Lose yourself in the music of the “8 Mile” soundtrack

Elissa Vallano

Artist or misogynist? Genius or idiot? Hilarious or just plain offensive? However you view Eminem, one thing is for certain: he’s done it again, and he’s done it well. With the upcoming release of his much anticipated movie “8 Mile,” the soundtrack is paving the way for what appears to be another brilliant turn by music’s most controversial artist.

The movie’s title comes from a term for the literal and symbolic dividing line between the white and black communities in his native Detroit and is directed and co-produced by Curtis Hanson (the great mind who wrote and directed the Academy Award winner “L.A. Confidential”). Brian Grazer (the producer of Academy Award-winning “A Beautiful Mind”) also co-produces alongside Hanson.

“8 Mile” is a loosely based interpretation of Marshall Mathers III’s life before he became who we now know as Eminem. “There was some, um, questioning from my agents about working with someone so controversial,’’ said Curtis Hanson. ‘’But I’m old enough to have witnessed the ways in which Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor were misunderstood and taken out of context, so I’m sensitive to [his situation]. But I had no interest in making an ‘Eminem movie.’’’ Hanson’s main focus was to create an accurate portrayal of young people divided by race and class in the hip-hop world, and the soundtrack was going to set the tone.

Many think that the “8 Mile” soundtrack is just going to be another CD entirely comprised of the foul-mouthed rapper, but he is only heard in five of the CD’s 16 tracks. In fact, a variety of foul-mouthed rappers and smooth R&B voices make this CD one of the best hip-hop soundtracks to come along in a while. Shady Records’ pride and joy stepped out to support their fearless leader, with D12, Obie Trice and 50 Cent all lending their voices to several tracks.

Heavy-hitters like Jay-Z, Macy Gray, Nas, Xzibit and Gangstarr bring a mainstream wave of talent to the group, while Boomkat (whose track features the beautiful voice of Taryn Manning), Rakim, Freeway and Young Zee finish off the list of hip-hop artists to perfection, providing the soundtrack with a well-rounded sound of old and new. The musical union of all of these talents was not an easy task though, and production of this record was a bumpy road for Marshall Mathers and Paul Rosenberg, Eminem’s manager. A slap in the face to all Eminem haters was the undeniable fact that amongst all of the hair pulling and eye-poking, none of the inner turmoil was caused by Eminem himself. How’s that for the most controversial man in show business?

For those, like myself, who enjoy the more toned down but still edgy Eminem who is more about storytelling than offending, you will love the “8 Mile” soundtrack. For those who love the shock value he possesses, you won’t be disappointed either. Eminem and his cohorts still manage to insult and offend while putting together a great musical collaboration. Like any Slim Shady record, the content is not for the sensitive or meek. The soundtrack packs a strong punch of profanity, offensive language and politically incorrect name-calling. Although there are a few tracks that are not up to par with the lyrical and rhyming talent of Eminem, Nas and Jay-Z, it is still a good buy. If the movie is anything like the soundtrack, it is sure to rocket Eminem to the top of the Hollywood game. And judging by his previous numbers (the man has sold 30 million records to date), things are only going to get better for music’s top bad boy.