With the knowledge that any album that bears the Shady Records label will go multi-platinum, Eminem surrounds himself with a posse of rappers (among them D-12 and Obie Trice) who are capable of selling records but not dexterous enough to challenge Em for his hip-hop crown. Not only does Eminem make a cool pile of cash, but he gets an ego boost at the same time.

Kate Green
Courtesy of Shady/Interscope
Obie Trice and Eminem. (Not pictured: Eminem.)

Needless to say, Obie Trice could never compete with Eminem as a rapper, but just to be sure, Em restrains Obie severely on Cheers, Trice’s Shady Records debut. Eminem wants Cheers to sound decidedly run of the mill, and as executive producer, he makes it happen.

Cheers‘ backing tracks, most of which are produced by Eminem himself, are noticeably overmixed. On the title track and “Don’t Come Down” in particular, Trice struggles to be heard amid the deafening beats.

Not that being unable to hear Obie is any big loss. His awkward lyrics, such as “I know I don’t wanna be headin’ home / With some double-Ds full of silicone,” shift from unfunny Eminem rip-offs to inane thug posturing. On the mic, Obie is competent at best; his plain vocals often weakly plod along under the overwhelming beats. In brief appearances on “Lady,” “We All Die One Day” and “Hands on You,” Eminem casually delivers a few lines and thoroughly embarrasses his protege, which, while quite unnecessary, is certainly entertaining.

As the most profitable man in hip-hop, Eminem could easily afford to add the world’s best MCs to his roster, but that’s not what he’s going for. He wants the spotlight locked firmly on himself. Giving Obie Trice a chance can only be seen as charity work, but just to make certain that Obie doesn’t steal the show, Eminem ensures that Trice never sounds better than average.

Oh my god, it’s a mirage. I’m tellin’ y’all it’s sabotage.

Rating: 2 stars
















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