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When rappers attack: Eminem fires back at … Mariah Carey?

July 31, 2009 |  3:53 pm


It’s official: Eminem and Mariah Carey had a relationship. There’s simply no other explanation why two full-grown pop stars would so publicly go at each other the way they do (see Carey's most recent video, "Obsessed"). It’s like a real-life remake of “The War of the Roses” on steroids and excessive video budgets.

But with the release of the aptly titled “The Warning,” (the song is the very definition of NSFW), the Eminem that rose to the top of the rap game with steely-eyed psychosis and dazzling vocal dexterity over a top-shelf Dr. Dre loop has suddenly come back to light.

Eschewing the odd pseudo-Jamaican inflection so rampant on “Relapse,” Eminem spins an elaborate and graphic recount of his side of the relationship with a passion sorely lacking from most of his latest release. Gleefully hurling threats of releasing incriminating photographs and phone messages, he takes no prisoners during the caustic verbal assault. Expectedly, Carey’s husband Nick Cannon gets thrown under the bus during the melee as well.

But in classic Slim Shady style, he lyrically goes at himself as aggressively as anyone in his purview, admitting to a lack of sexual prowess and having no game at all in his dealings with Carey.

Dr. Dre steps up too, with a haunting piano-based beat reminiscent of his work on “2001,” the perfect setting for Eminem’s wrath. It would seem that both have been holding out on us, if this song is any indication. The use of Carey's vocal samples in the mix is an effective and ironic touch. The two could easily produce a hit single together, that’s for sure.

In Eminem’s case, inspiration is key. Stewing in the old K-Mart mansion outside Detroit and self-medicating in the aftermath of losing his best friend and mentor Proof didn’t leave him much to talk about on “Relapse.”

But having an international pop star sink piles of cash into calling him out on video definitely did the trick.

Mariah Carey, Eminem fans salute you.

-Scott T. Sterling

Photo credit: PRNewsFoto/Interscope Records