Eminem's "Berzerk" Is A Mediocre Retreat, Not A Reinvention

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Eminem press photo
Remember Beastie Boys' Licensed to Ill? Yeah, so does Eminem. If you doubt it, take one listen to the absolutely inessential "Berzerk" single from the forthcoming Marshall Mathers LP II, where he makes the emphatic case that we ought to "take it back to straight hip-hop."

It's not terrible advice, I suppose, but Em, a dude in dire need of reinvention and reinvigoration, is perhaps not the best rapper to make the case.

Though his fun tracks are, okay, fun, Eminem has always been at his most exciting when he's unguarded, reflective, and dark: The Eminem Show standout "Cleanin' Out My Closet," or even the plodding, addictive "Mosh" from 2004's uneven Encore. "Berzerk" has no such darkness or political bent; it's a naked grab at being an unrepentant party track, ala Andrew WK. But here's the problem: who's spinning shit that sounds like "Berzerk" at parties anymore?

And if you are looking for a Licensed to Ill throwback, aren't you more likely to just, you know, play Licensed to Ill?

It's unfair, I know: if some rapper no one has ever heard of came out of the gate with the throwback style that Em's aping on "Berzerk," you'd likely have gone dizzy already from a bunch of critics tripping over themselves to praise it. But coming from Eminem, the track just feels like a retreat, an older dude trying to sound like a younger one. (Em's 40; the Beastie Boys were just about drinking age when Licensed came out.)

This might all be forgiven if there was something--anything--redeeming in the track, but there's precious little to love here. It's loud and irritating and nearly unmelodic, and the electric guitar isn't exciting or edgy, like in the also-Rick-Rubin-produced "99 Problems"; it's just obtrusive and silly.

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15 comments
gangzpage
gangzpage

You muthafuckin faggot..... 

do u know wat is music n wat is hip hop.. 

This review sucks... 

U are supposed to be highly retarded and not even have a sense to review any music... 

Emimem roars and this songs is one of his best..

Grow up kid and Rest in peace muthafucka

laura9819
laura9819

If the Critic had bothered to listen to the first bar of the song then Mr. Foolish would know hes just paying homage to a band that inspired his entrance into the world of hip hop. Listen up FOOL, the song isn't suppose to be taken literally and stop announcing the fact that hes 40 so is Jay Z and plenty of other (black) rappers I don't seem to hear you mentioning, when mentioning their name. I get it hes white so hes suppose to follow your Plan of how his career should go. This tactic of throwing out artist age in order to shame them back into a dark corner somewhere is not only pathetic but insulting to the fans. So fuck you and your irrelevant critique. at the end of the day his fans will support his work. Some will love it, and get it and others like you who think they know something about hip hop will not. Now either your some college age wanna be somebody, or your some token black whose been given this assignment to ad cred to it, but here this. Your out of your depth so step back and find your lane and stay there.

laura9819
laura9819

if you knew anything about his history then you wouldn't have come up with such an ignorant review. Also, why don't start bringing up the ages of some of the black rappers like Jay Z, for instance. A good number of black rappers happen to be older then Eminem, so that statement alone tells me your not really critiquing his music, but attempting to discredit his position as a rapper based on his age. And I get the feeling that your someone who still takes issue with the fact that he's white, otherwise why bring up his age at all.  This isn't a critic with integrity but an ambush of the worse kind. You don't have to like his him or his music but if that's the case then why are you attempting to critique his music? This article is bullshit, and personally I don't I don't like everything he does but I am a fan, so that puts me in a position to at least have an honest review of his work. I like this track I understand the reasoning behind the track and that makes me love it all the more. You see I happen to like the Beasie Boys and know that they were the inspiration for him getting into rap. If you knew even that much then you wouldnt have written a bullshit review. There are two Black reviewers on you tube who give honest and constructive critiques, that make much more sense then this bullshit column. I will stick with their reviews.  Yours lack integrity and come of vindictive and personal.

shawntj2013
shawntj2013

Does everyone know what the sweet part is? Eminem knows what he is doing, what he has done, and probably has a pretty good idea about what he wants! He has never once cared about what anyone has to say about him, he just has one goal, and that is to prove he is the greatest rapper on the planet! Maybe he did write 'Berzerk' for attention, But everyone just keeps forgetting......... The man is a GENIUS!!!!!

shawntj2013
shawntj2013

Does everyone really know what the sad part is? Eminem knows what he is doing, has done, and probably has a good idea what he wants to do with his career! Yea, maybe he did do this for attention, but most of you forget..... the man is a genius!

MrMadison
MrMadison

What you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever heard. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

slapapitch916
slapapitch916

I dont think hip hop can ever be what it was and any attempt by a mainstream artist will always have a modern day sound to it just for that the fact that the 80's are a long gone. this wont re en vent Em but its a cool joint and the dj element adds what most hip hop is missing today. yeah it is a lil obnoxious at times but this will be a ill song to see done live. 

kurosaki117
kurosaki117

Yet another pop critic who thinks he understands rap to even the slightest degree. The second verse was made intentionally that way to imitate rappers of today who dumb down rap. Em even says so around the end of the verse. And the whole fact that you decided to quote the fucking CHORUS instead of the verses proves to me that you, in fact, didn't even listen to the song properly, and instead skimmed through the song looking for things to pick at. 

Oh, and this is a lead single. Em's not known for having exactly "Deja Vu" level lead singles. If you actually fucking LISTENED or READ the GODDAMN LYRICS, you wouldn't sound so woefully ignorant, and, well, mentally retarded. Now, please, go and review something that isn't rap, since you seem to be unable to understand it. At all.

phanchauthanh710
phanchauthanh710

Fuck You ! Ur such a fucking retarded faggot doesn't know any shit about music. It's best song ever by EM. Shut tha fuck up. Who the hell you think are you ?

squillyakawilliam
squillyakawilliam

Thank you. Most people don't understand this song and won't bother looking at the lyrics. Every lyric is a stroke of genius. It's either paying an homage to old school rappers (not just Beastie Boys) or dissing New School rappers. The second verse is entirely dumbed down for that purpose. The turntables are there because as he says "let's take it back to straight hip hop let's start it from scratch" I don't know how much old school hip hop this guy has heard but a lot had tht turn table. The great thing abour this song is that it sounds like it's made for a younger dumber audience but in reality it's made for an older audience that actually listen to the lyrics. Because that's what rap should be about, THE LYRICS. The eccentric sound not only pays homage to the Beastie Boys but also pokes fun at new rappers for relying on the sound and not lyrics. This guy really doesn't know about hip-hop.

Cor955
Cor955

@phanchauthanh710 Its great but i wouldnt say its the best, theres a few i personally thing are better such as till i collapse, stan, square dance but its a great song

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