Music

Eminem – Revival – Part II

I reread my past so-called review.  Unfortunately, I didn’t elaborate at all.  I just said I agreed with much of what someone else said, without indicating what.  It’s ironic, but I don’t think Marshall Mathers would find it amusing.  In fact, my conscience put me in a headlock, and wouldn’t let go, until I agreed to do this.  So it goes.  The first time I tried to rap, it sounded awful.  I’m from South Dakota.  We have a different English dialect than that of most major inner cities.

It’s not hip-hop.  It’s closer to the dialect in Fargo.  I spell uffda as oofda, but that’s as hip-hop as I speak.  I quit rapping immediately.  I had expectations of being at least decent without effort because I’m black, and isn’t hip-hop rooted in the black community?  I’m not proud I believed this leap in logic.  I didn’t join the black community until I joined the Army at seventeen.  Before that, the only other black person I knew was my younger, also adopted, sister.

I grew up in a virtually all-white community.  It feels all white when you’re the only exception in your school district.  My younger sister figured out how to reduce the trauma of attending public school by faking her way into the resource room.  I’m still a little pissed they believed her because she read as if there was a prize.  I’m autistic but didn’t find out until I was eighteen.

The doctors my parents brought me to told them I was deaf and mentally challenged.  They knew the deafness was bullshit instantly as I played the violin from age four.  So they took me to get my IQ tested.  It turns out the doctor was way off.  (I scored high enough to make mental illness a concern in my future.  Yay.)  It was the last time they consulted a doctor to see why I didn’t talk.

When I started school apart from my little sister for a few hours a day, I began speaking.  But I preferred letting Heather talk for me at home.  (It’s something that shames me now.)  I viewed my adorable little sister like a pet who could do cute tricks by saying what I was thinking much of the time.  (Fortunately for my ego, it’s common among siblings.)  I had nine siblings and six foster siblings.  I should give myself a break.  Done.

So anyway, my point is I can’t rap.  I don’t think spending hours practicing would lead to enough improvement for it to be worth my while.  I have a barely exorcised speech impediment and am “wound so tightly if you were to shove a lump of coal up my ass, in two weeks, you’d get a diamond.”  (Save Ferris.)  I have valid reasons to be anxious, so I don’t beat myself up for it very often.  (Plus, it just makes it worse.  Heh.)

I share all this to define my unique perspective.  I know I’m not the only interracially adopted-at-birth person of color in America or abroad.  We’re everywhere, but many of us grew up as tokens in our families and communities simultaneously.  I’m glad I had Heather, but we didn’t attend school together.  It affected how I see and interact with my world.  Being autistic compounded the constant feeling of otherness.  I didn’t have friends as a kid.  (Instead, I bought a computer and started building one.)

Me (left) and Heather

The reviewer I linked to brought some baggage into their review, which is why I can’t get behind it a hundred percent.  It’s evident to me they cannot recognize irony and sarcasm or choose not to.  Either way, it’s unfortunate because it led to a skewed review.  I suspect the reviewer feels hurt by Marshall Mathers’ lyrics sometimes.  I hope they grow and realize they cut because it was his intent.  It’s supposed to hurt; it’s how pain works.  We all carry it.  Sometimes you just have to allow yourself to feel it, and not retaliate.  Music is one of those times.  How can anyone know so much about Eminem and not this core element of his message?

Marshall Mathers says offensive things in his raps because he wants us to feel while we digest his words.  It’s kind of how rap works, eh?  They say things that make us think.  Some of them just rhyme about their dicks, but Eminem has things to say.  If he says them politely, nobody will hear him.  Polite Marshall Mathers wouldn’t be Eminem.  He doesn’t tip-toe around political subjects that raise everyone’s blood pressure.  More like Leeroy Jenkins, k?

Rap is poetry in rhythm.  It’s a gift not all possess.  Eminem is an icon in rap.  He achieved his dream.  He’s a success story with plenty of drama along the way.  But he’s not done.  He’s getting even better at it.  It’s freaking him out because he already got the dream and nobody can tell him what’s next.  He has to figure it out on his own.  He released this album to let us know where he is.  He’s asking if we still have his back because he’s growing and doesn’t know where it will take him.

I tried to lay out as many hints as I could, but I suck at hinting.  I hope Marshall Mathers pulls some strings and gets in touch with Stevie Nicks.  I think she’ll help him find clarity, wisdom, confidence, and a carrot to chase.  I also think Amy Lee could benefit from some time with Stevie Nicks.  They could make something so amazing together.  Intuitives can gain a lot from collaboration.  (Stevie Nicks figured this out before I existed.)

Revival isn’t for fair weather fans.  They’ll probably like the songs without allowing the lyrics to penetrate.  One of the reasons I love Eminem is he’s blunt.  Maybe it’s because I’m autistic, but I prefer listening to people who understand words mean things.  If you’re unwilling to accept sarcasm, wordplay, and irony as a means of creating a powerful message, you should skip Revival.  It’s not for the intellectually lazy.  I give it a 10 out of a possible 10.  I believe.