For reference point's sake, here's the Mimi clip that supposedly inspired Eminem:
Now--the cold, cynical economic rationalization for this generally tired and immature back and forth centers around the fact that both platinum-selling work-horses have albums out this year, during an era in which record labels are desperate for numbers. Eminem took the top of the charts when Relapse debuted back in May. But its first week sales of 600,000 utterly paled in comparison to the million plus in opening business he notched with previous records. Is there a "threaten to murder someone" button over at Universal Music Group--the owner of Interscope, which in turn distributes Dr. Dre's Aftermath label--that gets pushed whenever Slim Shady fails to move a million units in the first week? There's an odor of stale beef here that could lead one to think this is being done with a wink and nod between the two performers. (After all, Eminem proved he wasn't above a little stagecraft back at the MTV Movie Awards, as his encounter with Bruno's ass was planned well ahead of time.)
But even if the Mariah-Eminem feud isn't staged, what's strange is how witless the end product is. Diss tracks are supposed to bring some funny. Yes, they also need to devastate an opponent, but most rappers understand this is better achieved with an undermining wit as opposed to a violent spasm in the gutter. Take, for example, Inspectah Deck's recent swipe at Joe Budden--who had apparently committed the sin of comparing himself favorably to a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. Again, NSFW:
Around the one minute mark, in the midst of a hard-bangin' verse, Deck dares the listener to "name me three Joe Budden songs," after which we hear the Jeopardy! theme. In the background, a hip-hop head attempts to do Deck's bidding, but can only come up with "Pump It Up" as a Budden track. "Aw, this is for a hundred thousand dollars? I'm blowin' it!" the faux contestant cries in desperation as he realizes he doesn't know or like Budden's music enough about to be able to answer the question. "Still waitin'," Deck thunders as the track comes back strong. The point--that Budden isn't successful enough to back up his boasting--is effective because it makes you laugh, even if you've never heard Budden's music.
I'll say this for Eminem's diss track, though. Dr. Dre's beat is more interesting than the track Cary used for "Obsessed."