THE PRESS RELEASE
“Eminem’s 11th studio album Music To Be Murdered By is out now … Inspired by the master, Uncle Alfred!”
MY TWO CENTS
If they ever remake the movie Groundhog Day — and let’s be honest: Given the level of creativity in Hollywoodland these days, it’s only a matter of time — I know exactly who should star: Eminem. Naturally, it would be a musical. Or how about this: A horror-musical comedy loosely inspired by Alfred Hitchcock! Yeah, that’s better. Buut instead of being a weatherman trapped in podunk town, Marshall Mathers could basically play himself: A globally famous, monumentally talented, ultra-rich and emotionally conflicted rapper stuck inside a wildly successful but creatively stalled career that has essentially turned into a giant hamster ball. He would wake up every day and surprise-release an album that sounds more or less like every other album he’s made. It would be stuffed with a slew of songs about his abusive upbringing, dysfunctional family, struggles with stardom, battles with drugs, violent fantasies, controversial image, place in the rap world and bipolar mood swings, with lyrics that toggle between extreme self-loathing and equally extreme self-aggrandizement. Nearly every backing track would be stark, dark and ominous as a slasher-flick soundtrack. Nearly every vocal would build in speed, complexity and intensity until he sounds like he’s gone off his meds and is about to snap once and for all. A couple of the more audacious tracks — like, say, one about the Las Vegas massacre, told from the shooter’s POV — would deliberately provoke shock, horror and outrage, guaranteeing plenty of free publicity from lazy media hacks who just want something to slap into a cheap clickbait headline while ignoring the method and message behind the madness. A couple of other cuts would be more upbeat and lighthearted for balance; one would have to co-star a female vocalist. Most would include input from old pals and frequent collaborators like Dr. Dre, Mr. Porter, Skylar Grey and Royce da 5’9″, while others would bring in newer guests like Juice Wrld, Young M.A. and even Ed Sheeran. But no matter what the album sounded like, the reaction would always be virtually identical: A rush of online excitement, a wave of fawning praise from the Stans, a flash of tut-tutting from the perpetually offended, a couple of hits and viral videos, and another slew of multi-platinum plaques and award nominations based more upon longevity and ubiquity than innovation or inspiration. And every night, after he rides the elevator in his massive McMansion up to a bedroom larger than his fans’ trailer homes, he might feel the tug of a tiny, nagging thought somewhere at the back of his noggin: Is this really all there is? Is there something else I should be doing with my time and talents? Should I be trying harder? And then he would give his head a shake, laugh at the absurdity of the idea, get his butler to turn out the light and drift off to dreamland in his California king, a contented smile on his mug. Fade to black. The end. Or is it?