Without Me

No contest : the « Without Me » song and video are a subtle masterpiece of work. « Without Me » is my favorite track from the Eminem Show and also Eminem’s most entertaining song ; the video features Obie Trice, Dr Dre, the D12 and Nathan, Eminem’s little brother and of course, both trailer park girls Jenna and Kiana who share the same bed with Eminem.
When « Without Me » came out as a single, Eminem said that it didn’t reflect the whole « Eminem Show » :

“The first single is no indication whatsoever how the record is going to sound. That’s probably the most different-est song that’s most like anything off my last album than what’s on this entire album,”

While raising serious political issues and personal problems, the video remains funny as hell from the beginning to the end.
Dr Dre plays Eminem’s known accomplice and their complicity is totally exposed while their both sitting and moving their heads in their « rapmobile ».
You can also notice references to the hospital in the video as well as in the lyrics which is certainly a reference to Marshall’s hospitalization because of d’Angelo Bailey. The same references will appear on the 50 Cent video « In Da Club » where Eminem plays the role of a doctor. Marshall has been traumatized by this experience and the hospital with its nurses and patients also appear in « The Real Slim Shady » video. It is also a symbol for Slim Shady’s crazyness. Eminem’s alter ego is supposed to act crazy and that’s exactly what the public wants. Eminem understood it very well :

“I’ve created a monster, cause nobody wants to see Marshall no more
They want Shady, I’m chopped liver
Well if you want Shady, this is what I’ll give ya”

The audience wants to enjoy Eminem’s evil alter ego, they want to see the “monster” with his illest thoughts. It’s like enjoying “Scary Movie”. Slim Shady captures their attention when they seem to be tired of the real Marshall.
The symbolic assassination of Dick Cheney is much more than a symbol it is also a protest against his policy and censorship. Eminem is warning and mocking Lynn Cheney, who totally misunderstood him (you bet!). Mr Controversy is back to piss you off, Mrs Cheney, whether you like it or not.

MTV has censored “Without Me” hypocritically. A good example of this hypocrisy is replacing “weed” by “me” in this sentence:
“A little bit of weed mixed with some hard liquor…”
MTV censored “weed” but never censored “hard liquor”. So it is forbidden to smoke weed, but it is allowed to get drunk with hard liquor? Come on, how far will they push hypocrisy?
Eminem is getting tired of their hypocrisy and didn’t release the video of his song “Business” as a form of protest against MTV.

Kids love Eminem. I can witness it: both of my kids love him and he makes them laugh crazy. This fact seem to bother many of his detractors. I got reproached on a Detroit rap board that Eminem targets kids because he uses things they like, like cartoons in his videos. For those who don’t know(and maybe also some of his detractors don’t know), Eminem’s first wish as a teenager (before he discovered his passion for hip hop) was to become a cartoonist. Detractors, let me tell you that so many adults like cartoons and that Eminem’s videos are so well made and so creative that he attracts a large audience, whether you like it or not.

You cannot resist to “Elvis” grabbing a sandwitch out of the toilet…the scene was made to make you laugh crazy.
The reference to Elvis Presley is here on purpose. Some people compare Eminem to Elvis, and often in a negative way. His enemies constantly target him as a “culture stealer” which is totally untrue. We all know Eminem grew up in a black culture and he is part of it. I have been objected so many times: “Just because Eminem has black friends and hung out with them, that doesn’t mean he’s not a racist and that he likes Blacks in general…”. Let me tell you this: Eminem totally embraced black culture, he has lived in the black hood of Detroit, has shared black person’s lives and sorrows. Nobody could deny that his roots are hip hop. You cannot compare Eminem with Elvis.
Some people also took Eminem’s statement seriously:

“I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley
do black music so selfishly
and used it to get myself wealthy
Here’s a concept that works
Twenty million other white rappers emerge
But no matter how many fish in the sea
It’ll be so empty, without me”

But this statement was made intentionally. It is only sarcasm. Eminem likes to add to people’s negative comments. He also used this technique in the song “Criminal” to counter the accusation of homophobia. Eminem is a clever person and he should rarely be taken at first degree. Eminem has overcome the race barrier thanks to his talent and he is amused in advance by the sudden rise of many white rappers trying to imitate him and to use this concept. But he knows his style is unique. By saying “It’ll be so empty without me”, some may object that he’s full of himself. No, he’s just telling the truth. Hip hop needs him, because he’s talented.
Moby gets attacked by Eminem in the song:

“And Moby? You can get stomped by Obie
You thirty-six year old boy fag, blow me
You don’t know me, you’re too old, let go
It’s over, nobody listens to techno…”

Moby commented on Eminem:

”I think that Eminem is talented and interesting, but I’m kind of stunned at the anger that he has for me seeing as I’d never met him up until [the VMAs].”

Eminem parodies Debbie on the “Sally Raphael Show” were she got invited with Nate and expressed on the topic “Eminem:love him or hate him?”. This part of the video makes me think of the concert when we all screamed with Eminem: “Fuck you Debbie, Debbie!”. It was one of the funniest moments of the show and we enjoyed it.

But the most interesting in the “Without Me” song are not the personal attacks against Debbie nor the words against Moby. The most interesting is Eminem making a fool out of Ossama Ben Laden. America has beeen traumatized by the dramatic event of September the 11th. Eminem dared playing Ossama. Bush ans the whole psychiatrists of the planet wouln’t have found a better therapy: Eminem has weakened Ossama in people’s consciences. He now appears as a big loser surrending with his white flag and dancing with the D12 crew.
Joseph Kahn, who directed Eminem’s video, was reticent in the beginning, but he followed the artist’s will:

“Eminem wanting to play Osama as a dancing jackass.”

“Dre was really into the idea, too,I thought the timing of it was pretty ballsy. You have got to respect an artist that is willing to press a button like that in lieu of his career. It was a brave move. I think because this image has been repeated so many times, it actually helped the world move on a little. We’re now desensitized to Osama’s image. He no longer looks so scary. He looks pathetic. Maybe some kids can go to sleep better now.”

Eminem states his will to help people to work out September the 11th by humoring the drama :

“I’m just trying to make light of a bad situation.If you can lighten the mood even a little bit, it helps all of us get past it. … And I couldn’t think of a worse punishment than Bizarre sitting on you.”

Eminem succeeded where some others failed. Why ? Because Eminem is a dedicated Daddy. When the drama of September the 11 th happened, Eminem was at home with his aunt and uncle watching TV. They all saw the drama live on TV. Eminem was worried for his daughter and didn’t know how to tell her about the drama. He only talked about it a few days later with Hailie, as he stated it on a MTV website.
Eminem is conscious that the drama affected kids much more than adults. During the period that followed the drama, I have seen so many drawings from American kids in different magazines. Some pictures represented the twin towers in flames, some others were a call for peace and unity, all of them expressed a call for help.
Humor has proven to be the best therapy and Eminem managed to make people laugh after the drama, showing them that life goes on and that in the end Ossama was the big loser.
To quote John Podhoretz in the New York Post :

“Now Republicans and conservatives aren’t concerned about rap music.They’re interested in national security, in terrorism prevention, the war against al Qaida and the war with Iraq. Are kids learning dirty words from Eminem? Big deal. Eminem won’t kill them. Militant Islam will.”

I’m not really sure Republicans and conservatives got the message. Recently, they asked themselves if Eminem intented to kill President Bush when the lyrics of « We as Americans » were released.
Eminem helped us all to relax after the drama of September the 11th. His « Without Me » video is one of the most complex and his best videos. You just can’t get enough of it.
Eminem
Without Me

Two trailer park girls go round the outside;
round the outside, round the outside
*scratches*
Two trailer park girls go round the outside;
round the outside, round the outside
*scratches*

Guess who’s back
Back again
Shady’s back
Tell a friend
Guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back
guess who’s back, guess who’s back, guess who’s back.. {*Eminem hums*}

[Verse 1: Eminem]
I’ve created a monster, cause nobody wants to see Marshall no more
They want Shady, I’m chopped liver
Well if you want Shady, this is what I’ll give ya
A little bit of weed mixed with some hard liquor
Some vodka to jump start my heart quicker
than the shocks when I get shocked at the hospital
when the doctor when I’m not co-operating
When I’m rockin the table while he’s operating
You waited this long, now stop debating
Cause I’m back, I’m on the rag and ovulating
I know that you got a job Ms. Cheney
but your husband’s heart problem’s complicating
So the FCC won’t let me be
or let me be me, so let me see
They try to shut me down on MTV
But it feels so empty, without me
So, come on and dip, bum on your lips
Fuck that, cum on your lips, and some on your tits
And get ready, cause this shit’s about to get heavy
I just settled all my lawsuits, Fuck You Debbie!

Chorus:
Now this looks like a job for me
So everybody, just follow me
Cause we need a little, controversy
Cause it feels so empty, without me
I said-this looks like a job for me
So everybody, just follow me
Cause we need a little, controversy
Cause it feels so empty, without me

Little Hallions, kids feelin rebellious
Embarrassed their parents still listen to Elvis
They start feelin like prisoners helpless
’til someone comes along on a mission and yells BITCH!!!
A visionary, vision of scary
Could start a revolution, pollutin the airwaves
A rebel, so just let me revel and bask
in the fact that I got everyone kissin my ass
And it’s a disaster, such a castastrophe
for you can see so damn much of my ass; you asked for me?
Well I’m back, na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na-na
Fix your damn antenna tune it in and then I’m gonna
enter in, under your skin like a splinter
The center of attention, back for the winter
I’m interesting, the best thing since wrestling
Investing in your kid’s ears a nest egg
Testing, attention please
Feel the tension, soon as someone mentions me
Here’s my ten cents, my two cents is free
A nuisance, who sent? You sent for me?

Chorus:
Now this looks like a job for me
So everybody, just follow me
Cause we need a little, controversy
Cause it feels so empty, without me
I said-this looks like a job for me
So everybody, just follow me
Cause we need a little, controversy
Cause it feels so empty, without me

A-tisket a-tasket, I go tit for tat with
anybody who’s talkin this shit, that shit
Chris Kirkpatrick, you can get your ass kicked
worse than those little Limp Bizkit bastards
And Moby? You can get stomped by Obie
You thirty-six year old boy fag, blow me
You don’t know me, you’re too old, let go
It’s over, nobody listens to techno
Now let’s go, just gimme the signal
I’ll be there with a whole list full of new insults
I been dope, suspenseful with a pencil
ever since Prince turned himself into a symbol
But sometimes the shit just seems
everybody only wants to discuss me
So this must mean I’m dis-gus-ting
But it’s just me, I’m just obscene
And though I’m not the first king of controversy
I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley
do black music so selfishly
and used it to get myself wealthy
Here’s a concept that works
Twenty million other white rappers emerge
But no matter how many fish in the sea
It’ll be so empty, without me

Chorus:
Now this looks like a job for me
So everybody, just follow me
Cause we need a little, controversy
Cause it feels so empty, without me
I said-this looks like a job for me
So everybody, just follow me
Cause we need a little, controversy
Cause it feels so empty, without me

Kids!