Eminem, shut up. And by shut up, I mean stop doing shit. And by stop doing shit, I mean you couldn't make me more sick of hearing about your family if you set up camp in my throat and triggered my gag reflex every time you knock-down-drag-out fought or had make-up sex. I don't care about your fucking mother. I don't care about your fucking ex-ex-ex wife. And I certainly don't care about Hailey or Lainey or whatever fucking little girl you're raising to hate herself.
Eminem such a boring exhibitionist that it's like, "Oh, I no longer get radio play by airing my dirty laundry? 'Mockingbird' and 'When I'm Gone' didn't become the heart-string tugging classics I tailored them to be? I know! I'll get married and then, three months later, I'll get another divorce! From Kim! You all remember Kim, right?" Madonna, whose exhibitionism never even reached the atrocious heights of Em, was once rightly accused of not wanting to live off camera. Eminem doesn't want to live off record.
Oh, and speaking of swapping holy vows, LL Cool J's new album Todd Smith (in stores Tuesday) contains a recap of his wedding, "Down the Aisle". Who knew Cool James settled down and got married? Oh wait, I did, 11 fucking years ago when it happened.
Maybe he wrote it as a celebration of his and Simone's 10th anniversary. More likely, he's just gotten to the point where he has absolutely nothing new to say. At least, that's what the barely listenable Todd Smith suggests. It's the worst in a long line of terrible albums from the G.O.A.T. Ageism is an epidemic in pop culture, specifically in pop music and especially in hip-hop. Todd Smith, the offering of a 38-year-old LL, will only serve to fuel the youth obsession, both inadvertently (his words are stale) and implicitly (virtually all of the guests-cum-floatation devices on Todd Smith, effectively a duets album, are younger than LL). He goes butt-to-butt with a Teairra Marí, who sounds every second of the 20 years that she is his junior. The result is "Preserve the Sexy," the best track because it holds the distinction of being so godawful it demands attention (Todd Smith is otherwise just painfully boring). "Sexy" is a camp classic, but don't expect the kids to understand that.
Ghostface, meanwhile, has plenty to say, as many a glowing review has noted his "stream-of-consciousness" lyrics on Fishscale. It sounds like a stream of repetition to me as he pummels meters into the ground with his jackhammer flow over a series of excruciatingly one-note beats.
I realize that not wanting to ejaculate all over Ghostface makes me alone, and believe me, I'm not happy to be sitting out this round of bukkake. I desperately want to love Fishscale (I mostly just desperately want to love something this year, already!). I want to love it so much that "Kilo" has grown on me (is that a Schoolhouse Rock sample?) and that my affection for "Whip You With a Strap" hasn't stopped growing. "Whip" is honest, sensitive-guy yarn that doesn't need fucking Ne-Yo to be secure in its sentimentalism, as Ghostface details his childhood spankings alongside a hilariously plaintive sample. It's very tangible evidence of his progression (he recalls his youth with a smirk instead of the pronounced frown of his admittedly great early single "All That I Got Is You"). Why is it that Ghostface's past sounds a lot more rich than his present?
T.I.'s King doesn't have half of Fishcale's wit, but god, it sounds so much sharper. Between crunking and snapping, Southern hip-hop doesn't like to let on that the South really is a beautiful place. But then, so is T.I.'s face. The shockingly melodic, appropriately triumphant King is acutely aware of both.
Sure, King is a little long and prone to lyrical ruts, but for the love of Levan -- "Why You Wanna" samples Crystal Waters' "Gypsy Woman (She's Homeless)!!!" I'm not trying to say that that's gay, primarily because I only want to encourage the use of early '90s house samples in hip-hop. But T.I. is my husband for a reason! No homo.
Oh, and speaking of lovers, I think I'm finally ready to rescind my Paul Wall love. Homeboy was looking like a buttered lobster last month at Spring Bling. Besides, I can fill my stocky white-boy rapper quota with the progressively yummy Bubba Sparxx.
I found you, Mr. New Booty.
Finally, few things are making me happier now than Sleepy Brown's "Margarita" (sorry for the Envy interjections -- this file is from the DJ's R&B 26 mixtape). The abundance of bongos and Pharrell vocals lead me to believe that this is a Neptunes production. I know a lot of people think that the 'Tunes have fallen off, but their recent work has been so warm and approachable that I can't recall a time when I've loved them as much as I do now -- first Robin Thicke's depressingly ignored "Wanna Love You Girl," then Twista's "Lavish" and now this! I even started to think that Pharrell maybe wasn't so misguided after all for trying his hand at the mic (the way he crams in the "P" after "Skateboard" in his "Wanna Love You Girl" verse is adorable). That was until I heard Skatey's mixtape with DJ Drama, In My Mind: The Prequel. "Pope-a-pourri?" "Break-fur-est?" "Drug traff-a-ick?" Is he serious? "It Was a Great Day?" Of course it was for the prettiest multi-hyphenate entrepreneur in hip-hop.
Tell me something I don't know already. And hold the extra syllables.