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November 08, 2002 - Image 3

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2002-11-08

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November ,2 2

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'8 Mile' CD
from wrong
side of road
By Joseph Litman
Daily Arts Writer

'Spy' reveals Hanssen

By Jaya Soni
Daily Arts Writer
As a devout Catholic, a father of six
and a fourth floor FBI analyst, Robert
Hanssen seemed to have an abnormal-
ly "normal" life. However, hidden
beneath the morality and standards of
a well-organized; well-trained FBI
agent, Hanssen craved power. A desire
that neither his wife Bonnie nor the
FBI could afford.
In May of 2002, Hanssen received a
life sentence for arguably the most
extensive spy endeavors in United
States history. Between 1979 and

Snap back to reality,
Oh, there goes quality
Oh, what a malady.
Consistency matters. See
It isn't that easy,
your crew can't do so badly,
Em, this album is me-
And anything else is just fidlacy.
Eminem's recording career has been such an
unequivocal success that he seemed prepared to
become the rap game's King Mathers, turning all
projects into platinum with his unique, better-
than-Midas touch. Marshall has also established
himself as a producer and label executive, guiding
the success of his group, D12, and his label,
Shady Records. The soundtrack to 8 Mile, com-
pletely mediocre and the epitome of inconsistent,
will not be a distinguishing accomplishment in
any of his endeavors.
The album's problems are those which afflict
most soundtracks: Too much filler and too little
effort. Songs from Boomkat, Young Zee, Obie
Trice and D12 will remind listeners why these
artists are not mentioned when discussing hip-
hop's finest. More unfortunate, though, is that see-
ing a roster of hip-hop's elite -- Nas, Jay-Z,
Rakim, Gang Starr and Eminem - music fans
will assume that the album is excellent since, when
considering the lineup, they will only imagine the
artists at their best; the fans will fantasize the way
which a fantasy basketball owner must when put-
ting Michael Jordan, Grant Hill, Anfernee Hard-
away, Karl Malone and David Robinson on his
team today. In theory, the product should be excel-
lent, yet in reality, the results are underwhelming.
On "U Wanna Be Me", Nas throws away even
more studio time dissing Jay-Z, saying "you gotta
call out my name to get some fans," and he
sounds bland, abstractly discussing the music

Courtesy of Universal

Slim Shady or Bunny Rabbit? You decide.

industry and the streets. Additionally, the song's
piano riff sounds like rejected music from the
Legend of Zelda. Jay-Z and his Roc-A-Fella dis-
ciple Freeway make a mediocre showing on "8
Miles and Running", balancing the good - Jay's
last verse appropriately relating his own struggles
to get put on - with the bad - a beat that is not
interesting enough for rap fans and not candy
enough for pop's minions. Hopefully, this lacking
performance owes to the gentlemen spending
most of their time finishing their respective,
pending solo releases.
In contrast to Nas' apathetic work (was Eminem
keeping him up ?) and Jay-Z's unremarkable track,
Rakim and Gang Starr give their followers some-
thing about which to be excited. After
his much-ballyhooed signing with
Aftermath Records, Rakim has done
little to satiate his fans' thirst for new
material - an appearance on Truth 8
Hurts' (!) "Addictive". Yet his contri- SOU
bution to 8 Mile, "R.A.K.I.M.," will
remind people why news of a new Un
album has elicited so much anticipa-
tion. Rakim's extended absence from music
saliency makes his song's subtle energy - provid-
ed by a bubbling synthesizer and crunching drums
- very exciting, the way that even a decent per-
formance can seem exemplary when demand for
something is so high. Those who revere his earlier
work will feel as though they are hearing a dear
friend's voice for the first time in years. A similar
assessment can be made of Gang Starr's "Battle."
MC Guru's distinctive, husky voice and DJ Pre-
mier's mixing of horn riffs and bass strings will
remind admirers that Gang Starr, indeed, "has got
to be the sure shot."
Yet the marquee attraction on 8 Mile is surely
Eminem given that the album accompanies his
debut as a feature-film actor. Accordingly, this
record vas a chance for Em and Shady Records'
stable of rappers to shine. Instead, their attempts
are dull, and at times it seems as though the only
thought put into the work was "people will like it
so long as it says Eminem." Marshall raps on five
tracks, three of them solo joints. "Lose Yourself,"
a ubiquitous presence in all of the film's promo-
tion, is a fine song. The sprinkled piano notes and
heavy bass line make the track slightly ominous
and lend it a certain urgency. This latter attribute


is then embellished by the song's beginning, a
sonic asyndeton barreling towards crescendo
without hesitation.
The subject matter in "Lose Yourself" is mostly
the same as the other Eminem tracks, "8 Mile" and
"Rabbit Run," all dealing with Mathers' impover-
ished upbringing and anguished attempts to gain
even a modicum of success. However, despite the
abundantly apparent emotion behind the words,
the subjects become tired, as do the monotonous
beats. After years of assassinating his mother's
character and talking about his squalid living con-
ditions, Eminem will need to find other topics to
explore on future works.
The tracks cogtributed by the rest of Shady
Records' artists don't even match the
decent-at-best level of Mathers' solo
work. Those who enjoy hackneyed,
grizzly accounts of poverty and vio-
[ILE lence will like D12's "Rap Game", a
TRACK slow song diminished by the vapid
lyrics. Offerings from Young Zee
'ersal and Obie Trice have beats that sound
like they may have been rejected by
Dr. Dre during the height of the mid-90s g-funk
era. Additionally, the songs have an anger behind
them which seems to be the motif that Shady
Records has sought to cultivate.
Providing further credence to this theory are the
gangsta tracks that feature 50 Cent, an emcee last
heard absolutely tearing apart someone..On "Love
Me," 50 lights up R. Kelly, Ashanti, and Lauryn
Hill (thank you). While his other offerings,
"Wanksta" and "Places to Go," are mostly unre-
markable, the latter does have brilliant assonance
in the first verse which provides it with a tight
continuity. The song also addresses the dichotomy
of hip-hop's listenership, saying "Introduce me in
the burbs, they gonna listen to my word / In the
hood they feel my shit."
The few good tracks and sporadic redeeming
qualities save 8 Mile from being a total abomina-
tion. What could have been an appropriate comple-
ment to the film instead becomes the entire
venture's ironic shortcoming: a hip-hop movie
starring rap's most successful emcee is missing a
quality rap soundtrack. Such albums rarely seem
to attract the undivided attention of artists and 8
Mile serves as the latest proof. Eminem had one
chance and he didn't take it.

1991, Hanssen exchanged
pages and 27 encrypted
discs of top-secret gov-
ernment information to
the KGB in return for
thousands of dollars.
"Master Spy: The
Robert Hanssen Story"
conveys the methodical
and multifaceted mind
of this cunning criminal.
Part one, "Occasion
of Sin," depicts the para-
doxical nature of Robert
(Bob) Hanssen (William H

17 at 9
Hurt, "Dark

over 6,000

4City"). In stark contrast to the stern
secular upbringing of a negative father
(Peter Boyle, "Everybody Loves Ray-
mond"), Bob marries Bonnie (Mary-
Louise Parker, "Fried Green
Tomatoes") and into a conservative yet
loving Catholic family. His simple and
straightforward perspectives appeal to
Bonnie's and her that he will eventual-
ly convert to Catholicism.
The young couple struggle finan-
cially and must rely on the support of
Howard Hanssen, Bob's father. How-
ever, Howard's frequent visits create
tension within the Hanssen household
as he consistently insults Bob and
flirts with Bonnie. After Howard gives
Bonnie an unrespectable gift, he and
his financial support are banished. In
1979, forced to pay a 10,000 dollar
debt alone, Bob contacts a high rank-
ing Soviet Intelligence officer sta-
tioned as a diplomat of the Russian
Embassy in Washington DC. Though
Hanssen swore on the behalf of his
family, priest and creator to end com-
munication with the KGB, a sense of
anonymous power enticed a sustained

Hanssen's 11-year espionage rela-
tionship with the KGB afforded him a
new house and the companionship of a
young stripper. Although Hanssen
condemns his co-workers for attend-
ing strip clubs, he frequently social-
izes with stripper Priscilla Galey. The
two share a non-sexual relationship in
which Hanssen buys Priscilla mistress
amenities: A new Mercedes and a
pearl necklace. During their trip to
Hong Kong, Hanssen almost breaks
his moral boundaries as he contem-
plates whether to save her soul or to
sleep with her. Priscilla appreciates
these gifts because working has never
been so easy and leaves
Hanssen for a pimp in
Columbus, Ohio.
Instead, Hanssen
restricts his kinkiness
R SPY: to the confines of his
OBERT marriage - although
4 STORY not within the confines
v. 10 and of his bedroom.
p.m. Throughout the two-
part miniseries Hanssen
S becomes increasingly
enthralled with erotic
forms of sexual behavior. Hanssen
questions family friend Jack
Hoschouer for third-person participa-
tion and encourages shim to watch
Bonnie take showers. In addition to
placing Bonnie's naked pictures on
his hard drive, Hanssen uses an FBI
spy-camera to secretly film their sex-
ual encounters - so that Jack may
watch in the guest bedroom nearby.
Who knew that the FBI provided
such interesting perks?
Part two, "Into the Mirror" forces
Hanssen to illogically reason his
obscure tendencies while maintaining
the image of a respectable citizen and
a pure Catholic. Hanssen's distinctive
character controls the storyline and
asks the audience to consider whether
he is truly a psychotic and/or a mas-
termind. He prides himself on the
morals and foundations of his reli-
gion; while exploiting the images of
his wife and the valuable information
of his country. In an attempt to be a
moral hero, Hanssen becomes a hyp-
ocrite. Nevertheless, the viewer is left
with a vague perception and asks,
"Who is Robert Hanssen?"


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