Fish in a barrel

I’m not one to keep up with current pop culture events but I’m thoroughly enjoying Eminem’s roasting of rappers he views as mediocre or just plain terrible.

This current crop of smelly-looking  brain dead auto-tuned mumblers look like lunch to a lion like eminem awakening from a deep slumber to find a bunch of sickly hyenas stumbling around his territory and pissing on the genre he loves as the brain-dead masses give a standing ovation.

Coming from an era in which lyrical prowess was everything, Eminem sees these kids and thinks “What the FUCK?”

Of course it’s highly entertaining to hear him tear these kids to shreds, fucking with many of them for no other reason than the fact that he doesn’t like their music. I get it . I don’t like it either.

I have to ask myself though, why do I hate it? Do I hate it because I’m comparing to what my idea of rap/hip hop is based the tapes I grew up listening to?

I try to process something like Lil’ Pump and I’m like “Where’s the lyrics? What is this shit? Where’s the new Wu-Tangs and Ice Cubes and Tribe Called Quests? Where’s the new Busta Rhymes? I mean I can Rap better than these fucking idiots any day of the week.

Right?

Sure. All of that’s true. But they aren’t trying to be lyricists. It’s not really fair to criticize them for doing exactly what they set out to do, which was to create some kind of minimalist abstract thing for kids who steal Xanax from their parents’ medicine cabinets to vibe to. And make money doing so.

This isn’t LL Cool J vs Kool Moe Dee. This isn’t Cube vs NWA. This isn’t Nas vs Jay-Z. It’s no quik vs Eiht. It isn’t even the Roxanne wars. This is an older man attacking young people because he thinks they suck, and I’m on board with it. I can’t help myself. They represent an unkempt lawn, and Eminem is like a big ol’ John Deere riding mower plowing over their lanky, tattooed carcasses and turning them into stale-cigarette-and-B.O.-scented mulch.

They can’t even clap back, because get real, with the exception of Machine Gun Kelley, who made an admirable attempt, they can’t rap for shit.

Eminem knows that. In his long history of beefing with celebrities and rappers not even on his level, not once has he ever engaged anyone who could beat him at his own game. He’s dissed Mariah Carey, N’sync, Britney Spears, Everlast, etc.

He’d never beef with rappers on or above his level, like Treach, Method Man, Busta, Rakim etc.

People have always pointed this out, and the thing is, there’s too much mutual respect floating around between him and them for any such beef to occur. That’s my theory, anyway.

He sees something he thinks is shit, and he calls it shit. Someone talks about him, he responds in the way best suited to him, which is through lyrics. He’s taking out the trash, in other words. I’ve always loved that about him.

The MGK response was interesting because he knows he can’t touch Em, so he replied from a different angle. He makes accusations against Eminem that make him sound like a total douche that nobody would want to associate with. I mean, Eminem is going to destroy him, but it was kinda cute, like, “Awwww, look how tough he is with that shovel, saying these serious words like a grown adult.”

He played the age card, which was really unavoidable and harkened back to, for me, the days of Eminem’s feud with Everlast. Everlast’s response was a bunch of early 90s tough-guy boneheaded nonsense and Eminem turned him into coleslaw, going for the jugular with extensive mockery of the man’s heart problems.

So this is kind of like that, a passing of the torch, except that all falls apart when you take into account the fact that neither Everlast nor MGK will ever approach Eminem on a lyrical level.

Still, he kind of got him, just a little bit, and that’s a good thing. Eminem is at his best when he feels cornered and attacked, whether it’s reality or largely fabricated in his head.

As far as the mumble rappers go, I hate to defend them in any way, but when hip hop started it was about DJs. Rappers were an accessory to the DJ, their presence serving to hype up the crowd. Just clap your hands everybody, everybody, clap your hands.

And everyone dressed like bdsm people.

Obviously Grandmaster Flash and the furious five along with others helped bring rapping to an equal level with DJ -ing before nearly eclipsing it years later, but it all started out as a real DIY, vibe-creating movement, much like what these kids are doing now in their bedrooms on laptops.

There weren’t any Rakims or Big Daddy Kanes or KRS-Ones around when hip hop started. It was people standing in front of a crowd and bragging about how good the DJ was. It was about breakdancing, graffiti, etc etc etc. Too much to go into here, but you have the Internet. Google it.

It was essentially a cousin to punk, and faced the same backlash from R&B fans as punk did from classic rockers who didn’t understand how songs with three sloppily played chords and a lot of shouting constituted music. They didn’t “get it.” I feel like a little bit of the same thing is going on now with these kids who are just trying to be fucking weirdos and carve their own identity through experimentation. It’s ugly to watch, I fucking hate it, but I’m able to ignore it for the most part and filter it out of my sphere of existence.

I can remember hearing people get angry as fuck about rap in the 80s. People just hated it, like, “They’re just talking and they don’t even play any instruments!”

I heard stuff like LL Cool J, Run-DMC, Fat Boys, Salt-N-Pepa, etc, and I loved it. I loved the wordplay, I liked the hardness and minimalism of the beats. I could relate to it on some level, especially later on when I heard NWA, Public Enemy and Ice-T. It was angry and loud, and railed against injustice. Not my injustice, but the sentiment can be applied to anything. The vibe. It’s the same vibe I got from thrash metal or punk. Middle fingers in the air, fuck authority, question everything, stand up to your oppressors, etc. Self-empowerment.

That’s sort of what these apathetic little shits now get out of this mumble rap shit. I’m not so sure I hate it because I’m too old, because when I was 20, in 1997, I was calling Master P and most of the artists on his label “mumble rap.” I was like “what’s this dumbed down shit? Can I have some intelligence, please?”

Granted, I was also into Too $hort and 2 Live Crew, and I cant defend that on a lyrical level, but it was fun. It’s good shit, and they knew how to write songs. In retrospect, so did the artists on No Limit or Cash Money that I despised so much in the late 90s. I’ve grown to appreciate Master P and his whole thing he had going on. But now it’s all 2 Live Crew. But it’s not fun like 2 Live. It’s not about fucking and having fun. It’s about being apathetic and doing as little as possible for a shit ton of money and zoning out on Xanax while tweeting the day away. There is no balance in mainstream rap. The standard is set so low that if you can get out of bed by noon and make groaning sounds into a laptop, you can be a rapper.

When I heard “Gucci Gang”and watched the accompanying video, though , I was flabbergasted. How is this stupid-looking piece of shit able to get rich off this sad excuse for music? I sound just like those old people ranting and raving about Run-DMC “ruining Aerosmith.”

You know what, though? I don’t care. It’s not for me and I don’t have to like it. Good for you, you gross Raggedy Andy looking motherfuckers, do your thing. Just know that your time here is limited and sooner or later the jig will be up as you fall by the wayside to make way for more lyrical newer rappers like J Cole, Joyner Lucas, Kendrick Lamar, Hopsin etc. Eminem is just clearing the path.

In any case, pissing Eminem off inspires him to create his best work, so it’s win-win. It’s fun to watch him get his LL Cool J on. Album title itself references LL’s “I’m Bad.”

Kamikaze, take a look at what I’ve done, used to rock in my basement now I’m number one.

On a side note, I’d like to point out that all of this hoopla has kind of obscured the fact that we have been blessed with new music from Method Man, Redman, and a Fergie-less(fergielessious?) Black Eyed Peas.

2 thoughts on “Fish in a barrel

  1. Great points well illustrated.
    Rap has all but died in the mainstream i mean its almost vanished so for Eminem to come back yet again is awesome.
    And he merely highlights how garbage and shitty today’s crop of incoherent mumbo jumbo are.
    Diction and pronunciation unite all the best rappers, you can hear wtf they are saying – do kids these days just want a catchy beat and some vaguely attempted hooks with some mumblein between?!
    Ah well lol

  2. That’s the thing though, lyricism is seen as passé, so these kids hear eminem coming at ‘em with all these razor-sharp lyrical attacks and they aren’t impressed. He just sounds like an out-of-touch old man to them. It’s cool to be shitty now.

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