WRITING: MUSKAN THIND
This week in nostalgia history, we unpack the birth of a single by rapper icon, Eminem, and how it inspired generations of hip-hop listeners and artists to come. We also take a deep dive into the ways in which 13 Going on 30 explained that “adulting” isn’t always black and white. Without a further ado, will the real Slim Shady please stand up?
Last week: Drew Barrymore flashes Letterman
Eminem releases “The Real Slim Shady,” April 18, 2000
Eminem, a.k.a. Marshall Mathers released his legendary track and music video, “The Real Slim Shady” in April 2000, a month prior to his third studio album, The Marshall Mathers LP. The Detroit rapper recorded the album over a span of two months, and it became gained the title of fastest-selling-album in music history for 15 years (a record which was topped by Adele’s 2015 album, 25).
Composer and co-writer, Tommy Coster Jr., dished on the creation of the single on Unabashedly Reggie, explaining that record heads had requested a radio-friendly single be created within a day to add a light punch to an otherwise dark album. Coster Jr. created a beat that would become the melody for the entire song, and Mathers went off to write the lyrics to the iconic song.
Eminem became known for his provocative lyrics with the release of the album. According to Story of Song, “The Real Slim Shady” was meant to critique pop music at the time, insulting big names like Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and more. Aguilera came out with her own diss track called “The Real Slim Shady (Please Shut Up)”. Although it was meant to critique pop culture, it stirred up controversy and strong reactions from several women’s groups, MTV reported. He defended the intention behind his music saying, “There’s a deeper meaning behind everything I say, making fun of all the fucked-up shit in the world.” He described the “Slim Shady concept” as the “dark, evil, creatively sick part of me”.
Eminem embraced a more open position, exposing his dysfunctional upbringing, in a rap world fuelled by machismo. He proved that honesty and fear could be embraced without sacrificing success and opened the door for white rappers like Post Malone, Mac Miller and more.
13 Going on 30 is released, April 23, 2004
Jennifer Garner’s first lead role, 13 Going On 30, turned into a cult classic amongst rom-com lovers. The actress stars as a geeky Jenna Rink, who, while celebrating her 13th birthday in 1987, wishes to be “30, flirty and thriving” and wakes up in a Manhattan apartment all grown up, her wish having come true. Garner got into character by hanging out with adolescent girls between the ages of 12 and 13 according to the film’s production notes. Garner explained, saying, “Luckily, I have this really good friend, Madeline Sprung Keyser, who was 12 at the time and we’ve been friends for five or six years.” She continued, “Every now and then she will react to a situation like an adolescent and remind me that she’s everything at once — a grown-up child.”
Garner touched on her own perspective as to why she believes this movie held up so well over the years, on First We Feast saying, “I think there’s no bigger wish fulfillment than for a 13-year-old to be 30. Conversely, I don’t know any 30-year-old who wouldn’t like to dip back into her 13-year-old body and see what that’s like.”
The film isn’t necessarily about what is required when adulting, but rather “It’s about feeling like a grown up in a way that would make your younger self proud,” wrote Ishani Ruth in Flare. “The entire project was heavily fuelled by women,” said director Gary Winick of the three female producers at the helm of the project. “But thank goodness for that, because they were pretty focused on the dilemmas facing 13-year-old girls. Not only were my producers’ women but they also had 13-year-old daughters. It was perfect.”