted by the public, he went pretty mainstream on Recovery…doing songs with Rihanna (who he once said he would pee on). Unfortunately, I believe that this is now the Eminem that we are going to get for the rest of his career…Which should probably be over, according to the man himself.
Did we forget about the Benzino beef? Or the fact that Eminem thought he’d be on a porch, holding a 40, telling stories to Hailie’s kids right now? Two of Eminem’s best diss tracks (inarguably in my opinion) are ‘Nail in the Coffin’ and ‘The Sauce,’ both of which seem to have a strong common theme: Benzino is REALLY old.
“You’re never gonna blow, bitch, you’re just too old
No wonder you’re sore now, lordy you’re bored now
I’m pushing thirty, you’re kickin’ forty’s door down”
– The Sauce, 2002
“I don’t wanna be like this
I don’t really wanna hurt no feelings
But I’m only being real when I say
Nobody wants to hear their grandfather rap (nope)
And old men have heart attacks
And I don’t wanna be responsible for that, so
Put the mic down and walk away
You can still have a little bit of dignity”
– Nail in the Coffin, 2002
Benzino’s age in 2002? Thirty-seven. Now, I am not comparing Eminem to Benzino whatsoever. That would be ridiculous. But I am tired of Em making subpar music at an age where he expects men to throw out their lower backs. These two freestyles are discussed amongst the best diss tracks of all time and could never be tainted, but he’s slowly losing some reputation credit in my book. In his defense though, he is comparatively younger to Jay-Z (43) and Dre (48). Maybe Detox will drop sometime in the next decade and be like The Chronic revamped. Syllables is a great song, but I have my doubts.
To sum it all up…Slim Shady’s name will never be ruined, but we all need to understand that he’s also never coming back. We don’t have to be obsessed with every single thing he puts out, the same way we don’t have to hate Limp Bizkit just because he had beef with them (seriously, come on, Chocolate Starfish and the Hot Dog Flavored Water was awesome). I guess the final question is: Would you rather hear Eminem put out mediocre songs or no songs?
I can’t argue against people who choose the former…but everyone needs to relax.
My Eminem album order (not including EPs):
– Marshall Mathers LP
– Eminem Show
– Slim Shady LP
– Whatever is coming out now (potentially switchable with Recovery)