It occurred to me on a car ride home one evening, as Bad Gal Ri Ri’s voice was so graciously depicting her kinship with monsters living under her bed, that I have been listening to the lyrical genius that is Marshall Mathers aka Eminem aka Slim Shady since the release of the Slim Shady LP in 1999. Now, let’s all conduct a barfing motion in unison as we let the fact that 1999 was fifteen years ago sink in. Are we done yet? Okay. Fifteen years ago I was ten, going on eleven, reciting the poetic verses of “My Name Is” and “Guilty Conscience” better than I could the Pledge of Allegiance or Hail Mary. At that point in my life I would have been attending Catholic School for six years, so that is saying a lot. Did I have any clue what I was singing (rapping)? Of course not. Realistically, I probably understood about half of the references my beloved Eminem was making, but knew exactly what the lyrics were, nonetheless. I continued the tradition through the “Marshall Mathers LP” up to “The Eminem Show”, where my brother, four years my junior, would grab the other ear of the Walkman headphones and listen to “My Dad’s Gone Crazy” and “Cleaning Out My Closet”, as our very functional, non drug-addicted or abusive, parents drove us down the Cape for a summer weekend. I wanted to make that point clear because our favorite songs on that album would illustrate an entirely dissimilar living situation.
At the ripe age of twenty-five going on twenty-six, I now fully understand just what Eminem was saying those ten to fifteen years ago, and am extremely thankful I was so ignorant to it all back then. (Although the song “Kim” kind of spoke for itself, no underlying meanings there). Now before you get all judge-y of Eminem and my music choices as a pre-teen, let me note that both my brother and I went on to great high schools and colleges with little to no visual side effects of being exposed to violent, angry rap lyrics. If anything, it helped us be hits at a party when “Forgot about Dre” comes on and we can recite every lyric. THANKS, EM!
I’m sure there are many of you out there who have a mutual love for Slim, but if you don’t, I will present you with a series of lyrics you gleefully sang way too young that made you sound like a delinquent. These songs still infiltrate the airways, but I thankfully no longer have to inquire what “bangs” means when Ricky Martin sings it.
1.“I’m into having sex I ain’t into making love, so come gimme a hug if you into getting rubbed”- 50 Cent “In Da Club” 2003
– Approximately 14 years old. No one was having sex, and certainly no one was making love. I bet we weren’t even hugging.
2. “All my girls at the party, look at that body, shaking that thing like I never did see. Got a nice package alright, guess I’m going to have to ride it tonight.”- Janet Jackson “All for You” 2001
– Approximately 12 years old. Uhhh, what package? I love mail!! Ride what tonight? Does she mean a ride home from the party?
3. “An older version of me, is she perverted like me? Would she go down on you in a theater?” – Alanis Morissette “You Oughta Know” 1995
– Approximately 7 years old. Not even going to go there with this one. I am very embarrassed for my second-grade self.
4. “What would you do if your son was at home, crying all alone on the bedroom floor cause he’s hungry, and the only way to feed him is to sleep with a man for a little bit of money.” – City High “What Would You Do” 2001
– Approximately 12 years old. I actually remember really getting into this one on a field trip bus one day. I’m still not sure, to this day, what I would do if my son was at home crying alone, how did I sing with such conviction at 12-years-old?
5.“If you wanna be my lover, you gotta get with my friends.” – Spice Girls “Wannabe” 1996
– Approximately 8 years old. Get with my friends in which way? Are you insinuating a threesome or a play-date of sorts? What’s a threesome? What’s a zigazag-ah?
Narrowing down this list was quite the difficult task, as we were all little perverts back in the day. There are countless songs from the 90’s and early 2000’s that fall into these categories. What we can be thankful for, though, is the artists that we were exposed to are a hell of a lot cooler than a drunk-driving, under-aged, twerp who shall remain nameless. NOW, will the real Slim Shady please stand up?
(Image via clashmusic.com)