Julio's Corner

Eminem's Houdini is Pure Nostalgia

June 03, 2024 Julio Episode 1
Eminem's Houdini is Pure Nostalgia
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Julio's Corner
Eminem's Houdini is Pure Nostalgia
Jun 03, 2024 Episode 1

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My thoughts on Eminem’s new single Houdini from his upcoming album, Death of Slim Shady 

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My thoughts on Eminem’s new single Houdini from his upcoming album, Death of Slim Shady 

Creative Commons License:
This show is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

This means you can share this audio, remix it, do whatever you want, just say where you got it from.

Support the Show.

And this is Julio's Corner, my corner of the internet where I talk to the ether about whatever is on my mind.

Usually I'll talk about K-dramas or whatever new content has taken my interest.

This episode will be about the new Eminem single, Houdini.

And this episode is being recorded on Sunday, June 2nd, 2024.

And this is the first episode of Julio's Corner.

And it is...

I don't even know how many revamps I have gone through with this show.

It's been a long time coming.

I was actually trying to get back into podcasting a year ago.

And it hasn't happened.

And as I mentioned in the intro, normally, I'll be doing shows, talking about movies and TV shows and things like that.

But this episode is definitely the exception, because on Friday, a couple of days ago, Eminem's new single, Houdini, came out.

He has a new album coming out this summer called The Death of Slim Shady.

And I am a stan.

I've been a stan of Eminem ever, even before the song Stan came out in his second album, which I believe is the Marshall Mathers LP.

The first one was The Slim Shady LP.

And then you have the Eminem show.

That's the peak Eminem listening years of my youth.

So yes, I'm 47, so I've been around for a while.

He's in his 50s now.

So yeah, I pretty much grew up with him.

And I am so happy about this song.

And I want to talk about it.

And this song actually got me motivated to get back into podcasting.

So here we are.

I'm not even sure if I'm going to put the video version of this on the internet.

I definitely will put the audio because it's a podcast mainly.

And I'm not going to be doing any reactions.

So there's not going to be much to see video wise.

It's just me in front of a camera on the mic talking.

Maybe I'll put an image of the Eminem single cover or whatever to add some variety in your visual entertainment needs or whatever.

But anyways, this song, Houdini.

Like I said, I'm not going to talk about, I'm not going to really get into the lyrics, the bars, or break down the rap lyrics of it because I am not a, I'm not a, what would people call themselves?

I'm not a lyricist, number one, definitely not.

I don't rap.

And I'm not a lyricist expert.

I am a fan of hip hop and rap music, lyrical rap music.

And so that's why Eminem is, that's why I'm a big Eminem stan.

He's one of the best lyricists out there.

But yeah, if you want breakdowns on the lyrics, the cadences, the flows, all that stuff, you want to go to Knox Hill.

He's one of the best lyric breakdown reaction videos out there on YouTube.

So you can check out Knox Hill for breaking down bars and the historical context or just the context of the bars and the information that's being spewed on the track.

Now, what I want to focus on is other elements.

In this case, let's first start with the nostalgia factor.

So Houdini, the song, is definitely a callback to a 2002 single, Call Without Me, from the Slim Shady album, the third album of Eminem's discography.

And just, there's a lot of callback elements to it.

So it's more, I would say, like a sequel than a callback video and song.

But even the chorus, Guess Who's Back, Back Again, that's all straight out of Without Me.

The beat is from Without Me.

Even the melody is sort of like the melody from Without Me.

There are some parts of Without Me, sound elements that are sprinkled in there, especially the part where he's doing the dance and he's going, oh yeah, speaking of which, if you haven't seen the videos, spoiler alert, I'm going to be talking about the video and I will be spoiling elements of the video.

So, when he gets to the part where it is a straight copy from the Without Me video, where he's singing Guess Who's Back, Guess Who's Back, Guess Who's Back, and you have like the comic book elements, the comic strips showing up with all the different characters, you have a re-emergence of the Pope and the Rabbi, which were in the Without Me video.

Not the same people playing them, obviously.

Paul Rosenberg is the one playing the Rabbi.

I'm not sure who the Pope is, but he sort of looks like Joe Biden, so people keep saying, so that might be just an AI image, because they do use AI for the young Eminem, the Slim Shady version of Eminem in the video.

Speaking of callbacks, in the very beginning of the song, you have a Paul Rosenberg intro.

And if you're a fan of Eminem, and you listen to all his tracks, you know in a lot of his albums, if not most of his albums, the first single, you'll have Paul Rosenberg in the intro, talking about what he's concerned about, or what he's disappointed about, or what he's disgusted about, regarding this whole album that he's talking about.

And this is supposed to be the Death of Slim Shady, so a lot of people believe this might be his last album, or at least his last album as the Slim Shady persona.

So this intro with Paul Rosenberg is sort of like a bookend, because he's basically now just cleaning his hands completely.

He's not even going to talk about his concerns or whatever.

He's just like, you're on your own.

And so that right there is a nice nod to this might be the end.

Now, so now in the video you have, I mentioned Without Me is from 2002.

Well, in the video, you have Slim Shady from 2002 going through a portal to come into present day America, which is nice.

It's just adding to the nostalgia factor.

And of course, you also have his voice digitized to sound like his voice from the early 2000s.

So he has that younger, higher pitch, nasally cadence and voice for his Slim Shady persona in the video.

Though the song is just his normal voice nowadays, except for one ad-lib or a few ad-libs, I should say, where it's Slim Shady responding to what's being said in the song.

The cadence and staccato of the rhyme schemes in the...

and this is as much as I'll get into the lyrics about it.

I'm not really going into the lyrics, but the style of it is very reminiscent of Slim Shady's style of rhyming.

Of rapping.

So that adds to the nostalgia factor.

And then of course, as I mentioned in the video, so you have the beginning comic strips where, you know, guess who's back, guess who's back.

And then he has him having a dance-off with Slim Shady, Eminem and Slim Shady, and they have that...

That sound is again another callback, up to the point where they have that...

That dun, dun, dun, dun.

And then he gets into the rap.

But also you have...

What other part of the...

So yeah, so then you have Eminem...

I mean, even the video is like I was mentioning, besides the comic strip, you have him getting up from the bed, being woken up by Dr.

Dre, telling him what the issue is.

And Without Me, it was about a boy buying his CD, the Eminem show CD.

In this video, it's about Eminem just came in through the portal.

So now we need to do something about it.

So, and of course, in the Without Me video, it was two porn stars in the bed with him, that they show up after he finishes the call with Dr.


In this video, it's two overgrown, over bigger women.

They're not porn stars, at least not that they're, they're unknowns as far as I'm aware of.

I've never seen them before.

Whereas in the Without Me video, it was two well-known porn stars.

It was Jenna Jamieson and I forget the name of the other woman, Keani or Kiana or something like that.

In this one, it was two other women, much bigger size.

And he puts on the Rap Boy outfit, like which is the Robin outfit, but he calls himself Rap Boy when he's in Robin outfit in Without Me.

And he was all spry and, you know, youthful.

In this one, when he tries to do the same move, to jump off the bed, he falls on his face.

Cause you know, it's showing, you know, he's older.

So even though it's also, it's a callback, it's more of a sequel because yeah, he's, it's been 20 years, 22 years.

He's not the, he's not the same guy.

He's 22 years older.

And then he's in the car with Dr.


And in the first one, they had a, a small tiff.

And without me, in this one, they're, they're having a, they're slapboxing.

So it goes on a little longer.

While he's getting, while he's slapboxing and Dre is being the crap out of him, he starts doing the, the Pee Wee Herman laugh, which is very much from the, a callback to the, another single, Lose It by Eminem, by Slim Shady persona from early 2000s.

I think that's from the Encore album, which came after the Slim Shady show, but it's still within the same timeframe, just a little more recent.

But anyway, he, that's a call, that laugh is a callback.

And then the last callback from, that I caught from Without Me with this one, as I mentioned, in Without Me, he's trying to stop a kid from buying his CD.

And then, so the video ends with him using like the force to pull the CD from his hand, from the kid's hand.

And then he, you know, he does the no wave.

And then, you know, he points out the parent advisory label and in this video, he does the force to pull the microphone away from Slim Shady, who's about to connect to this tower to spread his word throughout the world and ruin everything, as that's what the caption said.

So he got the mic, he does the no.

But unlike Without Me, that's not the end.

Now, because Eminem is, Slim Shady is not going to have it.

He's going to be the fine.

And so now they have a showdown.

And then so now this is where it becomes more of a sequel than a callback, because it's following past that.

And instead of Rap Boy saving the day, Rap Boy and or Eminem and Slim Shady knock each other out and merge.

They couldn't, one wasn't better than the other.

They just defeated each other and they had a stalemate essentially, but they merged into one being.

So now he's, you know, some people are calling him Sliminem, because he's Slim Shady, but Eminem, so Sliminem or Slim Mathers.

So, you know, he's a kind of, he's a hybrid of the Slim Shady attitude, but the Eminem rhyming ability.

And so that's how the song ends as well.

The video ends with them merging and just finishing off the song.

Now, another, the last thing in terms of the nostalgia factor of this song, I mean, because all of that is very nostalgic of four Eminem fans, stans who, you know, been following Eminem since the Slim Shady LP.

But then you have The Hook, Abracadabra, which is a sample from an 80s song by the Steve Miller band.

So if you're a fan of the 80s, which I grew up, again, I'm 47 years old, so I was an 80s kid.

And so was Eminem, of course, because he's older than me.

So naturally, I think he's four years older than me.

So naturally, he grew up on 80s music as well.

I mean, he grew up in the beginning of hip hop too.

That's why he's a big Eminem.

You know, LL Cool J and Kumo D.

And he knows all the old school rappers that he made shout outs to when he was inducted to the Hall of Fame.

So anyway, he knows 80s music, so he sampled Abracadabra, which works because that's a line that magicians used to say when they do a magic trick, Abracadabra.

And the title of the song is Houdini, who was a very famous illusionist slash magician of like the early 1920s or 19th century, maybe before the 1920s, maybe 1800s or something.

And apparently, I heard he died in Detroit, so that's news to me.

I heard that somewhere.

But anyway, Abracadabra, Houdini and goes together, but also the song is from the 80s.

So that's another nostalgia hit, because whenever there's a song with a sample from an 80s song, it appeals to us, people who grew up on the 80s.

So yeah, all of that combines for a nice big smorgasbord of nostalgia.

So yeah, that's really...

Those are the things I want to hit on regarding the nostalgia factor of the Houdini single by Eminem, which makes it so catchy and just puts a smile on your face.

I myself have been...

I found out about it on...

Was it Friday?

It was either Friday at midnight or Saturday at...

No, no, it had to have been Friday at midnight, because then I've been watching reaction videos on and on.

I saw like, I don't know how many reaction videos, but I've been playing the song on loop.

So yeah, I heard it Friday, yeah, midnight, Friday morning, and then Friday morning all throughout the morning.

And then at night, Friday night, I was watching reaction videos and stuff.

So, okay, some other thoughts I have regarding the song.

So now there's a Megan Stallion, Megan Thee Stallion line.

And this is as far as I'll get regarding bars.

There's a lot of controversy.

People are thinking it's misogynistic and it's a dig at Megan Thee Stallion and things like that.

But if you actually read the lyrics or hear it carefully, it's not a dig at all.

It's just if you know the Slim Shady character, he says a lot of silly nonsense things to come off controversial.

But if you really put it at face value, it's not controversial at all.

I mean, he will also say controversial things.

But he's not really...

But it's all tongue in cheek, and it's not to be taken seriously.

He's not going to really throw a participation trophy at an eight-year-old's head.

I mean, he's not going to do that, because obviously he knows that's illegal.

And he's just making a point that he...

He's making a point of how he's against participation trophies.

But the line is basically...

Do you think Megan Thee Stallion would have a collaboration with him?

If he would ask Megan Thee Stallion to do a collaboration, would he have a shot at a feature?

But he shortens the word feature to feat.

And of course, there's...

It's known or it's alleged that Megan Thee Stallion got shot in her foot by an ex-boyfriend or something.

Something changed.

I forget the guy's name.

I don't follow a rap like that, the modern stuff anyway.

So yeah, because shot at a feat kind of alludes to that, it's like it's a double-atandra.

He's asking, will he have a chance at a feature?

But at the same time, because he used the word shot, like I have a shot at something, but I shot at a feat, the wordplay, the homonym feat to someone's human foot or human feat of being shot at.

People are taking it in the wrong context, but it's just him being silly and clever with wordplay.

All he's saying is, does he have a chance to do a collaboration with Megan Thee Stallion?

That's all he's saying.

But because he worded it shot at a feat, some people are saying that he's just being misogynistic or he's being abusive to Megan Thee Stallion.

And he's just, you know, she's just catching a stray for no reason.

However, if you listened to, and I don't think Eminem took it personally or anything like that, but if you really want to get technical about it, like who started what, not that this is, again, this is not really a jab at Megan Thee Stallion.

But if you want to take it that way, saying that this was unprovoked, you do have Megan Thee Stallion's recent song that went against Nicki Minaj.

And in her song, she made a line about Mariah Carey, you know, like she's Mariah Carey with her, but she referenced a Mariah Carey song.

I think it's her name of the song is Obsession or Obsessed, which is Mariah Carey's song about Eminem.

So technically, Megan Thee Stallion took a jab at Eminem first with her song that was aiming at Nicki Minaj, and Eminem caught a stray in that song because she referenced a song that Mariah Carey made about Eminem claiming that he was obsessed with her.

And then, of course, Eminem then made his own, because he had beef with Mariah Carey, and then he had a song where he actually had voice recordings that basically disputed everything that Mariah Carey was stipulating.

So anyway, regardless, it wasn't really anything serious.

It was just clever wordplay.

But if you want to take it as such, it was provoked.

It was not an unprovoked jab.

It was like, okay, you went at me first, so here's my little light jab at you, because you did a light jab at me.

You did a light jab at me with the Mariah Carey reference.

I do a light jab at you with the You Got Shot In Your Foot reference.

That's all it is.

And let's see.

I have my notes here.

Okay, so the only other thing that I might be concerned with, because one of the great things about Eminem's music, especially the Slim Shady stuff, where he acts controversial, but he's also being playful about it, is that he's all about...

I mean, he's fighting for his freedom of speech, and he's pushing the envelope like an artist should do.

Mostly stand-up comics are known for doing that, but him as a rapper slash comedy rapper, when he's doing the Slim Shady persona, and he's being funny and silly and a little edgy, he's also pushing the envelope to make his point about freedom of speech.

And of course, he made some references that might be also considered homophobic or transphobic and things of that nature, but he wasn't really doing that.

The one line where he says, what would the old me say about today?

He would probably say, today is gay.

Slim Shady edited a digitized voice saying, as in happy.

Because back then, he was in 2002, he was considered homophobic and misogynistic and things like that with those early albums.

And then of course he had a duet with Elton John to show that no, he's not homophobic.

And there's more to what's being said than how it's being portrayed in the media.

But anyway, he has that line.

And then of course he has a bunch of trans references where he's being silly, saying that he has a Siamese cat that identifies as black but acts Chinese.

And if you look at a Siamese cat, they have a black face.

So you could also say, well, maybe the cat is doing black face, as in the thing that is frowned upon that was done back in the old vaudeville days of...

What was it called?

Vaudeville days, yeah.

And there was another word that I'm thinking of that I can't remember.

But yeah, there was a lot of black face done back in the day to portray black people in a negative light.

So yeah, so there's a couple of connotations that could be there, but he's just being silly.

How would a Siamese cat be considered...

Because when people talk about trans, you're talking about your sexual identity.

You're biologically male or female, but you identify as the other sex that you're not born as.

But he's just being silly saying that his cat identifies as...

My Siamese cat specifically identifies as black because they have a black face, but they act Chinese.

But it's because it's a Siamese cat.

It is a Chinese cat.

I mean, that's where Siamese cats come from.

It's in the name.

It's a Chinese breed of cat.

But people might take offense to that because he is saying something trans.

And then, of course, he calls Paul Rosenberg, because remember, in the beginning of the song, Paul Rosenberg is basically washing his hands of some shit.

He's like, I'm done with you.

You're on your own.

So he calls him a cross dresser.

As a, you know, just being derogatory.

He's calling him a cross dresser, and then he adds to it saying, you know, you fake ass bitch, because cross dressers are not trans people.

They are generally gay people, gay guys who dress like women.

So calling him a cross dresser and then a fake ass bitch, but using, I know bitch is also a negative connotation to females.

And then he keeps adding to that by saying, you have balls as big as RuPaul, who's also a drag queen or slash a cross dresser, a gay man who also cross dresses RuPaul.

So there's these references.

So my concern is that right wingers who are homophobic, transphobic, and are constantly screaming about woke culture, anti-woke culture.

They're trying to be anti-woke because they're sick of woke culture, and they don't want to be canceled.

Yet they're the ones who are writing the laws that are canceling people.

Like they're trying to prevent women from abortions.

They are banning books in the school system.

They claim to be about freedom of speech, but then they're banning certain types of speech.

It's basically what they want to say to be free, not anyone else's.

Their opinion matters, no one else's.

So I'm afraid...

And Eminem has this constant battle where, because of some of the things he says, he gets co-opted by right-wing leaning people and viewpoints.

And then he has to counter that with songs like Mosh, with that cipher he did on BET a couple years back, where he was saying, I don't support Trump, I'm not a Trump supporter.

In Mosh, he was talking about, you know, fuck you, George Bush.

And then, you know, many years later, well, a couple years ago, it was about, yeah, if you're a Trump supporter, don't be my fan if you're a Trump supporter.

So he's not about that.

And also, one of his adopted daughters is trans, is a trans woman.

So, you know, he has his biological daughter, another adopted daughter, and then the third one is a trans daughter.

Okay, quick editor's note.

The thing about one of Eminem's children being trans, I am incorrect.

The child is not trans, but non-binary and gender fluid.

So, you know, just a quick correction.

I'm wrong about the trans thing, but the child is non-binary and gender fluid.

So, the sentiment of my point still stands, even though some of the technicalities were off.

And my point was that Eminem is not against the LGBTQ community.

He's just being silly and edgy, and so therefore controversial with his wordplay.

All right, back to the show.

So, yeah, he's not homophobic or transphobic, but yes, he made these lines.

Because I think he's just, more than anything, he's pointing out to how these are like hot topics in the media and whatnot.

And he's just like, we shouldn't be walking on eggshells, is essentially what Slim Shady is all about.

Slim Shady is all about being free to talk how you want to talk and without fear of repercussions.

And I mean, he's not, if anyone's not going to get canceled, it's definitely Slim Shady because he's going to be, his songs are going to be making millions, selling millions and making millions.

And he's going to keep doing whatever he's going to do.

So, yeah, that's pretty much what I have to say about the Houdini single of Slim Shady of Eminem.

I'm so happy that this song came out.

I've been listening to it on loop for a couple of days now.

It inspired me to get back into podcasting because I kept holding it, pushing, you know, holding back on it because I'm a perfectionist and I wanted to make everything perfect.

But like he says in the song, you know, fuck that.

I'll say whatever I think, I'm just going to say it.

So like that.

I mean, I still am going to take down some notes.

I have some sense of direction and not just do a complete stream of conscious podcast.

But yeah, I'm not going to be so neurotic about the details.

I'll just record it and hopefully the video came out OK.

If I even put on the video, I might just do just the audio.

Maybe I'll do a slideshow for the YouTube listeners.

But yeah, that's pretty much all I have for that.

I'm glad he's back.

I'm looking forward to the new album, the Death of Slim Shady.

So let's finish this up here.

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