“Listen girly, surely you don’t want me to talk about how I nutted early because I ejaculated prematurely and bust all over your belly and you almost started hurling and said I was gross, go get a towel…”
Spot quiz: broadcast last week, where is the above quote taken from? A romantic ballad by the Bloodhound Gang? A random snippet of any script for The Inbetweeners? A moment of madness on the part of the writers of Monarch Of The Glen? Or an overheard conversation from Wayne Rooney’s last voluntary stint at his local retirement home?
Uh-ERRRR! None of the above! It’s from Eminem’s track ‘The Warning’, and it’s about (you might want a bucket to hand at this point) Mariah Carey.
Here’s the Slim’n’Slimy skinny: word goes round back in 2001 that Eminem and Carey are at it like dogging footballers, to which most sane and reasonable people reply, ‘Ugh! No way! That’s like a weasel having it off with a greased wildebeast!’ Marshall confirms the rumour; Mariah denies it. Marshall responds by playing Mariah’s personal answerphone messages onstage during his Anger Management tour while pretending to vomit. Mariah keeps denying it, until 2008 when she marries that America’s Got Talent bloke.
Still spurned, Marshall releases ‘Bagpipes From Baghdad’ on his ‘Relapse’ album, threatening to kick Mariah’s new husband Nick Cannon in the knobblers and calling Carey a “fucking whore” while simultaneously claiming to want her back: a condition that’s becoming known as Kim’s Syndrome.
Then Carey makes a video for her song ‘Obsessed’ where she dresses up like Eminem and stalks herself along to the lyrics, “Why you so obsessed with me/Lying that you’re sexing me?… You’re delusional” until ‘Mariaminem’ finally gets mown down in one of those ridiculously predictable sudden-arrival-of-speeding-bus shots.
Now baiting Shady, as Marshall’s ex-wife/mum/Moby might have warned her, is a bit like giving a silverback gorilla a Chinese burn – you’re gonna get given a whole lot worse than you gave out. And, sure enough, recorded quickly and posted online came ‘The Warning’, a typically chivalrous and gallant response from rap’s most gentlemanly scholar.
“How many times you fly to my house? Still trying to count, better shut your lying mouth if you don’t want Nick finding out”. Crivens! “It’s a warning shot for before I blow up your whole spot/Call my bluff and I’ll release every fucking thing I got/Including the voicemails right before you flipped your top/When me and Luis were trying to stick two CDs in the same slot”. Mercy!
“Like I’m gonna sit and fight… over some slut bitch cunt who made me put up with her psycho ass over six months and only spread her legs to let me hit once”. (Flutters fan) Why, Mr Shady! How familiar!
Now, as a considered professional, I should, of course, note Eminem’s history of airing his dirty laundry on record, make a nod to hip-hop’s culture of battling, perhaps list rap’s most notorious ‘diss tracks’ and rise above it all. But I can’t. It’s brilliant.
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Not Em’s tawdry, misogynistic, wife-beater bullying talk, but the sheer image-exploding spectacle of the thing. It’s a musical version of The Jeremy Kyle Show, R&B bear-baiting, a ‘beef’ with the same ghoulish fascination as cage wrestling or Amy Winehouse’s holiday snaps.
It’s the airbrushed-to-a-gloss-sheen soul diva dragged down to our level, like the police mug shot of Diana Ross looking like Russell Brand on crystal meth. The camera gauze rips! The security bubble bursts! Mariah’s as disgusted by semen as she is by stairs!
If Eminem had simply shouted exactly the same rhymes onto Mariah’s answerphone with no backing it’d be Restriction Order o’clock. But hooked to a cobbled together backbeat and released to the public it instantly enters a fine and noble lineage of bile-on-sleeve hip-hop – raw, brutal and abusive, yes, but above all honest.
As a lyric alone it’s borderline criminal; as an entire work of music it’s the essence of its culture.I’d love to see Kate Moss modelling her new line of ‘Peter Mouldy-Groin’ underwear or a new Girls Aloud single called ‘Do That Again, Ashley (And I’ll Have Your Conkers For Earrings)’. It’d sure make a change from all those soppy Coldplay Gwyn-ballads, right?