About this series.
I will be highlighting one to three songs off of each Eminem project that i believe deserve more credit.
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This song was one of the world's first looks at Eminem's wit and charm. The song is obviously about betrayal, but instead of taking it down the predictable angry path, Eminem flips the situation into a clever, cartoonish concept. He turns this personal betrayal into a cartoon villain on loose betraying everyone.
" Attention all units, attention all units
We have an all-points bulletin out on a man with green hair
This intro does the job of describing the rapper Champtown who the song is allegedly about, according to genius annotations. Also, it fits the concept perfectly, even if you don't know who that is. Green hair, to be green is to be jealous or envious. He is armed with a knife because he is a backstabber, and that works perfectly for an announcement about a wanted man. Also, right there in the intro, Eminem lets you know what the backstabber has done; stolen a girl. It sets up the concept and backstory entertainingly and concisely.
"Ring the alarm, look for a man with green hair
Check at your girl's house, he was last seen there"-Eminem
These two lines capture the entire first verse. Eminem is flowing effortlessly and easily rhyming whole phrases while comedically reinforcing this backstabbers character as someone so crazed and backstabbing he is probably stealing your girlfriend right now.
"And most of all be advised that he's wise
He could be disguised as one of your very own guys"-Eminem
This second verse is difficult to separate. Em's flow is so smooth, and all his rhymes are very interconnected. As soon as you single out one part, you notice another cool rhyme he had just before that and then another right in front of that, and before you know it, it's the whole verse. However, I do believe this is the best part of the second verse. First off, rhyming "be advised" with "he's wise" and "be disguised" and "very own guys" was just a super smooth rhyme, but also I love the simple but poignant message of "he could be disguised as one your very own guys" in other words watch out for betrayal in your circle.
"I'm on a solo mission to find him personally
To settle the score and to beat him unmercifully
For what he first did to me, it's sure to be the last
Followin' footprints with a magnifyin' glass
I'm mad as hell, on the trail of this tattle tail
I heard a yell, the voice sounded familiar
"Give me your girlfriend or I'm gonna kill ya!"-Eminem
In the third verse, we can really see the seeds of Shady. For example, the casual use of violence in the second line. The cartoonish narration of a serious matter in the fourth line. Also, Eminem's skill as a narrator is on display as he sticks to the concept and gives further hints into how these events may have gone down in real life. Eminem calls him a liar and a tattletale, which leaves the audience to believe that this guy threw dirt on Eminem's name to get Eminem's girl to get with him(the backstabber). Also, Em adds some tension to the song here. Em is closing in on the backstabber, but the villain knows em is coming, and as he mentioned in the first line, Em is alone.
"I saw my life flash in front of my eyes.
I felt a butcher knife slash at one of my thighs
None of my guys knew where I'm at, I was doomed
Then I remembered the flashlight in my costume"-Eminem
Once again, Eminem is rhyming well, and it sounds effortless. He is compellingly moving the story. There is a surprise attack in one line, then certain death in the next; then, the situation has flipped again as Eminem has a flick of hope to survive this encounter with the villain. Eminem also stylistically delivers this as a hero vs. villain encounter and supports that with details of him being in a costume.
"Dealing with backstabbers, there was one thing I learned
They're only powerful when you got your back turned
I yearned for the day that we finally met again
So I can give him a taste of his own medicine
He shed his skin, then he promised to come clean
I took his butcher knife and jabbed it into his spleen
Cuffed him at the scene, then dragged the fella home
Beating him over the head with the telephone"- Eminem
Then there is his hilarious conclusion that the backstabbers are only powerful when you have your back turned. In concept, this is a funny way to defeat a villain. However, in real life, Eminem is saying this guy is a coward who can only act behind people's back. Also, Eminem cleverly calls him a snake without saying it outright by saying he shed his skin. Lastly, I wonder if he beat him with a telephone because it rhymed or because this all started over a phone call the backstabber made?
This song's hook is the weakest part about it, but it's still serviceable. It doesn't add to the track, but it doesn't detract either. The beat is smooth yet upbeat. It's still enjoyable to this day, and it serves the concept. This song is a good example of Eminem's wit and storytelling, and it deserves to be more well known. Now that you know, spread the word.
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