Book Review; Eminem: Crossing the Line
I can’t say I’m a huge rap/hip-hop fan, in fact I would say I find it a somewhat talentless means for street urchins to make a quick buck and avoid getting a job. When it comes to the musical scale of things, rappers sit just below the synthesizer groups of the 80s, boy bands of the nineties, and just above Justin Bieber and these new-wave turntable ‘DJs’. When they can show me a few basic chords on a guitar or keyboard, I may change my mind. But simply rhyming to the word ‘fuck’ and ‘hoe’ does not a musician make…
Now, in complete contradiction to what I said I do own Ice-T’s “Freedom of Speech: Just Be Careful What You Say” which is one of my all-time favourite albums and apart from a few instances (such as Run DMC’s rehash of Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”) have paid as much attention to it as politician would to his constituents.
And then I saw 8 Mile. Up until I begrudgingly sat down to watch the movie I wasn’t a Slim Shady/Marshall Mathers III/Eminem fan. Yep, heard his tunes, hummed them now and again as well, but in record stores always went to my Pink Floyd’s and Deep Purple’s before anything like that. I loved the movie, loved the music, and became a fan of his.
I just finished this book, a biography-cum-reference to Eminem’s rise to fame in becoming one of the biggest names in Hip-Hop, if not music. It took a couple of days to read (could easily have done it in a day) not because it was good, which is was, sort of, but it ain’t that long. It only covers the time over his first two albums and is interspersed with some details on his legal battles, his volatile relationship with mum and wife, and some stats over recordings and concerts. Not bad, but if you are an Eminem-trainspotter this won’t be much use for anything. For me, a fan on the cusp it was interesting, especially the dissection of some of his songs which made me pull out the old iPod and listen to a few to make some connection.
Good, not great, and the photos are pretty shit-house, but for a ‘oncer’ from someone who obviously idolises Em (as he keeps, annoyingly, refers to in the book), Huxley has done OK.