Image Credit: John Shearer/EM/WireImage.com; Bob Charlotte/PR PhotosEminem‘s semi-reclusive reputation means that any time he guests on a younger artist’s track, it feels like a big moment, somewhere between a seal of approval and a passing of the torch. That goes double when the collab in question is with highly buzzy rookie Nicki Minaj. So when an Em-meets-Nicki track called “Roman’s Revenge” hit iTunes just in time for Halloween this weekend, hip-hop heads went nuts.
The track finds both rappers indulging their most foul-mouthed, antisocial alter egos. Nicki comes out roaring against an unnamed “has-been.” She also drops the C-word (in reference to herself) — whoa. After that caustic opener, Eminem gets his turn. Super-sexist threats of degrading violence are pretty played out for Em at this point, but he goes back to that well yet again. Yawn. Whether his slick, tricky flows compensate for the tired subject material is a question I leave up to you.
Next, Nicki returns to that same aging rival from her first verse: “Word, that b—- mad ’cause I took the spot?/Well, b—-, if you ain’t s—ing, then get off the pot.” She doesn’t name any names, but just about everyone is assuming she has Lil Kim in mind. Whoever it is she’s snapping at, her off-the-charts energy in this verse is exactly why her star has risen so dramatically this year.
Eminem tries to up the ante further with his second verse, going right for the gratuitous gay-bashing from line 1: “All you little f—–s can suck it.” Ugh. Really, Marshall? You did “shocking” and “taboo-breaking” so much more intelligently 10 years ago. This kind of phoned-in hatemongering, in character or out, is just boring. It also kinda undermines Minaj’s frequently stated appreciation for her gay fans.
Check out “Roman’s Revenge” after the jump (very NSFW language, obviously) and see what you think. Who “wins” this track, Nicki Minaj or Eminem? Does it make you more or less excited to buy her debut album, Pink Friday, on Nov. 22?
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