“They said 50 sang too much/And Em got soft/And they said Dre fell the fuck off…”
If this is the last all-star collaboration of 2010, the year is going out on a good note. This song made the rumor mill rounds on Twitter a few days ago courtesy of mixtape dj Big Mike, and it turns out his claims of this song’s existence were right on point.
The title is a gateway to offer commentary on the importance of lyrics in today’s Hip-Hop. Eminem, one of the few who’s managed to become a superstar with technical wizardry, playfully bemoans how today’s young listener’s don’t possess attention spans beyond the chorus (“The whole formula switched/Because we don’t know anymore what’s a hit…How do we adapt and get TRL votes/When 13 year olds control the remotes?”). Em’s verse is very quick, and posits more questions than answers for Jay-Z to reflect on.
As expected, Jay takes a business approach. The “bang bang/chain” flow and content sells. He directly addresses the listeners, and states “it takes two to tango.” Right there, the Roc Nation CEO is making it clear that no one’s hands are “clean” in this situation: from the labels, to rappers, and even the actual fans who continue buying the product (“I guess you’re to blame, too/ I just found an angle..”). After painting Hip-Hop message board critics as naive, virgin teens, he views the philosophical divide as a choice between “the chat room or the house in Malibu.” For Jay-Z, his decision is easy.
Dr. Dre only gives a few quick bars, but the good doctor has some nice lines about veteran rappers continuing the standard of excellence set in previous generations. When it comes to passing the torch, Dre doesn’t see anyone ready to pick up the mantle (“The torch is going to burn out before it gets passed…gambling every time we put a record out…”). There is a light-hearted moment after this verse where Em takes his hand at the irritating, R&B choruses that are dominating the radio at this time.
50 Cent doesn’t tackle the subject as well as his peers. The most he can muster is a few nonsense bars to continue the motif that lyrics have lower importance over melody (“Just give me my check/ and I’ll be on my way”). Ca$his and Stat Quo hold their own with these heavyweights. For topics, they focus on bringing Shady/Aftermath to the forefront as the new generation of artists.
Not a bad track at all, and one that’ll have the hardcore internet fans talking, especially about the bars in their direction. In the end, these guys are in the record business, and as much as they may care for their art, the main goal for them will always be the looped Eminem words that close out the track, “Now get out there and sell some God damn records!”
EMINEM X JAY-Z X DR. DRE X 50 CENT X CA$HIS X STAT QUO “SYLLABLES”