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Posted by Robert
Rap News Network
10/11/2003 6:31:30 PM

Tags and topics realted to this article include Obie Trice and Eminem.

50 Cent's success made Eminem the most successful rap executive of the year. The next Shady Records release is by Detroit rapper Obie Trice, best known for his appearances on the "8 Mile" soundtrack, and for being mentioned by his mentor in the Moby verse of "Without Me." Trice's debut finds Eminem firmly in control. He uses all the techniques that worked in his own career and with 50 Cent, making a minor talent sound like a superstar.

Obie Trice might have been interesting if rap hadn't yet heard from any ambitious, criminal-minded, fantasy-prone young black men. An average writer with an indistinct voice (he sounds like a weak imitation of Queens' Pharoahe Monch), the newcomer needs a lot of help. Vocal support from Dr. Dre, Eminem, Nate Dogg, Timbaland, 50 Cent and Busta Rhymes does the trick. Someone charismatic performs a hook on just about every track, so nothing comes off like filler. A few out-of-character verses suggest that Eminem did some ghostwriting. Trice will occasionally drop a couplet like, "You've been touched by a slug/Hugging the pavement like you're in love" (from "Average Man"), then say nothing original for a dozen or so verses.

Eminem provided the music for lead single "Got Some Teeth," a dirty-joke song as bright and buoyant as a superhero comic. In keeping with the form of Eminem's last few albums, the humorous single is for radio, while the meat of the album is relentlessly negative -- songs of frustration over stomping, haunted-house loops. Eminem's rhymes on "Cheers" are must-hears for fans obsessed with their hero's personal dramas: "Lady" and "Hands on You" are new chapters in the saga of his weirdly juvenile love life, while "S--- Hits the Fan" and "Outro" are another volley in a much-publicized war of words with Ja Rule.

From a business perspective, Eminem must be applauded. Lots of rappers figured out that their dark side is their product, but none found a way to mass-produce it. Shady Records is cornering the market on disaffection. Kids won't mind that Obie Trice has nothing going for him besides hostility, as long as it's Eminem who delivers the package.

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