Hard Jams: Eminem – Bad Influence

(Part of TGRIOnline.com’s on-going focus on “hard jams.”)

After listening to the Dead Wrong remix, I was reminded of a track that was the hardest jam I had ever heard at the impressionable age of 15. Hidden amid the nu-metal of the End of Days soundtrack was Eminem’s non-album cut “Bad Influence,” a companion piece to The Slim Shady EP‘s “Role Model” (which is namedropped in the song).

Resigned to his role as musical bad boy, Em relishes his media image and hits his usual talking points. He attacks his peers (Brandy, Ma$e, Lauryn Hill), and promotes violent misogyny (“Looking for hookers to punch in the mouth with a roll of quarters”), drug abuse, and suicide. The song is a sarcastic nod to the PMRC-crowd. Fuck a subliminal message, Em puts his suicide solution right there in the chorus.

The first two verses are pretty pedestrian for Em, but the third kicks off with the sickest 12 seconds that he’s ever laid down, both in terms of lyrics and flow:

My laser disc will make you take a razor to your wrist
Make you Satanistic, make you take the pistol to your face
and place the clip and cock it back
and let it go until your brains are rippin’ out
your skull so bad to sew you back would be a waste of stitches.

I vividly recall replaying that rhyme over and over again. Even at 15, we got the joke. Clearly, Em didn’t have the power to make us end it all. But he had the power to point to the idiocy of authority figures and shine a light on their ignorance, which is actually empowering to most teenagers. Once again, Emimen got the last laugh. And that’s hard.

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