Robert Christgau: Dean of American Rock Critics

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Consumer Guide Album

Eminem Presents: The Re-Up [Interscope, 2006]
It's a crew album--of course it sucks. The depressing thing is how much. Obie Trice, the merry men of D-12, Shady Records never-was Stat Quo and newbies Ca$his and Bobby Creekwater, 50 Cent proving payback is a bitch--didn't one of them have a lyric to show off? On a record where all they do is brag about being big-timers who are down with Shady, even a few insights into cocaine packaging would tone things up considerably. The boss's beats tend toward ominoso rock-keyb marches like "Mosh" and "White America," with gunshots scattered here and there like pepper spray. But not only is this mode less fresh now, Eminem doesn't develop it, and the rhymes don't nearly justify its declamatory pomp. So the Em-50 duet "Jimmy Crack Corn," an egocentric return to the rhythms of the visionary anti-Bush "Square Dance," comes as a relief, as do the Akon and 50 remixes. But though Eminem's own rhymes meet his traditional polysyllabic standards, with a nice pass into the third person on the title song ("as sick as his music is, or was, still is, whatever"), only the final two minutes of the final track access the brilliance we once took for granted: "They don't see that I'm wounded/All they did was ballooned it/I'm sick of talking about these tattoos/Cartooned it/That's why I tuned it out." [Rolling Stone: 2]