Album: 8 Mile Soundtrack
Rating: 4 / 10
Reviewer: DJ MF
You know that guy Eminem? The white guy who raps? Well, he thinks he’s a thespian now. That deserves a review unto itself when “8 Mile” the movie comes out, but in the meantime, Em is trying to create a buzz for his semi-autobiographical film with this, a soundtrack that much like the Cincinatti Bengals, looks fairly good on paper, but ends up lacking cohesivenss, and that elusive quality of dopeness.
The album opens with the official lead single of the OST, ‘Lose Yourself’ by the host with the most himself, Mr. Mathers, who ends up throwing yet another rock influenced track onto wax, and much like the majority of “The Eminem Show” ends up failing miserably. About the only interesting thing on the track is that Em writes the song from the perspective of ‘Rabbit’, his character from ‘8 Mile’.
Production and rhymes slow up quite a bit for the follow-up track, ‘Love Me’, featuring Shady Records artists Obie Trice, and flavour of the month 50 Cent. If any track exemplifies the ‘good on paper, bad in practice’, it would be this one. Instead of lacing something crazy and dirty for the trio to rhyme over, the beat ends up being a quiet atmospheric piece, with a female sung chorus, and way-too-slow and unimaginative rhyming from all of the above. Just an utter disappointment once again.
Em keeps trying with the title track next, and manages to rise above mediocrity, mostly due to the grimier beat with the simple yet addictive piano loop, and the more ‘traditional’ Em lyricism. Thing is, it’s nothing you haven’t heard a million times before out of Em – I hate my mom, my past was tough, I hate everything. I never thought the day would come when Em would become boring of all things, but it’s true.
The Shady Records parade continues with Obie Trice’s ‘Adrenaline Rush’, and we’ve finally reached the first real banger on the track. Obie sounds like nothing more than a super-upgraded D12 member, but that’s a good thing. The braggadacio and the attitude make the track, and the beat is a perfect accompaniment. I’m just trying to figure out what R&B track they jacked for the sample.
50 continues on the next track, with ‘Places To Go’, and right away the song is a stinker because of the way too synth-buzziness of the bassline, and the absolutely boring as hell chorus. What’s the deal with 50 anyways? He’s seems like a very average MC to me, and if anything he’s deteriorated from his earlier work.
Will the Em-related artists ever stop? D12 comes through with ‘Rap Game’, once again utilizing an atmospheric feel for the beat, but at least keeping it ‘rugged’ for lack of a better word. These guys are on the opposite end of 50 Cent- they’re by no means dope, but they don’t deserve the venom that many critics have towards them, as they can serviceably ride a beat like this. Another one of the few thumbs up on the album.
Jigga appears next for his obligatory rap soundtrack appearance, bringing along Freeway unfortunately, who if you haven’t heard him, sounds like a woman crying when he raps. Jigga’s rhyme is pretty dope. Freeway’s stinks. The beat kills this though. Too slow, too boring.
Candidate for most fallen off MC of the last 3 years, Xzibit, is up next with ‘Spitshine’, and to be honest, I’m impressed again. Unlike most of his “Man Vs. Machine” LP which is poop, this is more of the rugged Xzibit over harder beats that we’ve come to expect. I still can’t get over XZ on such stereotypical west coast beats, but it’s liveable here.
Macy Gray makes an appearance. Enough said about that.
OH MY GOD! Nas is next! But Jay-Z is on the album too! What can this mean? My theory is that Nas and Jay-Z are actually lovers that have been fooling the rap buying public all this time in order to make more money, in order to buy themselves more Rough Riders. Or not. Regardless, ANOTHER weak beat here, and much like the Jigga track, Nas tries his hardest to overcome it, but can’t. It doesn’t help that Nas seems to be reverting to ‘Nastradamus’ style here again.
The hottest song on the streets currently follows, once again with 50 Cent on the track. It’s called ‘Wanksta’. Being from the desolate wasteland known as Canada, and currently without any sort of high speed net connection, I’d never heard it till now. WHAT’S THE FUSS? This sucks people. The beat is mildly interesting, but the rapping is pitiful, and the chorus irritating beyond belief.
More atmospheric theme music, this time from Boomkat. Pass.
‘R.A.K.I.M.’. Could it be? Rakim on a new track by himself without annoying Bollywood samples or R&B singers? Yup. You’ll be disappointed though. This is jiggy as hell. One has to wonder what Rakim is thinking. He’s not that bad however, and it seems like his voice has recovered from whatever it was that made him sound like tripe on his last album. I just can’t feel this track. Dre is gonna put the last nail in the coffin of Rakim, mark my words.
Outsidaz alum Young Zee is next, with ‘That’s My Nig*a For Real’. He’s still dope in a quirky way with his weird voice, but once again, the ghost of horrible beats returns, this time along with its cousin, the phantom of brutal choruses. Instead of something upbeat and fun like the Outz rock nicely, too slow, too soft, and it doesn’t match with the MC, period.
SALVATION. Or partial salvation. Gangstarr returns with all new material, with ‘Battle’. Premo adopts a pseudo-Pete Rock style here, while maintaining all of his trademarks (ie. drums, scratches, dope bassline). Guru shows that no one can rock a Premo beat like the original MC. This is as nice as you could hope for, and probably the only track on the whole LP that you HAVE to have.
Em closes things off with ‘Run Rabbit Run’, yet another uninspiring effort. The beginning will make you think ‘Fight Music’ immediately, and so will the long build to the actual beat. I’ve gotta admit, Em comes correct lyrically here, but it’s the same old same old. Em has become redundant.
I just don’t get this album. Basically every beat is mismatched, and when it’s not, it sucks. Basically every MC does a half-arsed job on the tracks. It’s a train wreck of epic proportions. Em better hope his movie is better than this, or he may be in the process of jumping the shark.