Eminem's Stunted Growth

A brave man moves beyond the past, stretches past his artistic comfort zone and grows. Then, there's Marshall Mathers.

AP Photo/Gary Malerba

Why should I wash my filthy mouth out

You think that’s bad you should hear the rest of my album

Eminem, "We Made You"

A while back, Nas declared hip-hop dead. Anyone who has dived into Eminem's comeback release, Relapse, should be convinced that this is true. Music forms have to mutate, adapting and changing with the times lest they become fossilized. In many ways, rap has become a caricature of itself, particularly its darker, more nihilistic side.

Eminem, for all his prodigious talents, seems as stuck as the genre itself. Yes, yes, we know, his sociopathic Slim Shady is an alter ego; it's all farce, dark comedy, yada yada yada. Pathology is his schtick, from his drama with his mama to his repeated baby-mama drama to his blood-soaked fantasies. It's the role of art to be provocative, etc., etc., etc. We get this. He let us in on the joke years ago, announcing on Eminem: The Marshall Mathers LP

I don't do white music

I don't do black music

I make fight music

for high school kids . . .

Get a sense of humor