There was a time when nobody took it there quite like Eminem. His fans, and even casual listeners would hang onto his every word.
And if he tackled a topic, he was sure to make an impact. Everything from Columbine, fan obsession, beef with Ja Rule, white America, and the deaths of Tupac and Biggie were stories that Eminem made you care about even if you were detached from them.
Hints of that genius appeared again in his song “Darkness” off his 2020 album “Music to be Murdered By” which sparked a conversation about gun control in American, albeit a brief one.
Based on his track record, it came as no surprise that he would address things like COVID-19 and the killing of George Floyd at the hands of Minnesota police. And that’s exactly what we got over the weekend.
His first ever collaboration with Kid Cudi titled “The Adventures of Slim Shady and Moon Man” included lyrics about these two pertinent topics, but Eminem failed to add anything to the discussion. He basically just uses a few of his bars to sum up the killing of Floyd and throws in a quick mask shaming lyric. The on-the-nose approach is not only “toothless,” but incredibly boring.
His attempt to address COVID-19 really comes off as just another attempt to take a swipe at Trump. Check out the lyrics below.
“Bunch of half-wits up in the office, half of us walking around like zombie apocalypse, Other half are just pissed off and Don’t wanna wear a mask and they’re just scoffing And that’s how you end up catching the sh*t off em. I just used the same basket as you shopping. Now I’m in a f**king casking from you coughin”
He waits until the very end to talk about Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.
“Prayers to George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery. How the f**k is it that so many cops are dirty? Stop, man, please, officer, I’m sorry. But I can’t breathe when I got you on top of me. Your goddamn knee’s on my carotid artery.”
Cudi steers clear of both topics and instead tries to craft a narrative that both of their Moon Man and Slim Shady characters might fit into. Eminem spends the rest of his verse talking about how he is the best at what he does.
With no chorus, the song sounds like one long freestyle which is not what I would expected from Kid Cudi who has crafted unforgettable hooks and bridges for the likes of Kanye West and himself.
But aside from the sonic aspect of the record, Eminem’s attempts to address these topics fall flat. He basically just retells a bunch of social media talking points and attempts to pass it off as commentary.
It’s reminiscent of his 2017 track “Untouchable” which also covered police brutality and was panned by critics like Joe Budden who claimed black issues were being used to roll out his album.
Eminem’s new song with Cudi feels eerily similar since his coverage of the topics feels more like he is checking off boxes rather than diving deep and giving his audience something to chew on.
We all know George Floyd couldn’t breathe, but what about Eminem’s own experiences with police and the mostly black group of friends that he claims to have grown up with? I’m sure he has an instance of police misconduct he could talk about. Where were these lyrics?
And why choose a Cudi collaboration to be conscious? It just doesn’t fit, especially since Cudi didn’t touch on any of these issues.
In terms of his comments on Covid, Eminem states the obvious. Anyone could go on social media and find someone bitching about people not wearing masks. Eminem just fit this same narrative into few bars. He brought nothing new to the conversation and took a lazy route.
I’m a huge Eminem fan and when he brings these issues to the mic, I want to see it done in an impactful way and on the right track. His timing was the only thing that made sense in this instance, but the collab, and lack of depth in the lyrics left much to be desired.