Release Date: 10.29.02
Record label: Interscope
Genre(s): Movies, Film Scores, Musicals, Etc.
by: bill aicher
There's a pretty sure-fire way to cash in when it comes to rap music, and his name is "Eminem." Amidst the hubbub surrounding his three-album career, the white poster-boy of controversy has become the reigning King of popular rap. Each of his albums has outsold and outshined the previous, and with every release came another surge of excitement of "what will happen next?" His edgy personality had to come from somewhere, and through the countless interviews, articles, lawsuits, etc. bits and pieces have surfaced.
But still, what better way to give a glimpse of Mr. Mathers's psyche than through a movie based "loosely" on his life. And what better way to cash in than to piggyback it as a vehicle for yet another CD - this time overflowing with tracks from his fellow (and lesser-known labelmates), with a splash of credibility with some of the more-respected artists from the genre?
Regardless of the succces of the movie (and trust me, it will succeed, if for no other reason than even CNN is mentioning "Oscar" in the same sentence as Eminem), the soundtrack will remain a testament to the first attempt at a kind of "rap musical." Because, really, when it all comes down to it, that's what 8 Mile really is.
Eminem's tracks as his new psyche "Rabbit" (the main character from the film) really do tell a story, much as the songs from musicals do. And honestly, it's amazing there haven't been more rap songs in musicals, seeing as how well they do their part here. After all, rap has always been rooted in storytelling. On tracks like the leading single "Lose Yourself," it becomes obvious "Shady" does have the skills to step outside his characters. Sure it tells the same "overcoming all obstacles" story we've heard a thousand times before, but this track is just plain wicked. Mathers gets what music is about, and the emotion here is amazing. It's also the most accessible thing he's ever done. It's Eminem your mom might even like... whether that's good or bad is up to you.
Unfortunately Eminem's tracks also serve as the strongest factor on the disc. Nas's "U Wanna Be Me" self-serving meanderings are disappointing to say the least, especially given the source. Jay-Z's also done better, but his "8 Miles and Running" is still one of the disc's highlights. Macy Gray's "Time Of Your Life" really doesn't make any sense here, but it's there. So if you like her, good for you.
Yet, even given these mediocre tracks, there are of course the absolutely abhorrent ones. Why Eminem decided to include his cronies like "Obie Trice" and "50 Cent" is far beyond me. The likely culprit for their inclusion is the fact that this is one of those "music from and inspired by the movie..." discs. So really, some of these tracks have absolutely nothing to do with the movie. Go figure.
Really, if you have to judge 8 Mile based on it's soundtrack alone, you'd be in for disappointment. Luckily the movie's reviews have been mostly of the raving sort - so chances are most of the crap music's been pushed to the side, with only the highlights shining through.
It does star Eminem after all. So it only makes sense for him to be the soundtrack's shining star as well. 10-Nov-2002 10:56 PM