Grade A Certified

"BE YOURSELF MAN, BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE…"

Posted by J. Tinsley on June 21, 2009

“…Even if it sounds corny. Never let no one tell you ain’t beautiful.” Photo courtesy of Rap Radar

Aside from its often misogynistic mindset is the side of hip-hop often heard, but rarely given the credit it rightfully deserves. Introspective records in the genre have always been my favorite type from any artist because of the barriers that are collapsed within them. On many occasions, hip-hop is about who the tougher artist is or who has more money or whose car gets more miles per gallon (ok, not exactly), but whenever an artist decides to reveal their personal demons/secrets is when the music is on its highest pedestal.

See Eminem’s “Beautiful”.

Recently I decided to give Relapse another spin after a good six week hiatus. Upon this listen, I came to the conclusion the album wasn’t bad, in fact I enjoyed it. However, one conclusion which didn’t change was my favorite track off the album. His self produced track, “Beautiful”, by a mile, is the LP’s standout because it answered every question I had regarding Em’s half a decade absence in the profession he dominated for so many years prior.

Laced with the painfully soulful sample of Rock Therapy’s “Reaching Out”, it damn near sent a chill up my spine hearing Em speak on the same fears all of us are plagued with, the phobia of no longer loving what was once considered a passion.

I’m just so fucking depressed
I just cant seem to get out this slump
If I could just get over this hump
But I need something to pull me out this dump
But I need that spark to get psyched back up
In order for me to pick the mic back up
I don’t know how or why or when I ended up in this position I’m in
I’m startin’ to feel distant again, so I decided just to pick this pen
Up and try to make an attempt to vent, but I just can’t admit
Or come to grips with the fact I may be done with rap, I need a new outlet…

With each listen, I couldn’t help but shake the feeling this was Eminem in his most honest form. The other tracks on the album showcased the rapper we’ve come to know over the years with the crazy rhyme scheme, cheap shots at other celebrities and sometimes disgusting images painted with his lyrics. However, it was something about this track which seemed so brutally genuine. It was Marshall venting his frustrations and pains since 2004, instead of Em just putting verses to a beat.

In fact, “Beautiful” marked the only song which was recorded when Em wasn’t sober, meaning it was the most authentic track on the album.

“And one of the only reasons that I put that track on there is that I feel like it’s the best song out of that batch that I did when I wasn’t sober. At the time I felt like, ‘This is it for me.’ I wrote the first verse and a half in rehab, and when I came out, I finished it. It was the only song that marks that period without bringing me back to that place. Every other track not only didn’t fit with the album, but when I listened to it, it would bring up bad memories.”

For years, Em has never made it a secret that worldwide fame has never been his cup of tea (see “Say Goodbye To Hollywood”), but this record was the result of putting oneself through years of physical and mental torture. However, Marshall’s lone request was to switch places with those who idolized the words he made rhyme. Essentially, he wanted their life while they prayed for his.

But I already told you my whole life story, not just based on my description
Cause where you see it from where you’re sittin’ is probably 110% different
I guess we would have to walk a mile in each other’s shoes at least
What size you wear? I wear 10’s, let’s see if you can fit your feet…

Before Relapse even leaked, aside from the sure-fire uptempo first single and graphic second single, this was the record which excited me the most. The type of record which would basically act his own personal ‘state of the union’ address in a sense. From his best friend’s murder, to the drug addiction, to his hiatus, he had more than enough material to focus on.

While he’s still yet to speak on Proof’s murder officially on record, this is one of the rare occasions where the hype for a record was matched by the quality.

DL: Eminem–Beautiful

Here’s the song which was sampled, Rock Therapy’s “Reaching Out”.

Flashback: Eminem–We Made You (MP3 + Video) | Eminem–3 A.M. | Eminem–Infinite | Eminem’s Bonus Tracks | Eminem’s First Interview | “Eminem And His Three Freestyles…” | Eminem Gets Mooned…Up Close & Personal | Jay-Z & Eminem Perform “Renegade” Live | Eminem Clears The Air With Rap Radar

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No Responses Yet to “"BE YOURSELF MAN, BE PROUD OF WHO YOU ARE…"”

  1. D Dotta said

    Nice write up man…I definitely feel what you’re saying. And Em hasn’t made too many appearances on this site, so this was needed.

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