Some artists are immune to the current vagaries of the music industry sales, and Eminem is one of them. His latest release, The Marshall Mathers LP 2, debuted at #1 with a staggering 792,000 copies sold. After ceding the #1 spot to Lady Gaga’s ARTPOP two weeks ago, the MMLP2 sold another 210,000 copies last week to bring the tally to 1,123,000.
Today Em released the video for the third single off the MMLP2, “Rap God,” and it leans heavily on history, mixing references to Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinsky with references to hip-hop’s old school MCs, like (former Leader of the New School) Busta Rhymes, N.W.A., Lakim Shabazz, and Tupac. The vid sees a suited Eminem performing in front of an 80s-inspired green screen, as well as a battle scene that’s reminiscent of 8 Mile. Overall, “Rap God” is a compelling display of linguistic and lyrical acrobatics, but it’s marred by an ugly bout of homophobia in the second verse.
Even into his 40s Eminem has the ability (and desire) to impress and revolt us at the same damn time.
Jordan Sowunmi is a writer and editor at the Toronto Standard. He is on Twitter: @jordanisjoso