Did Eminem Really Have The Best Verse On “Forever”?

Did Eminem Really Have The Best Verse On “Forever”?

8 years ago, one of hip hop?s most treasured and debated posse cuts was released without any warning. It featured a line up that one could defend with honour and ammunition as their Hip Hop Mt. Rushmore. ?Forever?. Man, was it fire. The song also happens to be one of the most recent memories, bar a few very high points on ?Kamikaze?, that I have of actually enjoying an Eminem verse. But was the Em verse really all that?

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As I?ve grown older, Eminem?s rebellious approach to rap has failed to age gracefully. As I listen to his tracks now with a deeper understanding and appreciation for the ever evolving genre, the rapper?s lyrics and style have begun to look funnier under the microscope. The homophobia in his lyrics is lame. The refusal to acknowledge that the youth, the very platform that he spring-boarded off of in his early days, are the backbone of rap and that they?ve taken the genre to a place that allows for more creative things to be done with sounds, melodies and the overall consumer experience, is also trs lame. This, and more that I won?t get into to avoid triggering his mountain dew guzzling, cargo short wearing, ?real rap is dead? fan base, is all to say that I was questioning the extent of heat that Eminem brought on ?Forever?. It was almost an automatic answer to say his verse was the hardest. Eminem had a godlike status in my head where rap was concerned and any doubt placed upon his superiority was sacrilegious. But as I mentioned earlier, I grew up, and that ?Forever? verse? Let?s talk about it.

For analysis of this song, I?ve decided to employ the irrefutable 5 point analysis for a rap song/verse that I formulated back in 2015. Flow, wordplay, voice and delivery, rhyme and subject matter will be rated out of two to give a final score of 10 on the verse. Highest score wins. Verses will be analysed in order of appearance. It?s advised to follow the analysis whilst having the lyric page open via this link or listening along.

Verse 1: Drizzy Drake Rodgers

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?Last name ever, first name greatest.? If you don?t know how to finish that couplet? Fam. Drake?s intro bars were magnificent. It?s a fitting introduction to the superstar studded track and most importantly, to young Drake?s verse. The imagery which he creates with the sprained ankle/nothing to play with bar is so vivid and appropriate for the song, which is on the soundtrack to LeBron James?s ?More Than a Game? documentary. Drake follows the immaculate intro bars with some top notch braggadocio as he not only informs that he flies private, G4 gulf streams to be exact, but flies frequently. He flies private so frequently he walks on to the plane and says ?Hey Steve! How are you doing today *wealthy people laugh*? to the pilot. Drake switches to his punchline flow, used to build us up to Drake letting us know that he if he was in the club, he probably balled, chemo. Delivered in any other way except by Drake and in this exact way, the line would be corny. But it?s Drizzy Drake. It worked. The verse continues, heavy on the flexxing, about his ?So Far Gone? mixtape sounding like an album and it culminating in a country wide tour. Then, embedded within the 3rd line of this quartet, Drake drops a super ill bar. ?Labels want my name beside the X like Malcom?. The wordplay on signing contracts and the juxtaposition of Malcom X?s name is brilliant here, but what takes the line to an even more dizzying level of skill is how Drake finished off the point in the next two lines. He did what many could not without a record deal and he is, among-st many things he?s mention in this verse already, about his business. Drake finishes his verse on a strong note. He makes us aware that being part of the journey that?s got him on a song with 3 arguable GOATs has been one worth envying, and that everyone who doubted him should not dwell on the fruits of their haterade but should rejoice because at least they got to witness him do it. He calls them bitches afterwards. A fitting end.

Flow ? 1.5/2

Subject Matter ? 1.5/2

Wordplay ? 1.5/2

Rhyme ? 1.5/2

Voice and Delivery ? 1.5/2

Total ? 7.5/10

Verse 2: Yeezy

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People need to put a gallon of premium respeck on Ye?s verse. Most people seem to skim over it like bro wasn?t spitting spitting. The nostalgia evoked from Ye interpolating his ?ever ever? lyrics from his dazzling ?Diamonds from Sierra Leone? song is a beautiful way to get intro?d to a Ye verse and being put on alert for ?who?s about to kill it?. His graphic follow up metaphor about having hood dreams, making love to life until those dreams came true? Very clever. Ye then, also cleverly, makes use of the song?s muse, LeBron, to insert his basketball reference that also amalgamates his use of the seasons of the year to deliver a beautiful metaphor that speaks to the effects of hard work and how it allows you to make it rain. The verse is then momentarily filled with transitory bars, including a rape bar that?s very distasteful, that lead up to the clever old money Benjamin Button line. He references dementia in a pretty slick way as he asks himself ?what? and answers ?nothiiinnng? because as we all know Ye is new money. New benjamins. ?Super bad chicks giving me Mclovin? is hard, but feels misplaced because of the follow up line. I get what he?s trying to do with the Obama reference but it falls flat. The verse picks up again when Ye mimics his detractors when he nasally raps ?you?re such a f*cking loser, y?aint e?en go to class, Bueller.? I imagine in this context, going to class speaks to the push back Kanye got from the rap gatekeepers who told him not to rap because he hadn?t ?lived that life?. Ye following it up with the Grammy flexes for that very same thing they told him not to do? Haaard! But also, bringing it back to him wishing for his granny back is sobering. It sets us up well for Kanye?s conclusion of the verse. He prayed for the fame and the fortune and now that it?s here, with all the baggage it came with, he wants to give it back. Forever?s too much.

Flow ? 1/2

Subject Matter ? 2/2

Wordplay ? 1.5/2

Rhyme ? 1.5/2

Voice and Delivery ? 1/2

Total ? 7/10

Verse 3: Weezy F Baby

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The first line of this verse lets us know early on that what we?re about to experience is otherworldly. The subtle piano keys fingered at the beginning and later on in the verse suggest this otherworldly phenomenon is magical in nature. Lil Wayne suggests it?s extraterrestrial. I say it?s both. The Space Jam Jordans bar is fantastic and continues the alien concept well. Lil Wayne gives us some vegetation bars that include him exclaiming that he?s fresher than the harvest. The whole harvest. Fam. That?s a ass fresh dude. In addition to being dumbfoundingly fresh, he also reps New Orleans hard and tells us he?ll never stop like he?s running from the cops. Wooo! Lil Wayne then goes into where he?s headed in the rap game, to the top, and/or speaking to his thrill seeking nature. ?Life is a roller coaster then it drops? is true and him not screaming because this is his theme park is such a meta, mind bending, godlike flex. Lil Wayne then goes into some filler bars on his shining mind and talking pistol that don?t do much for the song or verse but lead us in to him referencing LeBron and himself by asking people to check the price so as to pay attention to the king. ?I?m like Nevada in the middle of the summer?. That?s super hot fire. ?I?m restin? in the lead, I need a pillow and a cover?. Fam, he?s really way ahead of everyone, probably because his ?foot?s sleepin? on the gas?, he has ?no brake pads?and doesn?t believe in the concept of being in last place. Wow.

Flow ? 2/2

Subject Matter ? 2/2

Wordplay ? 2/2

Rhyme ? 1.5/2

Voice and Delivery ? 2/2

Total ? 9.5/10

Verse 4: Slim Shady

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Now, the for the subject of this article. The verse in question. At the beginning of this verse, the beat switches up to take a more menacing tone that?s suited to Eminem?s aggressive style of rapping. The subtle stadium filling flex in the first line almost goes over one?s head. It?s dope. The crowd going nuts ? macadamia? I?m not ok with that line. The flow though? In these first 7 bars? Super dope. But things go off-road a little flow wise and content wise when he states that ?they?ve been waiting patiently for Pinocchio to poke his nose.? I?ve read the Genius annotation for this one, and it still doesn?t make sense. The following 4 bars, that are delivered as 8 because of Eminem?s speed of delivery are an excellent show of his understanding of multi-syllabic rhyming but flow wise, it falls short. He?s noticeably offbeat and though it often works for him, it doesn?t here. But almost as if he?s aware he?s slacking flow wise, he goes ham in the follow up lines as he raps,

?You dealin? with a few true villains/Who stand inside of a booth, truth-spillin?/And spit true feelings until our tooth-fillings/Come flyin? up outta of our mouths ? now, rewind it/.?

That?s a great amount of truth there Mr Mathers. Jesus. Em then goes into some filler bars about payback and slapping the taste out of someone?s mouth with?base that shakes the place? That?s weird. But in a similar pattern as with his flow earlier on in the verse, where he seems to slack then come back swinging for the fences, Em uses the pop culture icon Hannibal Lecter to paint of picture of himself as the cannibalistic, bulldozing hip hop beast that he is. Hard!

Flow ? 1/2

Subject Matter ? 1.5/2

Wordplay ? 1.5/2

Rhyme ? 2/2

Voice and Delivery ? 2/2

Total ? 8/10

The Verdict: 1. Weezy 2. Em 3. Drake 4. Ye

Listening back to the Em verse was an enjoyable experience. It brought me back to a song structure that?s not so common these days in the Trap?n?B/Soundcloud dominated era and also back to an Eminem that was rapping with his chest and not using the prevailing political climate in the US to communicate half baked political messages or rapping about making it with a pop driven chorus 13000 times. Though not a whack verse at all, Em?s verse wasn?t the best on ?Forever?. Wheezy?s was. It?s also worth mentioning that all verses on this were awesome and the song is frinkin? dope.

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