Devil’s Night

As much as Eminem tries to look and act hard—dressing like a thug, giving everyone the middle finger—he still seems like a baby-faced poseur to me. That’s not to say he can’t rap; his rapid-fire delivery is evident here with a group of old Detroit “friends” (able rap artists Proof, Kon Artis, Bizarre, Kuniva, Swifty) who once made a promise that whoever made it big first would “come back for the rest.” Thanks to swirling controversy (the big rap game requires a couple of crimes for street cred) and 14 million records sold, Eminem undeniably made it.

As a prize, his agro-nasal ranting is featured on many of the choruses here. Musically, the songs are childishly simple—little keyboard riffs that a 4-year-old could manage on his first trip to a music store—while the sick-n-twisted wordsmiths toss cold-hearted juvenile fantasies between them like a circle jerk of no-GED-holdin’ fools who would rape their own kin for a platinum record.

The songs manage to offend nearly everyone—with obvious nods to Columbine type psychos—while (to borrow from Spinal Tap) “treading in a sea of sexual retardation” and violence solely for the purpose of shocking. It’s obvious they want to cement themselves as the new breed of “parent-offenders” tailor-made for the lemming legions of young rebel wannabes. It all gets mind-numbingly boring quick.

But hey, it’s artistic expression, berating women with lines like "your breath smells like you been sucking senior citizens … kiss my dirty ass/ I’m your pimp you’re my bitch," ad nauseam. Fart jokes, rape fantasy skits, gun and narcotics praise, it’s all here; meanwhile, some may wonder how long before Eminem’s sales drop and the next industry sucker takes over. Call me a playa-hata, but this stuff is fundamentally weak.