After the darkness of 'Stan', Eminem slips back into the light to delivers an update on what he's been doing since 'The Real Slim Shady' via a rolling rap of score settling, shameless self promotion and gleeful schoolyard smut. Yes, on 'Without Me' Eminem pushes his 'shady' persona into overdrive to wind up right thinking parents everywhere. Again, is this the real Eminem, or is the 'Mr Hyde' alter ego a throwback to the useful device prevalent in the blues that allowed the artist to refer to themself in the third person in a way that allowed them to get away with lyrical murder (for example, the way Ellas McDaniel adopted the 'Bo Diddley' persona to get away with bragging how he "walked 47 miles of barbed wire, used a cobra snake for a neck tie" when he obviously didn't and obviously doesn't) so that Eminem's stream of obscenities ("So come on and dip, bum on your lips fuck that, cum on your lips and some on your tits and get ready cos this shit's about to get heavy I just settled all my lawsuits FUCK YOU DEBBIE!") can be passed off as being from the Eminem's dark side while his own halo remains intact.
Kind of. Sort of. Oh I could (over) analyse all day, but there's not much I can add to my views on Eminem and his alter ego than those outlined back on 'The Real Slim Shady' other than to add that 'Without Me' has little purpose other than to perpetuate the cult of Shady and is too personal to brook any meaningful distinction between man and persona. True, the raps here are bitty and the targets less precise and blunter than previous ("Moby, you can get stomped by Obie, you 36 year old bald headed fag blow me. You don't know me, you're too old let go its over, nobody listens to techno"). But what the hell; Eminem's no pause for breath shit slinging is that of an infant in a mud pit and his bullish self confidence ("Now this looks like a job for me so everybody just follow me, cos we need a little controversy, cos it feels so empty without me") rings with the infectious joy of a peal of a bell largely because it's true. Dammit, these charts need Eminem.