Wednesday, October 27, 2010


This is the promised follow-up to yesterday's post. So, if you haven't read that one, you really should go back and read it before this one, or this really won't make much sense. That implies that my writing makes sense as a stand alone, which I am convinced is relative to the reader. Now I am confused. I think it would be wise to move on.

I hope that you watched the 60 Minutes interview. It is no fun to break down an interview if the people reading the post are not on the same page. I want to say this first: I watched this video several weeks ago, and felt one way about it, and watched it again yesterday, and felt differently about it. I know that is strange. I suppose it takes some time for some things to process. Let me rephrase. It isn't that I changed my mind altogether; it's more that my viewpoint wasn't as passionate as it was before.

I liked the fact that they started at the beginning. Yesterday, Coffee Junkie said that she had no idea who Marshall was and that the blog was enlightening for her. That would have been me several months ago. I would have been "Marshall Who?" If you aren't into hip hop, the guy is a total mystery. So, starting with the basics of what his life was like was a good start. I did that yesterday in my blog. It actually is common knowledge. (Thanks again Wikipedia) However, Marshall Mathers, despite all his fame, came off to me both times ~ still ~ as a shy person by nature. When he is doing his hip hop thing he becomes somebody else. Once again, as I said before, it is like assuming a part in theatre. He takes on a role and becomes someone else. But, if you watch his body language when he is just walking and talking, he is not coming off as this overconfident, cocky guy.

In fact, when he talks about his life as a teenager you can see the kid inside the man. I could imagine that guy getting pushed into lockers, getting beaten up in the bathroom, ambushed walking home from school, etc. Before they visited one of the underground clubs, Marshall explained what those clubs were about: boasting, bragging, coming up with the best rhymes. It was all about bravado. Playing a game. Can you see how hard this would be for a kid who spent his whole life being bullied and beaten up by primarily black kids (since he was a white minority)?

Now, add to that, these people did not want a white guy playing in their clubhouse. Marshall has been the subject of reverse discrimination his entire life. Think on that for a while. This was a black people's "game" and they did not want him to play. I do believe I mentioned that he had to punch through the floor because they wouldn't let him in the door. (My own little rhyme) Yeah, I do think it pissed him off. And he was already angry about a lot of things. However, let's get back to the problems he had to overcome in these clubs, aside from the fact that he was white. Boasting, bragging, and bravado were things that did not come naturally to a shy kid who probably got a swirly in the toilet every other day. What he did have was this way with words. His problem was getting them out, being heard, getting past that fear of crowds, and standing up to the people who scared the bejesus out of him. He had to keep telling himself that he was smarter, faster, better, stronger, quicker, and had something that they would never have. He had to keep telling himself that until he could throw down. Fear can consume you. So many people do not get past it. He spent years in those clubs working his way through it.

I love the section on rhyming. It is one of the things that makes Marshall Mathers unique. I call it the pure vs. impure rhyme. He calls it bending words. It doesn't matter what you call it, because it is the same thing. He hears words differently than most people. Songwriters tend to get hung up because they stick with the pure rhyme. The idea of bending a word doesn't occur to them. If you were reading it, of course it wouldn't work. That isn't the case here. Impure rhymes are brilliant because you can bend them and work them into the beat of your song and they are pure enough that no one notices that it isn't a pure rhyme. In so doing, you have a huge arsenal of words at your disposal. Essentially, nothing is off limits for you. Marshall Mathers writes in color, while everyone else is still stuck in black and white. That is why I called him wicked smart in my blog about his song on NO LOVE. It was a Saturday blog with one of the funny names with NO LOVE worked into it.

I was surprised that Marshall Mathers read, or maybe still reads the dictionary. That is a love affair with words. It explains how he knew what triple beam meant in NO LOVE, and why I had to look it up. You have to really love words to read the dictionary.

When Marshall pulled out his treasure trove of notebooks and Anderson said that the other instances he had seen of people doing this sort of thing were crazy people, it really pissed me off the first time I watched this. Marshall just said that maybe he was crazy, and didn't seem fazed at all. The second, and now third time, that I have watched this, I am not sure how I feel about it. I don't think I would like it as a writer if I pulled out my best stuff for an interview and the interviewer suggested that was crazy behavior. Writers do that kind of thing. They think of stuff and write it down. I have a notebook with all kinds of stuff in it. It isn't written on the diagonal or in all caps or whatever. But it isn't necessarily related to anything, either. I just get an idea, and I think I might use it someday, and I don't want to forget it, so I write it down.

Marshall on settling scores: I think that writing is therapeutic. Writers do that. I have done it here. I know that my blog doesn't have the reach that Marshall's writing does, but he writes what he thinks. You can like him or dislike him for that. I think that he calls it how he sees it. That may not always be right, but it is as right as he knows it from his perspective.

Marshall on cursing/children: He was called out for bad language and the damage it does to children. The camera focused on a young child in the audience at a concert. Hello! All of his CDs have explicit stickers on them and children have no business listening to them. That parent should not have brought the kid to the concert. Marshall was right in saying that he is not responsible for parenting other people's children. Parents have to take responsibility for their kids. Parents need to know what their kids are doing, what music they are listening to, what TV shows and movies they are watching. etc. Parenting is a job and they need to be doing it. He says that he doesn't talk that way around his own kids. Music is his art/job.

Marshall on saying hateful things: Marshall has thrown a lot of anger and hate out there. Slim Shady is very popular and the people love it when Slim Shady gets all worked up. Honestly, that says more about our society than Marshall Mathers, in my opinion. Whatever. The focus ended up landing on the word faggot, but it could have ended up in numerous places, because there was a lot of ground to cover here. Marshall's response to this was that, at that time, all hip hop artists were throwing down with the same sort of material, and they were not getting the same level of hate thrown back at them. He didn't understand that. A friend of mine said that he was lucky that the interviewer didn't push that one further, and go into all of the horrible songs he wrote about his ex-wife. She has a point there. The same friend said, "Everyone else is doing it," seemed like a cop-out answer to her. Another point. Of course, he could have mentioned his performance with Elton John and their ongoing friendship since said performance, but he didn't.

For some reason, Marshall Mathers is still on the fence about shaking Slim Shady and Eminem. On the one hand, he wants you to know it's a show. On the other hand, he is afraid to let go of the show. What if people don't like Marshall Mathers sans Slim Shady and Eminem? In my opinion he isn't asking the right question. What if your only chance at real recovery is dropping Slim Shady and Eminem? What if the only way to be real is to just be Marshall Mathers? Your best songs have already been written as Marshall Mathers. No Slim Shady. No Eminem. Turn the corner already.

Here is Not Afraid (this is for Coffee Junkie to help you catch up):

People don't want to change. They really don't. Oftentimes the only reason we change is out of necessity. We are forced to change. Chris over at A Deliberate Life just wrote a blog on this very thing. It was change or die. She spoke about an experience in her own life where that was the choice. Change or die. I've been there. Change or die. Marshall Mathers went there when he overdosed. Change or die. He had been to drug rehab already, but not because he thought he had a problem. Someone else thought he had a problem. It only works when you want to change. After he almost died, he tried to quit on his own. Couldn't. Then he went to rehab voluntarily because he knew he had a problem. Change or die. These experiences fundamentally change you.

I mentioned being on Eminem's official site. I thought I would gain something. I did. It notched up my migraine. I can't do crap on that site. I still visit as a visitor and not a member. I have my login info, but it ticks me off because I can't figure it out. The one thing I expected to see was a tour schedule for Recovery. I kept coming back to the site waiting for it to pop. It never popped. It still hasn't popped. I don't think there is going to be a tour for Recovery. He talks about the huge arena concert in this interview. Imagine doing a concert for 40,000 people and being clean and sober for the first time in forever. He talks about seeing the faces. He didn't see the faces before. He is still that shy kid who can now see the faces. He can say that he is not touring for his kids or any other viable reason. That may be partly true. However, touring would very likely jeopardize his recovery. The pace is terrible, the faces in the crowd, the stress of the thing... well it is all of the things he doesn't say. That is why he isn't touring.

Here is the behind the scenes stuff from 60 Minutes:

Right now you are in one of two places. You are bored out of your mind or you are more curious than ever about the puzzle that is Marshall Mathers. This is, in my opinion, one of the best songs off of Recovery. There is no video, so you just have to listen to it. However, it illustrates VIVIDLY so many of the points made above. Marshall Mathers writes what he feels and thinks. Not only does he make other people look bad, he doesn't cast a halo on himself. He does tell the truth as he sees it. There is something to be said for that. The song is appropriately titled CHANGES.

all images found at


  1. Yes indeed, another enlightening post by you! Thanks for this wonderful insight!

  2. mine is a music's OZZY!!!!! okay, this song is officially epic. It's a very good song. Anybody who has been through depression knows what this song is about.

  3. Robin,

    First, let me apologize for not commenting sooner. It took me a couple of days to come over and read, watch the vids and listent to the tracks, because I really wanted to be able to give them my full attention. I've never really been a fan of MM/Eminem/Slim Shady in the past and I'm not a rap or hip-hop fan in general, truth be told.

    That being said, I have to say that I have a different outlook on MM "the person" and his music as well, after reading these last 2 posts. I'm glad I waited until I had the time to really pay attention to the interviews, focus on what you wrote and listen to the music. I'd be lying if I said that I was going out tomorrow to pick up his CD's, but I also wouldn't change the radio station in the car if one of his songs came on anymore.

    I realized recently that I really like the song "Love the Way You Lie" and I honestly didn't know if it was the Rhianna factor or MM or both of them that drew me in. I think I can now safely say that it's both. And I also liked both clips that you posted here. So who knows, I might end up becoming an MM fan over time....

    I really enjoyed learning about MM, but it was also another opportunity to get to know you better. I think those who love to write, put out a lot of who they are in what they write.

    Thanks! Great topic, great posts!


  4. Eminem did to sold out concerts this year here at home in Detroit, they were historic.

    I think there is a very close link between the inspired and the crazy. In both cases the minds think outside the norm.

  5. KUDOS, KUDOS, KUDOS! I love this post and as a fellow Michigander, I love Eminem.. Just love him..
    Luv your blog too and am now following! :)

    PS - I found you on the "Never Growing Old" blog.


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