"Without Me" is the first single from Eminem's forthcoming album, The Eminem Show. It start's with a quick sample from a old school rap single, which is presumably a link from the previous track on the album. I don't recognise the sample itself. This is then cut off, to be replaced by a rather bizarre chant of "Two trailerpark girls go round the outside," which is sung as if something from a primary school playground. Upon first hearing this, I was rather worried, believing that Eminem had become frighteningly pop-sounding.

Not so. The record quickly gets going, and I think no real Eminem fans can be disappointed. I didn't take to it at first listen, but it is the ultimate grower; it is superb. Up for dissing this time is, of course, Chris Kirkpatrick (of 'NSync "fame"), Limp Bizkit, and Moby. He also wastes no time in insulting his mother; a minute and a half, and the classic line, "I just settled all my lawsuits, fuck you Debbie!" It sounds like Eminem is back to his best.

In fact, the record is shot through with great lines, but text cannot do justice to Shady's pristine delivery. Needless to say, Eminem is as lyrically impeccable as ever; there's double rhymes, triple rhymes, all over the place, and the rhyming scheme is advanced. To slip into the hip-hop vernacular briefly, "the guy has mad skillz".

The backing music, by Eminem himself and highly reminiscent of his work with D12, and sounds very similar to Purple Pills. It fits the pantomime style of the record perfectly, and is curiously memorable as rap backings go.

I think it fits my Grand Theory of Eminem perfectly. Enjoy.

Thanks TallRoo, koreykruse and anotherone for corrections.

The sample at the beginning of the Eminem's Without Me, is not, in fact, an "old school rap sample." Its the start of a song by Obie Trice, mystery rapper extroardinaire. The point of this track is to give the impression that Obie is being cut off for a new Eminem song (i.e. as if on the radio or TV, hence Eminem Show.)

Those familiar with Detroit rap or just the D12/Eminem mythos know of Mr. Trice as the underground rapper that can't seem to get respect in the mainstream world. For further study, might I recommend obietrice.org or Devil's Night LP track 15.

The chant of "Two trailer park girls go 'round the outside" is actually a nod to Malcolm McLaren's Buffalo Gals. The 1981 song is generally regarded as the first commercial rap/scratch/hip-hop single. It's interesting to note that song somewhat similarly opens with a radio station show intro before developing into an uptempo track with a square dance caller singing "Two buffalo gals go 'round the outside." Of course, the fusing of hip-hop with square dance never really took off, but the song's influence is tremendous in terms of mainstream acceptance of hip-hop.

In the context of this song and who is performing it, the chant is just short of genius. Malcolm McLaren did find the NBT but it wouldn't really cash in for at least another decade, and wouldn't be fully accepted into the pop lexicon for two. Eminem validated the white rapper in a way Vanilla Ice never could. His lyric explains it better than I can: "I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley / to do black music so selfishly / and used it to get myself wealthy / Hey! There's a concept that works / Twenty million other white rappers emerge."

Whereas Big Band introduced palatable jazz, and Elvis' rock & roll introduced palatable rhythm & blues, Eminem's pop/rap does so for rap to trailer parks. Vanilla Ice is a joke now and was a novelty then, but Eminem can be and is taken seriously (as much as any pop icon can be). It could be argued, the previous decade's assimilation of sampling methods and rapping into various genres of music is the real sign of Middle America's acceptance of rap. However, I do not feel those two things quintessentially define rap. It's all about the content; identifying in some way with what is said, or at least empathizing (what white college kids did with Public Enemy's It Takes a Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back, I gather) at a bare minimum.

Eminem admits he's doing nothing new. He's merely doing it for a different audience.

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