Starting It From Scratch

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Eminem will release his 9th solo studio album on 11/5/2013 called The Marshall Mathers LP 2.  That’s right. 9 SOLO albums.

This last week, being that this album is dropping in just over 5 weeks, I wanted to listen to the first Marshall Mathers LP to try to determine what direction the artist might go with this new record.  He has given a few hints as to what it will be like, but I feel there are SO many ways that he could go with this.  I have some questions and doubts as well.  I shouldn’t say doubts because you can’t ever really doubt a true genius in their field.  However, I am very confused and eager to listen to the work.

Here are some of the “hints” he’s given to us fans:

1.  Blonde-hair is back:  This is a staple sign of the OLD Slim Shady.  After Encore, at some point, he changed his hair back to his original black, took out his hoop earrings, and began rapping in a much different style.  He was grown up.  Evolved.  A “changed man”.  Although he still rapped in the same manner that was criticized by media outlets, politicians, and middle-upper class parents, his rhymes were much different than the drug induced Shady.  When he announce the release date for his new album about a month ago, he posted a picture with “this blonde mop that’s on top of this fucked up head that I got” (Marshall Mathers, Marshall Mathers LP).  However, I have yet to see a newly released picture with his earrings in.  I’m not sure what the significance of that may be, but just make a note of it.  All you need to know is that the blonde hair is back, which SHOULD mean vintage Shady.

2.  Berzerk:  He has released 2 new songs.  I’m not entirely sure if Survival will be on Em’s new album, but Berzerk is a VERY different song by today’s standards.  In his opening lines he says “Let’s take back to straight hip-hop and start it from scratch.”  Wow.  That is something I, personally, have been waiting to hear from SOMEONE.  Hip-hop/rap has been garbage for the better part of the last 8 years now.  Every once and a while you will hear something that will be beyond good, but most of the time it is straight garbage.  If Shady is going back to the beginning, then fuckin sign me right up!

3.  Royce on Twitter:  If you follow Royce da 5’9″ on twitter, he continuously talks about how great Mr. Mathers is in the booth.  Nothing any of his fans doesn’t already know.  However, Royce has said that it is his best work yet.  Coupling that with the idea of a Marshall Mathers LP sequel, it really makes you wonder what this album could be like.

The 1st Marshall Mathers LP holds a very special place to me.  It was the first Eminem album that I had completely listened to.  It is what hooked me on the artist.  Of course I had heard My Name Is and Guilty Conscience on the radio, but when this album came out, my friend bought it and brought it over. We listened to it all night.  I knew that day that Em would be my favorite artist forever.  So when a sequel of that album is announced, it made me really anxious to hear it.

Here’s the thing though:  When the Marshall Mathers LP was released, he was quiet young still.  It was his second major studio album and was much more polished than the Slim Shady LP.  He was doing a lot of drugs and that is very prevalent through his work.  Drugs were so focused on in the album, I wonder how you can make a sequel to it being that he is reportedly still sober.  I don’t doubt that he’s sober for one second, but it is a major question I have as to why he would choose THIS record to make a sequel of.

In addition to the drugs, he is very angry in MM.  He had just started his first divorce with Kim (his ex wife and baby’s mamma).  He found her cheating on him and wrote (a second song) about killing her entitled Kim.  At the same time, he was in the middle of court proceedings with his mother.  She was suing him for slander on The Slim Shady LP.  Eminem had a lot of anger and hate especially for women on this record.  It is as popular in his rhymes as the drugs.

However, the 3rd and final frequency on the first Marshall Mathers LP is the comedic antidotes to today’s media, celebrities, and world events.  Em takes this to a level that has never been heard before on a record.  He was heavily pressured to make more albums by the record label and his fans. The Way I Am was a declaration to the struggle of dealing with his new found fame;  While he joked and made fun of it in songs like Marshall Mathers and Criminal, but being increasingly more serious that his alter ego Slim Shady.  He blasts pop singers like N*Sync, Ricky Martin, The Backstreet Boys and the like;  He talks about the media and other organizational groups criticizing him for his lyrics; and he shows everyone that his lyrics are just lyrics through more confrontational lyrics.

If you grew up with him through his music like I did, you can see he is a significantly different rap artist than he was in 2000 when the Marshall Mathers LP was released.  He doesn’t appear to be in as much turmoil or pain as he was 13 years ago.  I can only conclude that the style, beats, and music will be similar to what he released over a decade ago.  There is plenty in this world to make fun of.  However, he has done that throughout his career.

I don’t know how he’s going to “take it back to straight hip-hop and start it from scratch” (Berzerk, MM2), but I can tell you that I am excited to find out.

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Things Just Fell Apart

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Family is #1 to me.  Ahead of everything else.

I learned from my grandfather (may he rest in peace) that family is everything.  You should always be there for them no matter what.  If you are pissed off at someone, but they are in need, you should NEVER turn your back on them.  I have really taken this to heart.  So much so that I have gotten my last name tattooed on my forearm for everyone to see.

I get made fun of for this, and all of it comes from my own family.  Maybe others think it’s stupid too but are just nice enough not to say anything.  The fact that I get ridiculed for this from my own flesh and blood really hurts deep.  My old man is the worst about it.  He hates tattoos in general, but always will go out of his way to make a snide comment about that one.

What people don’t understand is that before I got my kids tattooed on me (See: In A Rose Tattoo), this was my absolute favorite one.  It meant the most to me.  I am PROUD to be a Harrington.  It is what my grandfather taught me and it is what reminds me of him now that he is gone.

Family is the most important thing.

But my family’s hate for my tattoo isn’t what this post is about.  This post is about how my family fell apart.  And it all started a month after I got married.

I just moved to VA with my wife and step-daughter 3 days after my wedding.  No honeymoon, just Christmas and a trip half way across country.  Roughly a month after we got there (while going through the exciting new found marriage arguments) I got a phone call from my dad telling me that my Aunt and Uncle had split up.  They had split because he found some emails to/from my aunt to other people that were less than favorable to her, my uncle (who I adopted as my Godfather because my in a fuck), and their marriage.  This is all probably more than you need to know but it is the beginning of me realizing that my family is just as fucked up as everyone else’s.

I always thought that my family just loved each other.  That we all got along (for the most part) and that we would always get together for every holiday or just because.  Well, I should have known that was a crock of shit when one of my uncles wouldn’t even come to my wedding.  I didn’t even get his RSVP until 1.5 weeks before the wedding.  No call.  No card.  Just a “no” checked in the response section.  I may have almost gotten into a fist fight with him about a year before that, but I’m pretending that that wasn’t the cause of this.  He was busy with work in AZ and “couldn’t make it”.

I don’t hold grudges to any of these people that did me wrong at this time.  I was told to forgive and forget because they are family.  Apparently, I was the only one that ever had this sink in.

Over the course of the last 8 years, I have found that my aunts and uncles can’t hardly stand each other’s spouses, my dad is a degenerate gambler, my parents are on the verge of splitting up, my grandparents wouldn’t listen to all of the facts but still try to be mediators, and everyone puts on a happy face for the little kids.

The worst part of it is, my brothers and sisters are being subjected to all of this much younger than I was (by about 5-7 years). This makes me very very sad for them. Things are so screwed up in my family that one of my sisters is all fucked up too. She’s lost it more than anyone else I know in my family. I pray for her. She needs it.

I am the oldest cousin and because all of this started right after I became an “adult”, I feel like things started to fall apart because of me.  It has really taken its toll on my self esteem.

I know all families are screwed up. I just remember such a “happy” family when I was little. It’s not just a crash of my dreams to realize that we aren’t, it makes my childhood safe place non-existent.

I love my family. I will never stop forgiving them and moving on. My family is the most important thing to me. I love my family so much that I permanently put them all on my body. I don’t care if anybody understands why, but I will always have them with me.

My Neighbor is Better than Yours

If you follow me on twitter then you know that I spend a lot of time at my neighbor’s house.  He is an awesome dude, let me tell you.  He’s 59 years old, a retired Army vet and he was born in England.  That’s not even why he’s cooler than your neighbor.

Brian is a very strange individual, but he may be one of the most caring people I know… as long as you don’t cross him.  Then he’s a complete dick (so am I).

He sits in his garage without a shirt on, drinks beer, and smokes cigarettes.  That’s it.  Every time I’m outside in my driveway, he hollers over “Heeeey neighbor.  Want a beer?”  I’ve probably had more beer at his house than I’ve had at my own house.  And I drink a lot of beer at my house.  Not like a dangerous amount, but enough for one person to handle within reason.  So he gives me free beer (almost daily), hands me a smoke as soon as I through my own empty pack away, and we sit down and talk about either maintenance or the military for HOURS at a time.

That’s not why he’s a better neighbor than yours though.

Brian recently lost his job and is having trouble finding work again.  In the time that he has been off (about a month now), he has watched my kids when I couldn’t be home, fixed my lawn mower, bought more beer for us to drink, offered to clean my gutters (which I am taking him up on since I won’t go near a ladder for the time being), and is going to take a look at my downstairs walls to try and help me with the remodeling that I have put off for almost 3 years now.

Brian is the best neighbor I have ever had and probably will ever have.

He’s definitely better than yours.

Your Opinion is Always Wrong

Show of hands of who feels that their opinion is never right.  No matter how hard you try, no matter how hard you fight for it, someone else’s opinion is always the right one and you are left with your dick in your hand (metaphorically of course since ladies might be reading this).

My opinion on matters have changed dramatically, especially over the last few years.  And if my father finds this page, he might just shit in disappointment reading what follows.

See, I grew up an Irish Catholic.  I’m still Irish and I am still Catholic.  However, I see much more gray.

1.  I don’t care if you’re gay, straight, bisexual, transgender or have any other weird sexual fetish.  It’s not my place to tell someone that they are wrong.  Hell.  I’ve done some of these “acts” and you know what, I don’t need to be judged by someone who sins just as much as I do.  If you like the same-sex, God bless you.

2.  Structured religion is starting to really get on my nerves.  It’s not the structure itself, it’s the condescension from those in that religion on members of a different DENOMINATION.  I’m sorry, but aren’t all CHRISTIANS (real Christians not the ones who just show up on Sunday and think they are going to Heaven) all going to the same place?  Aren’t our fundamental believes all the same?  It has bothered me for a very long time (about 15 years) that Christianity is segregated into smaller groups.  It is really sad that we fight over these trivial differences.

3.  Gun laws should be changed.  Everyone has the right to bear arms as long as they are law-abiding citizens.  I think that a national gun registry is needed very badly.  I think that this COULD solve a lot of problems with these shootings, but nothing is truly going to stop it.  Bad people are bad people and the Devil is very present in this world today.  The shooting at the Naval Shipyard in DC really hit home since am a former sailor myself.

4.  I had so much love for this country, but in the last 6-7 years I have really lost faith in our “leaders”.  It makes me sad and I feel like my heart is breaking.  I don’t like this country very much any more.  The problem is, there isn’t anywhere else to go in the world that is “free”, but I am highly considering getting out of here before Rome collapses again.

These 4 points mean nothing though.  They will be disputed and my opinion will be tossed aside because it is wrong.  But I am very strongly opinionated and you tossing my opinions aside means nothing to me.  I am the only one that can change MY opinion.

What the Fuck is Wrong with Me?!?! (A Lot)

I have never really thought of myself as being a person who could become depressed.  I have always thought of myself as level-headed.  I still do.  I know that the thoughts that I am thinking are outrageous and ridiculous and it drives me crazy that I cannot get them out of my fucking head.

If you know me (which I’m sure the very few people who will ever read this post don’t), you know that I am a pretty “funny” or “laid back” guy.  Of course this is all an illusion as most people who are funny or always smiling are hiding the fact that they are miserable for the most part.  I wouldn’t say I’m miserable.  I’m not even sure if I’m unhappy.  I feel like a baby or a wuss if I feel like life is too much.

This all stems from how you grew up and the environment you were in.  Not all environments you grew up in were someone else’s doing (i.e. your parents).  A lot of it was my own.  I decided to play football.  I chose the friends that I had (most of which were self-destructive).  I am sure that I am the way that I am mostly because of me.

However, I have no idea why I feel the way that I do sometimes.  I’ve talked to a shrink and we didn’t get anywhere.  I felt like it was the stereotypical “how was your relationship with your father?”  It sucked.  We don’t get a long most of the time.  Why am I paying you $100/hr for you to ask me questions I ask myself and already know the answer to?

Anyways, that’s not the point.  The point is, all people have problems.  Why are there ones that just stick and the scar never subsides at all?  Why do I feel like one minute the world is just fine then the next I want to set it on fire and let all you fucks burn in hell?

Relate: sometimes I get a little emotionally graphic.

I sometimes look up symptoms to mental diseases and pretend that I know how to diagnose myself.  I think all of us do.  Then I get mad at myself for even thinking that something is wrong with me.

I’m a wuss.  A stupid little wuss.

Maybe it was my dad.  Maybe it’s just all in my fucked up head.  Maybe it is just all normal and I need to relax.  But one thing I know is that there are certain things that just won’t go away and I don’t know what to do with myself.

But that’s just life I guess.