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Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Eminem in Slane: Relapse or Recovery?

Expectations are high as US rapper Eminem is set to return to Ireland to give Slane Castle another shot. But while many are excited, a majority of us will be procrastinating on whether or not we want to cough up 80 euro for a concert that has yet to announce a support act.

Let’s start by saying as popular as Eminem is, taking into account he has sold over 100 million records worldwide, he will not sell out Slane Castle this summer. There will be a massive attendance on August 17th when the Detroit rapper returns, following his performance in Oxegen (2010). However fans will not forget when a promising line up was set to collide alongside Eminem in Slane, only to cancel. This time around, with a price range of 80 euro, fans will look for the ageing rapper to put on one hell of a show. While support acts have been put on hold for now, fans can only pray that their 80 euro is well spent – if a support act with a prolific status is announced soon, it will be 80 euro well spent this summer.
While Eminem has played endless amount of concerts through-out Europe and the US, let’s just say Ireland has not exactly been graced with the best of the world’s acts; so with one of the world’s best rappers set to grace a stage of historic status, fans will wonder whether they will get the relapsed Eminem, or the one in recovery. Both referenced albums are mediocre, but it is the timescale leading up to these albums that have moulded Eminem into the rap icon he is today. The fans will want to remember Eminem for how he was as Slim Shady. Do we really want to spend this money listening to “Ass like that” and “Guess who’s back”, or anything to do with the puppet wielding Encore album for that matter? While Eminem’s sour return in Relapse surely can’t get a mention, can it?

I believe 80 euro is a price you pay to hear an old school set – Marshall Mathers LP, Slim Shady LP, The Eminem Show – these are the albums we fell in love with. Songs such as “Kill you”, “Stan”, “Sing for the moment”, “The way I am” and many, many more. I heard Eminem put on a decent show in 2010. Apparently, he performed a fare mash-up of old and new, commercial and not so. Although he failed to play through a full track of one song, jumping from verse to verse with different beats because, well, it’s a different song. Back in the late 80s early 90s, rappers performed concerts, not gigs. I can’t help but look at the term “gig” as a modern day word for short performance. Back when Dre, Snoop, Tupac and Biggie ruled the land of hip hop, fans paid a reasonable price into concerts of outstanding performances. There was none of this turning up an hour late and 30 minute shows – the artist respected the fans and vice-verse. So while Eminem’s commercial status is quite prolific, he has not given Ireland the credit it deserves. I think I speak for everyone in saying we want to hear full tracks – a flashback to how it was. Sure, Eminem is 40 years of age, and while he might not have the same hatred he expressed on the Marshall Mathers LP, fans don’t want to forget those lyrics – the comedic grittiness we engaged in.

Eminem will show up in either two mind-sets; a relapsed version – a despicable persona he desperately tried to re-kindle in 2008, revealing his constant drug use and affairs with Mariah Carey. It was a mediocre album, played out using his annoying Arabian impression. It was a desperate attempt a reviving what was and fans will not want to hear a single song off that album this summer.

What fans will accept is Eminem’s slightly better album that followed in Recovery. It was the return of Eminem but to say it was a reinvention would be wrong. While it may seem harsh to deem rappers for releasing commercial tracks for a new generation, there comes a time when that chapter in one’s career is vital. Recovery was a great listen, and fans, whether they like it or not can expect to hear a few tracks off the album. Songs such as “No Love”, “Talking to myself” and “not afraid” will go down well. What is almost certain, we will get an Encore, but a 90s Eminem hangs in the balance. If what they say about his performance in Oxegen is true, and with a slight extent to each track, I believe doing so is giving the people of Ireland the rap concert it deserves. So in that case it will be 80 euro well spent. I will be there to judge….will you?


  1. I love Relapse.
    Relapse is a masterpiece imo.

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