Should Eminem Get A Grammy?

“He is, it is true, one of the most learned of poets. In America he had taken up the study of Romance Languages with the intention of teaching. After work in Iowa and Vermont, after pursuing the urban verb from New York to L.A., he deserted the thesis on Lope de Vega and the Ph.D. and the professorial chair, and elected to remain in the states. Eminem has spoken out his mind from time to time on the subject of scholarship in American universities, its deadness, its isolation from genuine appreciation, and the active creative life of rap. He has always been ready to battle against pedantry. As for his own learning, he has studied poetry carefully, and has made use of his study in his own verse.”

So who sucks more cockatiel, Eminem, the Grammy's or Rolling Stone Magazine?

Three arguments come to mind. The first is that the album is really not that good. This is difficult to prove and will only be asserted. The second is that we don't have to give him the award if we don't want to. If Eminem's lyrics intentionally incite violence against gays, then I thought there were laws against this already. I could be wrong. But wait, didn't Lenny Bruce break laws too, laws against profanity? Yes, well. Those were some pretty lame laws. Only presidential historians can determine whether an artist was merely a lawbreaker or ahead of his time. During his time, Lenny Bruce was a hero to the counter culture , while mainstream society branded him a social deviant. Today, his genius is widely recognized (even by mainstream critics) because they aren't about to argue with liner notes. If Em's gay bashing lyrics truly are ahead of their time, then time will no doubt vindicate him. But time will judge the people who give out the awards too, perhaps even more harshly. Obviously, mainstream society in the 60's were a bunch of blockheads. I think that has come to light.

But let's get back to Eminem here for a second. I am not advocating "stopping the art" by taking away his amplifiers, mixing equipment or the people who actually produce the music. There's a big distinction between not rewarding anti-social behavior versus trying to censor it. And Eminem's lyrics, if not actually illegal, are certainly anti-social. Therefore, we are under no obligation to do anything but say, "okay, we're not sure if this is art or just a load of crap, so we're going to give this year's award to Tom Petty." I figure we can get away with this for about five more years, and by then Eminem will either be mellowed out or dead.

The third argument is that great art cannot be idiotic. If the lyrics in Eminem's album do encourage violence against homosexuals, then the album cannot be a truly great album. We can even make that our sole definition for greatness. Any art that is not offensive to gays is great art. The facts will bare witness. If there were no better albums this year, and there were (Kid A and Midnight Vultures), then I think we should give the award to Senator Orin Hatch, whose incredible debut album was somehow passed over at least year's awards. Vast left wing conspiracy.

But What do the people at the Grammy's think?

"We're always concerned when either women's organizations, or civil rights groups or groups that represent gays and lesbians are upset by anything our organization does," National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences president Michael Greene told "But I think you have to take a look at the role of art in this society. Part of what it's supposed to do is provoke. We have a situation here, you have kids whose whole job in life is to find ways to piss their parents off. I think Eminem has done a spectacular job pissing just about everybody off. We certainly don't condone the message, but it is a curious situation when probably the most repugnant recording is also, in some ways, the most remarkable. So we'll see what happens. But don't get the recording confused with the message, because we're not honoring the message at all." - Michael Greene

Don't get the recording confused with the message? Is this guy for real? Then he says, "But I think you have to take a look at the role of art in this society. Part of what it's supposed to do is provoke." Okay, so basically he's saying that the award is for "most controversial" and not necessarily "best" or even "most-influential" music. At first, I thought this would be a difficult argument, a ten round thrilla, but then I found this Eminem meditation on written by someone named Toure.

You may find Eminem popping out of your own mouth, because he's the most quotable MC alive, both consistently funny and ridiculously far over the top. He rarely uses the same rhyme pattern twice, and he changes his vocal style again and again on Marshall Mathers, often in the space of one verse — he uses six different voices in one stretch of "Criminal." His feelings on Jennifer Lopez: "I'm sorry, Puff/But I don't give a fuck if this chick was my own mother/I'd still fuck her with no rubber." And life in Detroit: "That's why we're crowned the murder capital still!/This ain't Detroit!/This is motherfuckin' Hamburger Hill!/We don't do drive-bys/We park in front of houses and shoot/And when the police come, we fuckin' shoot it out with 'em, too!" - Toure

Wait a minute...I think...yes, Eminem is popping out of my own mouth...I can't control's about time to pull out my nine...yeah...i'm fuckin' crazy...not real name was Daisy...yeah...lemme find a cop so I can fuckin' shoot it out with him too...booyah. Whoa, that was pure poetry. I must have been inspired. And wait, where's my Pulitzer Prize for this essay? And why am I not on Yahoo for this? God damn cock suckers don't know good op ed when they see it.

One Eminem listener told me (off the record) they like it because it helps them wallow in their anger at their parents, society and other stressors. And yes, if someone wants to listen to angry music to vent, then by all means, bring the noise. But hey, have these people ever listened to Nirvana? Talk about anger, anger and production value. Or even the John Lennon song Mother is pretty bitter. So, what I'm saying is here's an open invitation (and pardon), no questions asked, for all Eminem fans who would like to switch to Nirvana. "Let me out of here and I'll forget the whole God damn thing. It'll be just like nothing ever happened."

The Eminem Show Reviewed
'Insane props' to P Vee for sending me a non-paid-for copy of 'The Eminem Show', so I could review it.

Track 10 is the first good song I’ve heard so far.

Track 13 is not worth mentioning except for it has the line “Let’s let our love unfurl” twice.

Track 14 is terrible. I mean really terrible. Shit. Listen to it. [.wav]. If you don’t think that’s terrible. You’re an idiot. And you probably watch American Idol. “Yo. I can’t sing but I feel like singing. I want to fucking sing.” Actually, the more I listen to this, the more it grows on me. It's definitely terrible singing, and the music is made by pushing button three on some machine. But I will say this. Eminem does sing with a lot of conviction. And you can sort of vicariously feel angry and tormented as you listen to it. I can see the appeal.

Track 16 has a catchy synthesizer beat and a great ending. Too bad it’s someone else rapping. Or not. I’m just guessing. I don’t care.

Track 19 is good. Using his daughter like that is so wrong—wrong, and hilarious.

One of his songs—I can’t even remember which one—finally explains what rap music is all about over an Aerosmith sample:
See what these kids do is hear about us toting pistols
And they want to get one cause they think the shit’s cool
Not knowing we really just protecting ourselves
We entertainers of course this shit’s affecting our sales
You ignoramous but music is reflection of self
We just explain it and then we get our checks in the mail
To being able to have any fucking thing we wanted
That’s why we sing for these kids who don’t have a thing
Except for a dream and a fucking rap magazine
Who post pinup pictures on their walls all day long.
Idolize their favorite rappers and know all their songs.
Or for anyone who’s ever been through shit in their lives
So they sit and they cry at night wishing they die
Till they throw on a rap record and they sit and they hide
We’re nothing to you, but we’re the fucking shit in their eyes.
That’s why we seize the moment—try to freeze it and own it.
Squeeze it and hold it, cause we consider these moments golden
And maybe they’ll admit it when we’re gone.
Let spirits live on through lyrics that you hear in our songs.
And we can [Aerosmith lyrics]
Um, okay. So the argument here is that Eminem is helping young impoverished children by taking their money and spending it on whatever he wants. That's cool.
“But we’re the fucking shit in they’re eyes.”
In summary, this is an album with two good songs on it.
Vivian's Response
> *i think when i listen to eminem, i don't listen to the words the rhymes
> the timing the whatever, as much as you do.
> i like catchy tunes. i like to sing a long.

Eminem Bonus Tracks

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