There are likely already more than enough jokes out there about Eminem and Logic’s hotly anticipated collaborative single, “Homicide,” by now. Although I didn’t really enjoy the song as much as either rapper’s hardcore fans, I have zero intention of piling on — there’s no point, and the song’s insane popularity wouldn’t be affected either way. It’s already shot to the top of the streaming charts, hitting the No. 1 spot on iTunes and Spotify’s US Top 50. It will likely debut near the top of Billboard’s Hot 100 next week, as well. It is, by most measures, a resounding success.
However, there’s one standard by which the two rappers fall short, and ironically, it’s the one on which they build the entire song’s concept around. If there’s a bar that sums up the thesis and motivation of their high-velocity raps throughout the song, it’s this one from Logic’s second verse:
“I got b*tches, I got hoes, I got rare designer clothes
No, we ain’t f*ckin’ with that
Yeah, there’s a time and a place
But if you ain’t comin’ with the illest of raps
Callin’ yourself the greatest alive
Then you don’t deserve to do that”
The — ahem — logic of this argument is flawed, as is the line of questioning Logic presents in his first verse. “I’m tired of all of this high school, ‘he’s cool, he’s not rap sh*t,’” he laments, before asking, “Can a single one of you motherf*ckers even rap? Sh*t.”
It’s an age-old argument in rap fan circles, this idea that “nobody in rap is concerned about rapping well anymore.” It’s also total nonsense and the basis for why “Homicide” and songs like it have been so poorly received from many quarters of rap’s massive, diverse fanbase.
The reason the “nobody raps anymore” raps bother people is that it’s obvious that there are actually plenty of rappers who rap very well and that the approach is still very commercially viable. Just within the last two months, J. Cole released “Middle Child,” and YBN Cordae, a dozen years his junior, spazzed out lyrically on “Have Mercy.” The complex, multi-layered, wordplay-riddled bars that Eminem’s fans claim are in short supply in rap are everywhere and you don’t even have to look for them.
Those fans — and Eminem and Logic — tend to focus on a few singles or even lines within those singles that magnify material wealth or sexual fantasies, without ever expanding on why those types of songs appeal to listeners, or why those items might be significant to underprivileged rappers who come from impoverished upbringings to eventually earn the ability to acquire those symbols of wealth.