Only now, three or four singles into his Encore album, Eminem caught my attention. The newest single is "Ass Like That," and it was specifically the short form music video that stopped me. This is about the most impressive music video I've seen in a year or two - though admittedly I don't watch a lot of music video. They tend to be in short supply for the 50+ year old bluegrass, jazz and gospel I'm most often listening to. You might also guess from this description that I have limited patience with hip hop. You'd be correct.
Nonetheless, Eminem has come up with something that works on a bunch of levels. For starters, there's at least a half decent approximation of an actual SONG under this whole structure, one with a lot of personality at that. It would work great for sexy dance music. Then there's the especially cleverly thought-out video, which is a real hoot that only gets funnier with repeated viewings. I'd recommend downloading the video with Bit Torrent.
First of all, there's the whole relationship of Eminem and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog. Only Eminem would have a complicated emotional relationship with a rubber dog. Infamously, Eminem had a hostile public confrontation when Triumph approached him a couple years back during a live MTV awards show broadcast. Monsieur Mathers didn't appreciate being the subject of Triumph's regular schtick, and at one point put his big serious-looking scary black bodyguard between him and a dude with a frickin' rubber puppet on his hand. Eminem has been accused - and not entirely without good reason - of being a misogynistic, homophobic sociopath. Cool! But this was the one main obvious time in his career where he was just flat a laughingstock.
Now he has gone the other way, embracing Triumph to the extent of writing and performing this song largely in his voice. In the opening half-minute, Eminem is walking some red carpet, talking to reporters when he is assaulted by Triumph. "As a dog I must know: What does Dr Dre's ass smell like?" A couple more of these remarks, and Eminem and his crew are piled up in a fight with the dog, who is protesting, "But I am not your wife" before Eminem's arm comes thrusting out of the pile with the puppet on, cueing the song.
As a song, there are three main threads of action. First is the basic chorus, traditional singing, "The way you shake it, I ain't never seen an ...ass...like...that. You make my pee-pee go 'da, doing-doing-doing.'" Then there are setups of Eminem rapping about his pee-pee getting him repeatedly in trouble with the cops.
Finally, there are his bits as Triumph, in whose voice he's trying to joke his way out of trouble. "I can say that and you laugh cause there's a puppet on my hand." Triumph's vocal style, and Borscht belt comedian rhythms are built right into the song. Triumph has done songs before, notably the "Underage Bichon," but not coming from such distinguished musicians and producers.
These parts actually add up to at least a half decent unique and catchy melody, and they get much more mileage out of the record with the Dr Dre production. The whole thing works as a sexy midtempo dance track, with an especially noteworthy bass line that all the melody is written to. They were particularly skillful, if you will, in how the whole vocal tune hangs nicely off the bass line. All in all, the tune's not going to make you forget, say, classic Motown or Prince, but it's well above average compositionally for hip hop.
The whole song seems to have been structured from the composition as the soundtrack for a video. They have a lot to work with in the story of the lyrics, with Eminem, hookers, the cops, and Triumph.
Then they add in one more level of nonsense in the video that takes it all over the top: the Crank Yanker puppets from Comedy Central. It appears that whenever Triumph starts talking, the people turn into CY puppets. The best moment of the video is when the two live policemen sent to deal with Eminem- apparently a couple of easygoing peace officers, their heads pop as they turn into their puppet alter egos. Pretty soon, they've got a pretty funny soup of Eminem, Triumph, hookers, cops, and puppet alter egos for them and all the famous hotties he's calling out for recognition.
The middle verse was most particularly hilarious, when Eminem is causing a disturbance in a theater showing a Mary-Kate and Ashley movie. Live Eminem is staring wide-eyed as popcorn continuously erupts from the bucket in his lap. "Da doing, doing, doing!" Then as the cops come down the aisle, up from his lap he pulls...Triumph, setting up their top comic moment with Crank Yanker Olsen twins having a lesbian shower scene. Da doing, doing, doing, indeed.
They're just spewing good stuff all through the video, piled on such as to reward repeated viewings and listens. Nearing the end, Crank Yanker Eminem is fleeing in a helicopter, which turns out to be piloted by the most retarded Crank Yanker puppet of them all, with a trademark retard laugh familiar from promotions even to folks like me who haven't really watched the show.
Anyway, in the final moments Crank Yanker Eminem is setting in a strip club with Crank Yanker Dr Dre, who barks at him angrily, "Fux wrong wit you?" Crank Yanker Eminem responds "Ha!" in the trademark laugh of his retard copter driver. Then they drop in that perfectly cliched rap video shot of the rapper (Crank Yanker Dre) exhaling marijuana smoke in slow motion- and the retard breathing it in. That few seconds is still really funny to me beyond all reason after several dozen viewings.
Eminem ended up making a whole lot of things go together right here. He's got
at least a half-decent song, with an exceptionally good production, and a
particularly clever and skillfully engineered video that adds up to a striking
comic effect. Throw in a few good simple dance moves from live Eminem and his
girls, and you've got a really memorable piece of video art. Good show!
EMINEM PHOTOS, PAGE 1 2 3 4 5 6
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