Eminem's Awful Rihanna Duet Is a Monster All Right

Note: in his column Serrano Time, award-winning writer and goofball Shea Serrano writes about his life and times.

Photo by Marco Torres
Song: Eminem's "The Monster," feat. Rihanna

History: Eminem did a freestyle battle. He went up against Papa Doc and choked. It was pretty sad. Then some more sad stuff happened to him. But then he did another freestyle battle and, if you can even believe it, he ended up going against Papa Doc again and THIS TIME HE WON BY MAKING PAPA DOC CHOKE.

That's a little thing called true justice. After that, Rihanna was like, "Oh my God this dude has mad skills. I need to do a song with him." So they did some pretty good songs together. And then they made "The Monster."

Atmospherics: Kind of like what the teen section at Nordstrom sounds like. Except teens don't shop at Nordstrom so it's always, like, someone's uncle buying jeans from there. That's what this song sounds like: Someone's uncle trying to buy cool jeans from Nordstrom.

Analysis: Snoozefest. I wish there was a more nuanced, more clever way to say that, but every time I try to think of one my brain jumps clean out of skull and sprints right the fuck down the street. That's not a metaphor or anything. My brain literally grew these tentacle-like things and it was splitskis, bro. It's like Krang from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

YouTube screengrab

But look:

On 1999's "My Name Is," Eminem's very first single from his very first proper album, back when he was still interesting and had not been hollowed out yet:

Hi, kids!
Do you like violence?
Wanna see me stick nine inch nails through each one of my eyelids?
Wanna copy me and do exactly like I did?
Try 'cid and get fucked up worse than my life is?

That's clever and fun and acerbic and biting and insightful. I can't immediately think of a better opening salvo from a modern American musician.

Here's how Eminem opens 2013's "The Monster," the 93rd single from his 25th album:

I wanted the fame but not the cover of Newsweek
Oh well, guess beggars can't be choosy

1. Newsweek? Bro, that's the most boring shit of all. Remember when Newsweek put Sarah Palin on the cover in jogging shorts? That was them being divisive. Newsweek is like when they show that movie Nerds on AMC and then AMC zooms all the way the fuck in so you can't see any boobs during the panty-raid scene.

2. Did you really just say "Oh well," Eminem? In the first verse of a song called "The Monster"? Because, I mean, there just aren't enough sighs.

3. Did you use the word "choosey," rather than "choosers"? Because everyone knows the expression is "beggars can't be choosers." You can't just make up a new expression to rhyme with Newsweek, which you shouldn't even be talking about in the first place.

Story continues on the next page.

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I liked his last album despite some really peculiar choices in samples (Haddaway's "What is Love?" Ozzy's "Changes"?) and those terrible puns. It sounded like he was working through issues out loud.

I'm not getting anything out of MM2. "Monster" isn't the worst of the bunch, by any means, though. And the choice of samples is even worse than last time (Em singing tjhe beginning of "Life's Been Good" is cringe-worthy...)

Robert Whitley
Robert Whitley

What a hypocrite whom deserves death. Obviously one person cares, since you responded not once, but three times. Dumbass hypocrite.

Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

Hey, TURD. It is painfully obvious no one gives a flying fuck about your rambling, nonsensical diatribe masquerading as some purportedly intelligent critique. A complete exercise in epic sophistry. You are a DWEEB.

Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

". Sometimes I wish I was responsible for population control." To a very minor extent, you do, actually. All it takes is a pull to the trigger to your own cranium or jumping off an overpass during rush hour over the Southwest Freeway.

Sterling Meeks
Sterling Meeks

Eminem, is, always has been, and will continue to be just awful all on his own. End of story.

Robert Whitley
Robert Whitley

Ps this is not the only place I post this, but to hold people to standards we do not preach or live by... Hypocritical. Apparently, I could easily write for this publication. I am the one who for years has been trying to get Kubiak fired. I opened the Facebook page and the website. I could be as negative as anyone, but I am always solutions oriented. I bring that up, because I led a large group of followers in a forum very similar to this. I could easily speak to uncomfortable, somewhat negative ideas, but always find a solution or find the silver lining. People relate to you when you offer solutions. People respect you, when you call a spade a spade. It should be common knowledge ad leader it's a necessity to be respected before liked. Sure, you can be both, but you MUST be respected, anything less, you will be walked over. Clearly, I have been venting, but I'm appalled by the people whom are allowed to exist in this world. I've honestly got nothing to say after speaking with the majority of the new people whom I meet daily. Sometimes I wish I was responsible for population control. Then again, talk about negativity, lol.

Robert Whitley
Robert Whitley

No one gives a damn about your opinion. Did they sell? Yes! Did they get obscure publications like the Houston Press to write a collumn about it? Yes! Looks like they are the winner and your negative, unwanted, and certainly unwarranted column follows the trend it has consistently set; unworthy of my time. Now I may contradict myself as I spent five minutes writting this. However, if I saved everyone else from writting an equally as abusive post. When it's all said and done, I made those people more efficient. After all, how could one not respond to such uninformed negativity. Please find a new job, as I could close my eyes and do better. Literally, as I day-dream I've already come up with multiple ideas that could not only morally inspire people, but simultaneously point out the ignorance in people's way. I am not graded nor held accountable for what I post. Yet without a topic, I am still making more sense in a fresstyled rant than damn near every article I have read recently. Sad thing about this world is it's not just you. Do not over react, I am calling out all of your peers; from your co workers to your competition. Quite frankly, if one could learn to point out the flaws of the story, while spinning it into a positive learning experience, one would corner the market and be a pioneer into the future. The news used to be proactive, and again, were pioneers guiding us into the uncertain future. Now it's all reactive and about finding the most damning, gruesome and negative stories. It's all about greed. I get that blood and sex sells, but in everyone of the stories is an opportunity to learn, to grow. This is lost on our current generations. However, parents, actors, athletes, teachers etc, the list goes on. These are the role models in todays society, like it or not. Lead by example, find the positive, or at least the lesson to be learned in every scenario. People look up to the people whom produce these stories. It's time we held things like this to a different standard. I am not perfect, but I believe as people, we can still turn this around. We NEED TO STEP IT UP!!!


His whole album sucks. He's so corny now, it's hard to listen. I couldn't even listen to berserk, I literally had to stop it. He's just awful now


1) someone 2) Please 3) Save 4) This dumb ass writer.  Can't hate on a on a number one single because of a few curious lines. Puta pendejo.


The crappy part about reviewers like this is they don't realize that artists, believe it or not, sometimes change their style within an almost 20 year span. I'm not a huge Eminem fan but I can tell this reviewer is confused. A few points:

1.Eminem doesn't make songs about being broke like his first album, because he is one of the highest paid, best selling artists in the world, it wouldn't make sense. He's not on drugs or facing the myriad of legal controversy that he was in when the Slim Shady LP or MMLP dropped, hes focused on making music to what he believes is now relevant, not his past. You can see this in as many rap artists as you can count. When was the last time you heard Jay-Z or Lil Wayne talk about the hood? Or where they came from? They don't anymore, because wealth changes your life believe it or not, so it's expected styles will change. Even Kendrick Lamar, today's (or maybe yesterdays now) underground champion has already risen from rapping about his street life and is transforming his style right now. Soon he will be rapping about the same shit as all the other big dog rappers.

2.  As for saying choosey, and not choosers, look into Eminem's rap style with syllables, its just how he raps. NewswEEk, ChoosEY. You following so far? Basic rhyme scheme there....or are you a Future fan?

3. Why the #@$! would you compare him to 2Pac? Eminem never claimed to be a "thug" or even attempted to rap in that vein, it's like comparing Kanye West to NWA (Sorry, just trying to use groups that you might understand, since I see you don't really approve of people who make it on covers like newsweek).

4.  And finally, when you say diamond wallet it seems like your making him out to be a snob or someone who doesn't give back, Im not sure you've done your homework, he has an entire charity organization in his name, and last week he matched all donations to a Michigan charity up to $100,000. And the diamond wallet? For his salary he is the most basic dresser of all mainstream rap artists. 

I'm truly sorry you feel Eminem's new album doesn't have enough shout outs to fashion companies, and i'm sorry he doesn't wear a god damn 30 lb chain like Jay-Z or whatever. Anyway, my point is, he could be living life in exuberance, rapping about weed and bitches like every other rapper out there right now, but instead he just went a different direction, I mean look at his song and album titles compared to the same artists in his field today. Marshal Mathers LP II vs Yeezus, Magna Carta Holy Grail, Finally Rich, Trap House, the list goes on and on. As I said, I'm not a huge Eminem fan, but it really irks me when people don't invest time to look into the artist they are reviewing.

My advice to you Shea would be to lay off that lean for awhile and listen to the rest of the lyrics in the song, not just the ones that seem to stick out in your head.

MadMac topcommenter

I keep hearing Bane, "Peace has cost you your strength. Victory has defeated you." Or mansions and Phantoms, whatev's...

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