Top Stories from the VMAs: Justin Timberlake and Eminem


2013 MTV Video Music Awards - Show

My brain was raped last night. First I watched Breaking Bad, which had my heart racing from start to finish (if you don’t watch this show, then there’s something missing in your life). Then I caught up on MTV’s version of the Grammy’s, which, as expected, offered both incredible and embarrassing highlights. Lady Gaga kicked things off with an electric performance, and Miley Cyrus raged with teddy bears, Robin Thicke, and a woman with a Nicki Minaj-size ass. But one of the moments everyone’s talking about is when the VMAs turned into a Justin Timberlake concert. My last article discussed some of the most legendary acts in VMA history; well, after watching an N’Sync reunion, ten minutes of JT’s dance moves and biggest solo hits, and the Barclay’s Center nearly collapsing with thunderous applause, I think it’s safe to say that this performance will now be joining the discussion. Justin was also awarded the Video of the Year Moonman trophy and the Michael Jackson Video Vanguard Award. I remember the days in elementary school when I, and so many other males of my generation, despised Justin Timberlake because he was everything that we wanted to be: a young, handsome, wealthy, talented superstar who, if he wasn’t dating Britney Spears (who happened to be the hottest girl on the planet at the time), could get any girl he wanted. But as Justin and the males of my generation grew, we learned to accept JT for what he truly is: a boss (this same thing happened with Leonardo DiCaprio).  The man has gone from pop culture icon to living legend—not just in music but in the entertainment industry as a whole. His movie career includes a role in an Oscar nominated, commercially successful film, The Social Network, and his appearances on SNL bring the show its highest ratings.

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But something else happened during last night’s show that has the Internet buzzing. Another late 90s/early 2000’s legend made a special appearance at the VMAs—though not in the way you’d expect. Through two separate Beats by Dre commercials, Eminem revealed some mind-blowing information:

1. His next album will be released on November 5, 2013. Mark the date in your calendars.

2. Both commercials featured snippets of what sounds like two different songs off Eminem’s new album. One song flaunts a high-pitched, slow-talking voice that’s reminiscent of old school Eminem. The other is his first single, Berzerk, which is set to be released this coming Tuesday. It’s a badass, hard-hitting tune that should’ve been what Just Lose It sounded like back in 2004. And if these tracks are any indication of how the rest of the album will sound, then we can truly expect an amazing body of work.

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3. The new album will be called MMLP2. As in Marshall Mathers LP 2. As in the sequel to his sophomore album, Marshall Mathers LP. This news is so massive that I barely know how to tackle it. MMLP is an historic point in music’s timeline for so many reasons. It made Eminem a star and also the voice of a generation of kids who were fed up with radio’s squeaky-clean pop acts. But most importantly of all, it broke down racial barriers by introducing white suburbia to a predominately black art form and paving the way for future white rappers like Macklemore, Mac Miller, Machine Gun Kelly, and yes, even Asher Roth. Following its release on May 23, 2000, MMLP became the fastest selling album by a solo artist ever. That record has since changed, but it still remains the fastest selling album in hip-hop history. With classics such as Stan, The Real Slim Shady, The Way I Am, and Kim, it gave fans a glimpse at the man behind the moniker and showcased the characteristics that so clearly define Eminem’s music today: intimate details of his personal life, vivid storytelling, a complex rhyme scheme, over-the-top misogyny and violence, and his notorious I-don’t-give-a-F attitude—and we all eagerly ate it up. The album was awarded Grammy’s, was both praised and reviled by critics, was adored by fans all over the world, and was protested by just about every human rights organization under the sun, particularly LGBT organizations—simply because activists misconstrued Eminem’s obviously exaggerated humor for real life beliefs. Despite the criticism and protests, or maybe because of them, MMLP has been certified diamond by the RIAA (10 million copies sold) and is known as one of the greatest albums ever recorded.

4. Eminem actually pops up in one of the commercials—and he’s blonde. This was the Eminem that the world fell in love with. Slim Shady, the beach blonde white kid from the ghetto who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind, even when much of what he said was insane. Following his recovery from a nearly fatal drug addiction, Eminem revamped his image with the 2009 and 2010 respective albums Relapse and Recovery and got rid of the blonde hair, as a way to say goodbye to Slim Shady and his excessive, drug-fueled ways. But what does it mean now that Eminem is blonde again? Is this new album, MMLP2, going to be as crazy, offensive, and wonderfully obscene as MMLP? Is the world going to experience an Eminem that we haven’t seen or heard since his third album, The Eminem Show? What new tricks (or old tricks) does Marshall Mathers have up the sleeves of his white t-shirt this time? I’m not sure, but I can’t wait until November 5 to find out.

Check out one of the commercials here: http://www.eminem.com/new-album/berzerk_watch2

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