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Surprise: Eminem’s fake drug website is so corny it’s charming

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Slim Shady is almost quaint now

2014 Lollapalooza - Day 1 Photo by Theo Wargo / Getty Images

Eminem is back in the news in October 2017! It’s been a minute, as evidenced by the fact that the most recent Getty Image search results for our dude are from the 2015 premiere of the Jake Gyllenhaal film Southpaw.

Now, we’re talking about him again because he rapped about Donald Trump at the BET Awards and became a meme for a second. Also, The Fader reported yesterday, his manager Paul Rosenberg posted a photo of a prescription drug billboard to Instagram. The drug — Revival — is fake; it’s an ad for Eminem’s next album. This was uncovered in the Eminem subreddit by fans who figured out that Interscope Records had paid for the billboard through November 21st, which is possibly the unconfirmed album’s release date.

'Southpaw' New York Premiere -  Inside Arrivals Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

Both of these incidents have been difficult to experience, given how deeply embarrassing they are. For example, the freestyle about Trump includes lyrics like “That's an awfully hot coffee pot / Should I drop it on Donald Trump? Probably not” and “He’s orange / Yeah, sick tan.” The fictional drug Revival supposedly treats a fictional illness called “Atrox Rithimus,” which several music blogs have somehow managed to translate as “bitter rhythm” in Latin. I was not able to duplicate this result.

According to Google, the Latin word for rhythm is “modum” and “rhythmus” is an Greek word that means “rhyme” or “countable,” but “rithimus” is not a combination of letters that has ever meant anything. “Atrox” had a ridiculous number of suggested translations, including “terrace” (?) and adjectives like “fierce,” “terrible,” “savage,” “cruel,” “atrocious,” “grievous,” “relentless,” “unrelenting,” “gross,” and “horrific.”

The website that corresponds to the fake drug billboard is a single page covered in bad Latin and jokes about bodily discomfort, including:

  • A short list of pre-existing conditions that are incompatible with the fake drug Revival includes allergies to “midwestern tympanic stimulators,” and uh, pregnancy?
  • A list of side effects that the fake drug Revival will not cause includes “gluten sensitivity,” “general feeling of head trauma,” and “softening of fingernails.”
  • A list of side effects that the fake drug Revival might cause includes “blood in phlegm,” “urinating more often than normal,” and “highly combustible head.”
  • “REVIVAL could be music to your ears.”

Oh, buddy.

We can set aside, for a moment, though not forever, the fact that Selena Gomez’s best album to date is already called Revival and was released a mere two years ago. In her case, the title was a reference to recovering from a life-threatening illness. I’m not sure what Eminem is recovering from, exactly, other than perhaps a very long nap that caused him to not notice that Donald Trump was a serious problem until October 2017.

Personally, I will never set aside the fact that Lana Del Rey cited Eminem as an influence in 2014, and he responded by rapping that he would like to punch her twice in the face. So, I won’t be listening to this album! Sorry, my dude.

This stunt is also barely differentiable from Eminem’s 2009 Relapse promotion, which involved sending out candy pills and launching a website for a fake rehab center called Popsomp Hills (a gag that felt a little corny, even at the time).

It’s 2017, and a website isn’t impressive — particularly one that makes its aim so obvious, and requires barely any digital sleuthing. Today’s superstars have to get a lot more creative to cause a stir around new work: Rihanna launched a bizarre haunted house app; Beyoncé looped in HBO and pump-faked a billion-dollar divorce; Taylor Swift has been dropping cyphers in Instagram Live comments; Young Thug pretended to be dead one time. Eminem just hired an intern familiar with WordPress.

Although he’s always been prone to blunt, low-effort gags, this is so stupid and dated that it wraps around back to charming. It’s quaint, how much confidence Eminem has that this is a good and impressive joke, and corny can be fun, once in a while. From a certain vantage point, it almost looks like a fantastic idea — as in, “doesn’t make me blind with rage, and is just harmlessly stupid” — when compared to Arcade Fire’s noxious fake music blog stunt or Yacht’s very odd fake sex tape.

Good for Eminem for figuring out how to work the word “diarrhea” into his promotional materials. I don’t know that I was exactly wondering whether an angsty Midwestern kid could hit 40 and still love poop jokes, but I’m glad the answer is yes. There really isn’t enough toilet humor in modern music PR.