How Eminem Stayed Relevant
(And Why it Can Save Your Blog)

image of rapper Eminem

It’s been eight years since Marshall Mathers released The Eminem Show, the best-selling album of 2002.

It was followed later that year by the semi-autobiographical film 8 Mile, which earned Em an Oscar.

And of course, earlier this year, Eminem hit a career milestone when I wrote about him on Copyblogger.

He stood at the edge of something truly amazing.

And then the other shoe dropped.

His next album Encore was lazy, kicked off by an embarrassing single and followed up with songs that merely echoed what he’d accomplished with The Eminem Show. Even the frivolous songs were missing the deviant humor present in previous singles. Not one song had the gnarled roots of anger or brazen honesty that drenched the best of Em’s first three albums.

When Relapse finally dropped last year after a half-decade disappearing act, fans were famished.

Eminem was pushing 40. He’d lost his closest friend and confidant to a couple of bullets. Surely, now he would have a lot more to say than adolescent one-liners aimed at the women who made him angry.

This was the album everyone was waiting for

But they were let down once again.

Relapse was good, but not great. His skills were there, but Em had lost his relevance. Even fans who defended the album did so in a wavering voice. Maybe he was just done. Maybe this was it.

Then, just under a year after the release of Relapse, he dropped the first single to a new album, “I’m Not Afraid.”

And to the fans, I’ll never let you down again, I’m back
I promise to never go back on that promise, in fact
Let’s be honest, that last Relapse CD was “ehhh.”

And there it was. The honesty was back and so was Eminem.

You don’t have to be a fan of hip-hop or dirty rotten rhymers to appreciate what Eminem accomplished.

He had been phoning it in and he knew it. But rather than skating along on just okay, he went back to the lab and delivered a sonic apology.

If you’ve been phoning it in, it’s okay

You’re a human being, not a machine. You hit a slow spell. You lost your unique voice.

But understand that it’s not a life sentence. Even if your audience is losing interest, it’s never too late to deliver your best and become more relevant than ever.

Here are some things I learned about staying relevant from Eminem’s Recovery:

Be honest

Recovery is a refreshing return to form, mostly because of its stark honesty and humility. Em fesses to letting fans down with his previous releases, but the disclosures run deeper, from suicide to self-loathing.

Be honest with your audience, and you might find them especially forgiving. Though Em wears iron armor of bravado, he has no difficulty letting genuine fragility bleed through the verses. This heart-on-his-sleeve honesty connects him to his audience in a way that can’t be manufactured.

If you’ve screwed up in the past, own up to it. You’ll be surprised how willing your audience is to embrace honesty.

Evolve or die

Heavy repetition and little innovation lead directly to diminishing returns.

Whether you’re an artist, entrepreneur, or both, it’s important to groom your game and keep growing creatively. Em dropped quite a few of his fallback themes from Recovery, including lyrical tirades aimed at his mother and estranged wife, and the skits that had always showed his boisterous, playful side.

Cutting those elements was a risk. They were tried and true, and fans had always liked them. But by doing so, Em gave himself room to create something new and different to embrace.

If you aren’t growing, you’re dying, no matter how good you are at what you do. Em confronted this truth and recorded an album crackling with newfound creativity.

Bring your A-game

Eminem brings all his verbal virtuosity to Recovery, weaving in and out of wordplay, as though a single misstep or broken syllable would crush his credibility.

At the end of “No Love,” Em declares he’s going to spit the “greatest verse of all time,” and though that particular verse may not be it, it is an impressive spitting of 300 words delivered in perfect pentameter, all in under a minute.

Always deliver your best, and remember that whether your audience is spending time or money on the products you create, you owe them the best in the exchange.

Be the best You, not the You it’s easiest to be.

Embrace your fears

Em made fear of irrelevancy his muse, and the result is a harder-driving album than one would expect after a decade of success.

The best aspect of Recovery is it’s the first time Em blends the lessons of his career into a cocktail of his psyche. More than ever before, he accepts responsibility for his life and actions, rather than laying blame on a negligent mom or a savage ghetto.

Never before has Eminem made himself so vulnerable. Which, ironically, made him stronger. Recovery is the resurrection that proves any artist can overcome fear and reclaim their relevance.

How do you stay relevant? What ugly truths have you faced and how have you turned them around to pull the best from your work?

About the Author: Sean Platt is a ghostwriter and Creative Director at REV Media Marketing. Follow him on Twitter.

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  1. I definitely don’t like Eminem’s music genre, but it seems like he’s a good influence in blogging.

    • Raul, I’m the same, I don’t like Eminem but I do like Sean’s posts about him. :)

      • For me, Em transcends genre. He’s able to do stuff with words that make me sit down, shake my head and want to do better.

        Repugnant as some of it may be. :)

        • The fact that a nice, gentle, family-oriented guy like you is a fan does make me listen twice!

          • Ha, it’s funny how often I get that response. I recently revealed Eminem as one of my biggest writing influences to a room of open mouths and cold stares (the climate is slightly different in Ohio than it is in California!).

        • Em’s genius is to take flickerthoughs things that dance just beyond what we are thinking and say ‘em out loud. We don’t quite dare to think these things, we’re about to, but he says it, and it’s already familiar to us. We just didn’t want to own the thoughts.

      • Nice. It’s nice to learn from completely off-topic things. We can grow a very advanced strategy by using the strategies used in other areas than blogging. We can learn how to write a blog post from a movie, for example, try Avatar, or Inception. ;)

  2. Hey Sean,

    Great job with this…I like how you used Eminem story for the blogging world. I’ve always said that if someone drops their EGO they can go very far. Most of the time it is the EGO that gets in the way. For Eminem if he would have dropped his EGO early on and was humble he wouldn’t be a flash of the past.

    Same goes for bloggers, if we are humble to your audience and don’t carry an EGO…people will love you forever. That is what I like about everyone here in Copyblogger…There are no EGO’s!

    Chat with you later…
    Josh

    • I think ego is fine, but it’s important to keep it in check and to never feel that you are above learning or growth.

      Thanks Josh!

  3. Hey Sean,

    Thanks for this post. You make some really great points, and you bring to light something that I recently wrote about that has been churning within me for awhile.

    I think a lot of what you identify as “phonying it,” is a result of losing sight of your original intent.

    When I look at Emeniem’s music over the past 8 years, it seems he allowed externalities to affect his music more than he sought to produce what he wanted for himself. He started to follow the crowd instead of leading the pack.

    As business owners, bloggers, or {fill in the blank}, it’s very important for us not to lose sight of our original intent in serving our customer, audience, or {fill in the blank}.

    If we spend to much time watching, and as a result mimicking, what others are doing we stop giving people what the want from US. And then, we stop being relevant.

    I think it’s essential to take to heart all of the suggestions you made, but to also never stop listening to those who are willing to listen to us.

    • Exactly. At first he was a trailblazer, but after his third album he seemed content to ride the waves of what he’d already done and was expected to do. And though I don’t think he broke new ground with Recovery, I do feel he set the stage for what’s next and that whatever it is has the potential to be remarkable.

  4. Fantastic post Sean.

    When he released Recovery and held his hands up and said he dropped the ball on the last couple of albums, I thought ya gotta give credit to the guy because it does take balls.. and that admission has clearly paid off for the fella.

    lesson to be learned.

  5. This is a great post. I enjoyed the whole stating relevant concept. It seems to me authenticity and being true to yourself and your audience can go really far.

    I’ve always enjoyed his music and I gotta admit, I was one of those defending the relapse album… not too convinced it was his best stuff. But his authenticity shined through in recovery and that made me feel good as a fan.

    Maybe we’ll be lucky to get such loyal customers that won’t care if our products aren’t the best and still support us when it happens. :)

    Thanks
    Hector

    • Yes, you just can’t keep making the same mistakes over and over. Apple’s had their share of snafus, but loyalists (myself included) are willing to forgive because the hits far outweigh the misses. The key is to never take your audience for granted or grow complacent.

  6. Madonna’s a good example of reinvention and staying relevant. Well aside from her acting career that is.

    • Yes, I would agree, though I do think she’s definitely hit some diminishing returns (and would probably love some of Lady Gaga’s thunder!).

  7. Great post.

    Count me among those who consider Eminem’s earlier work as being close to genius.

    So many great lessons taken from this post, and particularly love “Evolve or Die”. I write a monthly column in a business journal called “Reinvent or Die”, so this is very much in tune with my thinking as a business coach and marketer (I wear several hats).

    Oh, and I don’t put Eminem on the shared iTunes library in our house.. some rules about language… but the latest is G rated, and the other day I heard my six year old singing in the shower “I’m not afraid.. to take a stand”. Cool :)

    • Ha, that’s funny! “I’m Not Afraid” is the first Eminem song my kids have heard, too. The radio edit is super tame. I about died the first time I heard my son singing the hook!

  8. I seldom comment on posts, but I had to here–“Evolve or Die, heavy repetition and little innovation lead directly to diminishing returns.” My god, I LOVE THAT!

    In my business, where I speak to so many business owners, it’s difficult, if not impossible, to convince them that they need to change and embrace some of today’s technologies. They don’t have to be on the bleeding edge, but sprinkling some of the new with their existing old can keep things fresh—few at the local level do this. Pity.

  9. I think we can get so into the SEO/keyword/traffic etc. that we forget to write from our heart. Thanks for the reminder.

  10. That was a great write up in all the ways stated by those who precede me on the comments. no need to repeat….I personally appreciate your giving Em props. Free flowing unadulterated truth… is really not free, it cost, but the rewards are HUGE..
    Getting Lower cost electric is my gig, I should only have such nerve to talk about the Energy Companies. Check for lower rates.

  11. After nearly a year of writing for a content mill with, umm, let’s say, a Kafkaesque standard of good writing, I discovered that when I wrote for my own blog that I was phoning it in–merely producing palatable content because I had written so many articles in which I had to eliminate voice–without even realizing I was doing so. Fortunately I woke up and began to reclaim my voice. Your post, Sean, is a good–and encouraging–reminder to keep it fresh while still serving the reading audience. Not only is the writing better for readers, but it’s a lot more fun to produce.

    • Thank you, Carol. That is very kind. And it’s so true. Content that I don’t care about takes me three or four times longer than the stuff that just bleeds right from my brain and onto the screen. And it’s way more fun to read.

  12. “Let’s be honest, that last Relapse CD was “ehhhh…..”

    Excellent article! I wrote a similar, smaller post “Marketing With Marshall” after I saw his video for I’m Not Afraid.

    There are many lessons to be learned from Eminem, and you’ve hit a lot of them on the head!

    “Yeah, It’s been a ride…
    I guess I had to go to that place to get to this one
    Now some of you might still be in that place
    If you’re trying to get out, just follow me
    I’ll get you there……”

    • Love this part especially:

      I think I got a tear in my eye, I feel like the king of
      My world, haters can make like bees with no stingers, and drop dead
      No more beef flingers, no more drama from now on, I promise
      To focus soley on handling my responsibilities as a father
      So I solemnly swear to always treat this roof like my daughter and raise it!

  13. Evolve or die- love it! Thanks for the post. Become quite aware of some of the mistakes I’ve been making on sm lately, so your article’s made me feel a lot better about it. A good reminder that imperfection is only human, and being honest about your mistakes means you’ve accepted & forgiven yourself for them. No wasting time feeling sorry for yourself-
    Best,
    Lily

  14. I’d rather not, than to phone it in.

    Which I have proven this summer. My public posting is way, way down.

    My 13 1/2 fans are rabid (you know who you are), and I fully expect my audience will be back… when I’m ready for them.

  15. Excellent analogy here Sean. My two favorite subjects that you like to bring to the table are Em and Pixar. They seem to reflect just the right wisdom and always make for a great blog post.

    Actually, I saw this title from one of Brian’s tweets and knew, as I was clicking the bitly, who wrote the post. :)

    Eric

    • “I saw this title from one of Brian’s tweets and knew, as I was clicking the bitly, who wrote the post.”

      That’s what every writer wants to hear! Thanks Eric. :)

  16. I think sometime that I want to write something that can get all readers interested and impress them with real new ideas.
    Truth is you are who you are. You know what you know and the connection here is truth. It sounds simple but if you don’t hear it you may dance around it for a long time. The truth gives me more to write about than I ever could have imagined, and it connects us all even if readers don’t face the truth they recognize it. I will never have a major writers block again, I really feel that’s True.
    Thank You for showing me the light.
    Ken

    • That’s awesome, Ken. It’s like Stephen King says – Plumbers don’t get plumber’s block and lawyer’s don’t get writer’s block, so what gives us writers any excuses?

  17. Mr. Mathers has never caught my interest, but I do respect the story about the new single.

    And the temptation to phone it in can be overpowering for all of us mortals, so it’s a fair lesson.

    • I think we’ve ALL phoned it in now and then. That just means we’re human. It’s bad when phoning it in becomes par for the course.

  18. Good stuff!

    If you noticed on the VMA’s his passion and poise from the “Lose Yourself” days was intact and obvious again!

    Well written article!

    Amazing album!

  19. What a “food for thought post”. I am new to all this stuff(stuff meaning social media)but I know the blogging train is on track with this post from you-truth is only scary when I am not being truthful. Thanks for your truthful post..and thanks to Em-I never liked his music-now I’ll take a listen.
    Peggy

  20. What a perfect analogy. Well written, but we expect no less from you! Home run, Sean!

  21. I am one of the most unlikely people to be an Eminem fan but you are absolutely correct the mainstream success that he achieved was because his music was relevant, real, impassioned and full of humor.

    He lost that in his writing for a while and I think that it serves as a very good illustration in that whatever your genre of writing you have to be on it and your voice has to speak passionately, coherently and relevantly to its audience or it falls flat.

    Great job, good article, thanks!

  22. Eminem’s probably make one heck of a copywriter if he’d ever stop rapping. He could probably author bed time stories that’d make anyone tear up.

    Eminem is not only relevant, he brings everything onto the table, doesn’t hide anything, and even though he knows he’s being exposed and digested, but you know what? Mainstream listeners love him to bits and he’s opened himself up to more ears than ever before.

    Here’s prove that if you never stop doing what you love, despite the hiccups and stumbles, appreciation and success is inevitable. (Not that Eminem wasn’t a succesful artist before ‘Recovery’ though.)

    • I would love to see what Em could do as a copywriter or as a children’s author, as I think he has the innate talent to be remarkable at each. He frames arguments better than most people could ever hope to and his gift for wordplay is enviable. He inspires me especially when it comes to my children’s writing, ironically enough.

  23. @Sean,

    I have a newfound respect for ANYBODY who has a song on the airwaves. I read the Songwriting For Dummies book and was blown away at what it takes to write a 2 minute song. Rhyme schemes, beats, hooks, stresses words, knowledge of the industry, etc. And if you simply print out Em’s words to one of his songs, you can see a master at work.

    Anybody who gives songwriting a try will discovery “anybody can write a song” is a load of bleep. Same with copywriting. Looks easy, until you get in there and learn the pillars.

    • I’d really like to get into songwriting again. Did it for two years back when I was 18 and knew just enough chord changes to ape Cobain. I’ve always had tons of respect for songwriters, especially catchy songs that seem deceptively simple.

  24. There is one thing I admire about Eminem, his honesty! The best lyricists speaks the truth. Heck, at times, Eminem is very blunt. This post hits home about businesses who may at times lose their voice due to struggles, challenges or tapping into a new market. Just as Eminem informs this fans about his mistakes, he will win this fans back. We as bloggers should do the same. What do you know? We are all humans!

  25. Thanks for this.

    I know my blog has been ehh… for a few months. I’m inspired to bring it back to what it was and it should be now.

  26. He will stay one of the best rappers of all times forever. He can’t lose that image anymore. Even when he publishes only crap right now, his history will be there forever

  27. I love this post. It’s so true that sometimes there isn’t enough time to bring your A-game, but that doesn’t mean it shouldn’t always be your number one goal. If Eminem can do it, so can I. Thanks for a great post.

  28. @erichamm
    “clicking the bitly” my favorite phrase of the day…

    @Sean
    Being willing to translate ourselves freshly, even though at first the language may feel strange, or uncomfortable, make for a vibrant artist. It’s more work, but then…all the good stuff is there as well. I like that Em just flat out says, ack, hot mess that last thing..but here, have this…very much more human and engaging…we are only fooling ourselves when we don’t admit things like that. Nice way to start off the week here, Sean. :)

  29. Wow I liked what you wrote about Eminem. I actually got chills on my arms at the end of the article. I’m glad he did not give up and he kept making music even when he did bad. We all make mistakes, but it was good he was honest about it and he got back up again! I’m glad his song “I’m not afraid” was better and he put more into it. More of his feelings, honesty and the best he has to offer. That’s why many people love his music. He tells it like it is and the way he raps sounds very good!

  30. This is a great Post Sean, In fact I couldn’t help but pick out some sentences that I am going to include in my quotes collection on my site (all credit is yours of course! :))

    I do agree with you about using Honesty as a medium of connecting with your audience. People like to know that they are relating with a human being and not a super hero. Meaning, they want us to acknowledge it when we fall prey to mistakes and own up.

  31. You’re comment about evolve or die is spot on! As a music producer by trade I’ve felt the burnout of constantly being creative. After a while it’s inevitable that one can get stale. This was, for me, a clear sign to step back and become a fan of music again rather than a creator.

  32. Great read Sean, glad to see someone actually write a decent intelligent Eminem article — LOL. I think Eminem is inches away from being the top artist in the world if he already isn’t. I know people in Bogata, Columbia who don’t know English at all, but when they hear Eminem they immediately like it. That’s what music is all about…music is the universal language.

  33. Not much to say about Em, but how you used that tp talk about relevancy was great!

  34. That has to be one of the most interesting articles I read in a long time talk about innovation and really thinking outside the box you nailed it. Eminem is a genius and he almost single handily made millions of people like rap and hip hop. His first couple of albums were amazing and he basically made Dr. Dre relevant again. But just like most other people that become super successful he lost his edge. But he has made a comeback and it seems like it is much better than his last couple of albums. But the way you tie it into innovation is something that I can relate to because I go through ups and downs in my life and it seems like when I am not doing well in my professional life that I am not being creative. I need to be doing creative stuff in my life or I become bored and don’t work as well. So thanks for writing this I will try to use it when I get complacent and not productive.

  35. Whoa! I think I’ll have some cream with that humble pie.

    Not a fan of the music or the man but, sitting here feeling about as comfortable as Joan of Arc at a bbq, recognising that there are lessons everywhere, even in things you don’t like, or people you might not resonate with. Wouldn’t have been leaping to my feet thinking I could apply his efforts to my stuff.

    Good lesson in diversity, looking for opportunity to learn, and seeing what works.

    Yum. Enjoying this pie.

    Slice, anyone?

  36. Thanks Sean – Gives me hope – stay true to myself, my purpose and my belief is the only way.
    Keep the good work up

  37. Nice spin on Em that’s relevant to blogging. I think it’s pretty amazing and a bit telling that the public at large has identified with the positive message of Recovery. As a long time fan of Eminem ever since his Infinite days its refreshing to see him turn the corner and speak about his recovery and sober living in such a relevant way.

    Since I can tell you appreciate his music at a deep level, I’d be interested to know your thoughts about how he’s used his gift of word play and his ability to write brilliant hip hop pop songs to make being in recovery appear cool and appealing when most artists in the music industry and music fans in general tend to embrace and like to celebrate the reckless rock star way of life. I hope the public at large, bloggers included, truly takes the time to see what Recovery is really all about.

    Again, great post and I hope other bloggers, who are just as influential as Eminem, will be just as vulnerable and real in their own blogging. We need more Eminem bloggers in the blogosphere.

    Keep it up!

    • Well, honestly I think it was a bit self serving on Em’s part. It’s what he needed to do. But having said that, I think he did it extremely well and am very happy he did.

  38. Great job of spinning the career of Marshall Mathers into a blog post about fear.

    He never was my cup of tea but I do appreciate his talent.

    Was he related to Jerry Mathers … as the Beaver?

  39. Wowzer, Sean! Second one on Em hit out of the park. Well, done. I may even write a post on Em myself to discuss the elements he uses that makes his songs successful and relevant masterpieces.

    I don’t mean to spam, but perhaps ya’ll can have a look at my series looking at the WWE for how to write stories. Here http://authopublisher.com/category/wwe-series/

    Care to comment?

    Sorry again :)

  40. I agree to a point, but wonder if he was being authentic when the album he produced was determined by the world as being flat. I wonder if he felt he had to apologize for going through a really hard time in his life in order to satisfy his audience.

    I would imagine his true friends and fans understood his

  41. Oops, I hit the comment button without finishing my sentence. :0)

    I would imagine his true friends and fans understood the dark pain his was going through without him having to say a word and stood by him when he was in the valley. I would hope someone was there to lift him up when he had suicide thoughts.

    There are mountains and valleys in life. In order to get to the next mountain you have to go through the valley.

  42. Ooops again… Now where is that correction button …. Right here *he* not his.

    • I think Em expected Relapse to be a much bigger deal than it was. The cool thing is, when it didn’t blow up BIG TIME he looked inside himself and asked what he could have done better, rather than lashing out at fans or the world at large. That is a rarity.

      I get the impression he had a support system in place to help him through the worst of it.

  43. Never been a fan of Eminem until the release of his last album. While I can deal without the vulgarity of it, I have to hand it to him, he is a skilled wordsmith. He is honest and unafraid.

    While he did disappear from the scene for a bit, his audience was right there waiting for him.

    Will the real Slim Shady Please Stand up?

  44. Sean the writer dad? Great to see your guest post here.

    You are right eminem was great in the beginning, he did something that no white kid had achieved, expect vanila ice in one hit wonder about rapping industry.

    I have not heard his last album as I had given up on his music after dud songs but I will sure check this out. Thanks dude.

  45. Sean –

    I’ve maybe only read a few blog posts in my time and thought, “I wish I’d written that!” and this is one of them.

    I’m a fan of Eminem for his poetry and his realism. He can speak to the world some Americans grew up in, whether others like to hear that point of view or not.

    And, this post has inspired me to reinvigorate my blog. I’ve forgiven myself, as you suggested! Thanks so much!

    • “I’ve maybe only read a few blog posts in my time and thought, “I wish I’d written that!” and this is one of them.”

      Thanks, Cindy. That’s a high compliment and I appreciate it muchly.

  46. I can’t honestly say that I’m the biggest Em fan, but I can appreciate good music, regardless of the genre, if it’s in the pocket I dig it ;D. I’ve got most of his music and I must say that he does have some great tracks with good melodies and thoughtful lyrics, but what I like most about him is his attitude to never let anyone get him down or stop him from his vision.
    One thing I do agree with is that one needs to EVOLVE or DIE!! lol, that is so true, and more so with blogging.
    Thanks for the great post.

  47. Okay, I’m going to have to check out this album, although “I’m Not Afraid” grates on my nerves. I think it’s weak, honestly — and not in a “I’m showing you how vulnerable I am” way. I think he could have written a much better song, when compared to his old stuff. (I just wrote a blog about the current Eminem, too.)

    However, I really like how you apply his methods to blogging. Your posts — both this one and the original — are good ones and definitely bookmark-worthy.

  48. Wow, what a awesome post!

    I love it as I love “Encore”, Eminem really rocks!

    Be well

    Volker

  49. Hey Sean, liked the way worked Eminem into the notion that as entrepreneurs/creatives we must constantly renew ourselves. Most creative post I’ve come across this month.

  50. Great title and creative delivery. You peaked my interest.

    I’m always thinking about whether I’m writing on relevant topics. First, I write on topics that I enjoy and know. I stay on top of relevancy with variety: talking, listening, reading, and writing. I find what is useful to others, and what makes them tick. I’ve always been a student of people, and made a career out of it. Now, I’m working on finding my voice to write about it.

  51. Can gnarled roots really drench anything?

  52. I’m an Eminem fan and it’s interesting to see you compare his situation with blogging.

    It can be hard to step against expectations from the world but I think that if you don’t have anything powerful or passionate to say that day, just don’t say anything. It’s a hard action to execute.

  53. Awesome post! I am a huge Eminem fan, and agree with much of what you said about him here. He’s brilliant when he “works wizardry with these words” and while I thought Relapse was far better than Recovery, I do agree that after the former was released it did seem as if Em was making every move strategically for good record sales and profits, but little else. I would like to believe that it’s not true, but even if it is then surely he will snap out of it soon. I guess I just don’t feel that Recovery was his breaking through to the other side, I was disappointed after loving Relapse as much as I did.

    But his success is indisputable, and the examples of how it can be related to other areas is quite refreshing and insightful!

    -Ash

  54. The title drew me in. I must say, I’m impressed on your analogy. Something to think about. Good post, Sean!

  55. What a wonderful article. Thank you for your insight!

  56. This is a great article. “Thank you” for writing this article. I’m from Michigan and I’m a huge Eminem fan. :) I also just started a Blog for my company and this article gave me something to think about.

  57. Stay original, stay uniques, stay succesful.

    E is a great case study for acheivement

  58. Really interesting look at a hiphop artist that I admire for beating the odds time and time again. Honesty and vulnerability can actually go a long way towards creating a relational story and “face” for a company that otherwise hasn’t been able to connect with its clients on a personal level.

  59. Excuse me, Sean, with all due respect, this article and most of its comments make me feel once again as if I’ve dropped into an alternative universe where zombified bloggers quiver in worshipful ecstasy over the vile and puerile doggerel written by a depraved idiot-savant with masterful marketing skills.

    I always get a little queasy when I read unrestrained hagiography like this post, so to fortify myself I slammed some Jack Daniels and slogged through the lyrics of Dim Slimey’s “Recovery”, God help me.

    Here’s a selection of some of the choicer nuggets:

    “I’ll show you pussy footin’, I’ll kick a bitch in the c*nt
    Til it makes her queef and sounds like a f*cking whoopy cushion.”

    “You couldn’t make a bulimic puke on a piece of f*ckin’ corn and peanut poop.”

    “Yesterday my dog died, I hog tied a ho, tied her in a bow.”

    These are brilliant lyrics that make you go gaga?

    They make me gag.

    And you know your kids are gonna hear these.

    So this is your hero, Sean — a “sick pig” (his words) who writes about vaginal farts and has a thing for “hos”?

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry when I read his lame metaphors and clunky similes:

    “It’s like apples to oranges, peaches to plums yeah
    I’m bananas pussy, cut off the grapes and grow a pair”

    “I’m the logo on the Dallas Cowboy helmet.”

    “Ya’ll are sitting ducks, I’m the only goose standing.”

    “But Marshall is not a egomaniac, that’s not his motto.”

    “You can still get roasted because Marsh is not mellow.”

    C’mon, lyrics like these are lame, lame, lame.

    Watching Eminem and other rappers in their primate chest-beating dominance mode would be comical if wasn’t such a disgusting spectacle of bluster by these sad, childish epitomes of arrested development.

    At least he’s eloquent about one thing — just as he says, Eminem truly is “a sh*t stain on the underwear of life.”

    And when he asks, “why you think Proof used to call me Doody?”, well, now we know.

    • Hi Vince,

      Again, I hear what you’re saying, but think you’re missing the point.

      I’m not calling Em a saint, and as I said last time – I find much of what he does repugnant. You’ve gathered a nice selection of lyrics to prove that point.

      However, as a writer there aren’t many who can even come close. If you can’t acknowledge that truth, then we’re too far on opposite sides of a divide to hope for intelligent discourse.

      The readers of this site are not “zombified bloggers quiver in worshipful ecstasy over the vile and puerile doggerel” just because they have a different perspective than you, and it’s dismissive (and entirely insulting) to suggest otherwise.

      Truth is, Em inspires many. I’ve never called him my hero, nor would I ever, but I do admire his ability to tell a story, frame an argument and express himself like few others. I also admire his ability to speak his truth, something that is sorely missing in most people.

      I doubt Em will ever put out an album that I love without pause, but I’m sure it will always be worth listening to, and always with an open mind.

      • Hi Sean,

        Thanks for your reply.

        Surely you can appreciate that I find a certain irony in your suggesting that what I wrote about this post and most of its respondents is dismissive and entirely insulting, given the subject at hand and his customary attitude toward criticism of any kind.

        His critics are all “haters”, but his hate-spewing is ‘art’. Right.

        Yes, I responded with some passion to your post. I’m curious why you don’t seem to want to allow me the same latitude you give to Eminem, so much of whose song-writing is dissing on an industrial scale.

        I find that odd, but entirely typical of Em and his devotees.

        I don’t believe for a second that if I had submitted a comment on your post written in classic Eminem style that it would ever have made it past your moderation.

        You say, “However, as a writer there aren’t many who can even come close.”

        Do you really believe that? As a writer?

        Please point me to something that might make me take that statement seriously.

        I’ve sincerely tried to find something in Eminem’s writing that would make clear to me why you and so many others take HIM seriously, and I haven’t found it yet.

        I would really like to see it.

        Now, I do feel blessed that I saw Justin’s submission.

        He has turned me on to the raps of Immortal Technique, whose writing blows the simple, childish rhymes of Eminem out of the water.

        Immortal’s lyrics are literate, intelligent, and so far superior to anything I’ve heard by Shady that I wonder why he doesn’t get the acclaim.

        Come to think of it, I do know why. He’s a person of color who hasn’t got down on his knees to Corporate White Honky Man.

        It’s all down to that.

        And that’s exactly why only a degenerate white man could be the King of Rap, and why it’s mostly whites who’ve joined his White Trash Party, which was actually a decent song, but not even comparable to the style and wit of Immortal Technique’s work as a lyricist.

        • Hi Vince,

          “Yes, I responded with some passion to your post. I’m curious why you don’t seem to want to allow me the same latitude you give to Eminem, so much of whose song-writing is dissing on an industrial scale.”

          I’m not sure what latitude you’re looking for? Both in this comment section and the last one from nearly a year ago, I’ve said that I see where you’re coming from, I just don’t agree.

          Yes, I absolutely believe that as a writer there are few that come close to Eminem. I’ve never heard of Immortal Technique until today. And even if he is amazing, that still does nothing to dim Em’s brilliance.

          Eminem knows how to frame an argument, evoke emotion and tell a story. That, my friend, is the heart and soul of writing. He makes people FEEL.

          He understands the power of language and the emotional triggers of certain words. He is so fluid with his verbiage that his wordplay is equally playful and cutting.

          And it’s not just subjective. It’s pure mathematics, too. He does things with rhyme and meter that few can.

          Is some of it awful?

          Yes, of course.

          Is some of it a show?

          Yes, of course.

          Do I wish he would grow up?

          Yes, of course.

          But that doesn’t diminish his talent.

          • Ah, Sean, this is what I was looking for– a dialogue with someone who can articulate why he thinks Eminem is so great.

            I just thought it was a bit ludicrous to scold me for being dismissive and insulting in the context of a discussion about a rapper who pretty much made his career out of dissing people.

            I mean, this is the guy who wrote “Kill You”.

            Somehow I don’t think you’d be amused or buy any claims of artistic license if I addressed you the way Marshall does his mother.

            I keep going back to his lyrics to find something worthy of all this veneration, and just when I think, ‘Aha! now he’s got it’, he pulls out something like “I won’t become as dumb as some and succumb to scum. It’s cumbersome…”

            That’s lame. He’s better when he’s not trying to show off.

            I think rapping rhymes are sophomoric and boring anyway, so I can’t really enjoy the lyrical side of most hip-hop.

            I’ll admit “Stan” was well-written for cheap melodrama, but the ending was corny.

            After all, it’s hard to go wrong as an entertainer in the US if you have talent and use it to appeal to the lowest common denominator, even the talentless can do it– “Jersey Shore” is popular.

            We’ll never agree on his artistic worth, so I’ll just say that I see Eminem as the poet laureate of urban hillbillies, a sort of Jean Genet for all the wiggas, and leave it at that.;-)

  60. I think he’s really a great inspiration, Em has his way with words and for that you need to have talent. I’m not a FAN-FAN but I do like some of his single’s I won’t lie.

    Good post Sean, who cares what others think.

  61. When I look at Emeniem’s music over the past 8 years, it seems he allowed externalities to affect his music more than he sought to produce what he wanted for himself. I think so…

  62. @Vince: “Somehow I don’t think you’d be amused or buy any claims of artistic license if I addressed you the way Marshall does his mother.”

    Yes, of course I would be. Context is everything, and when I listen to Em I know exactly what to expect. That type of behavior is unacceptable in dialogue, but entirely different when on the stage.

    (handshake)

    • Thanks, Sean.

      You made my day.

      Words have consequences, and Em has been known to piss us queer folk off.

      So many of us are always on stage (at least in public), and you get it.

      (returns handshake)

  63. Sean:

    There are so many great points in this post, Em could learn several things from you. Seriously.

    We can all learn something from almost any situation, person, blog, whatever. I have never been an Em fan, but then I’m a Pollyanna, why can’t we all get along type of person. :-) But, I’m willing to look for the good – or read posts about Eminem’s brilliance. :-)

    There are those of us who are still trying to find our own voice, our own rhythm. Who am I to sit in judgment of others when I’m still a work-in-progress myself? (and hope to always be a work-in-progress).

    Art comes in all forms and I appreciate the art of this post.

    Peace out. :-)

  64. I love Eminem. I love him so much that I credit his Recovery CD as one of the reasons I came out of my own persona “Great depression”. I listened over and over and OVER to Talkin 2 Myself and Not Afraid and found myself living a version of his life. I related on so many levels to what he had gone through, the parallels were uncanny. When I came out of my depression, I blogged about it quoting lyrics from Em’s songs, showcasing just HOW relevant they were to my own life. My blog: My Journey Back to Myself http://bit.ly/dYLRvo

    This post is FAN-fuckin-TASTIC!! Truly love it. Well done Sean. Cheers!

  65. Thanks, Tamara. That’s very kind.

  66. Eminem, is just incredible.
    He makes me people feel his music. He doesn’t just write stupid things, well at least what he raps about is real stuff that he’s been through. Not about sex, drugs, and money like usual other rappers.