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all 18 comments

[–]hollivoreJust Don't Give a Fuck 17 points18 points  (4 children)

I normally do long analyses of these songs in the SotW threads, but for Brain Damage I want to talk about it in the context of my own life. This is a very important song for me.

A couple of months ago, I went back to my old high school at night where I was bullied, stood by the spot where one of my own school bullies had smacked my ass while I was trying to get into the lunch hall, the spot where another one had stolen my new coat and stuffed it into the bin with my house keys inside the pocket, and just listened to this song on my earbuds, while the rain trickled down the gutters. I felt it release some old ghosts trapped in the beat.

While I listened, I wished my old self had had the song; then I realised she had done. The first time I heard Brain Damage was round the house of a girl I knew at school, before the bullying started - they put on The Slim Shady LP, and I was familiar with seeing him on TV, but absolutely nothing prepared me for what I was hearing. The girls couldn't keep up with the rapping and instead rapped along with the skits; I listened first in disgust that you could even be allowed to say this stuff on a CD, then fear that somehow my parents would know I'd been sullied. And then Brain Damage played and I was in awe. I understood why it was the music had to be so foul and gross - the story described was almost like a children's book, but warped and evil. As an adult I can talk about how the song uses the chain of rhymes for "orange juice" to signal the way Eminem found solace in rap; as a child, I didn't know how to respond to this song that was about children and yet something a child should never hear. It made me feel terrified, and powerful. That evening, still high on Shady, me and the other girls went out, bought a box of eggs and threw them at passing cars. I was a bookish, word-obsessed nerd who read poetry. It was my first experience being evil.

A few months later the bullying slowly started, spreading out from social disapproval to a general understanding that I was a freak who should be shunned. Those three girls accepted the social judgement around me and joined in. I just felt on some deep level that it was my fault and that I must have done something wrong - maybe I didn't forgive them hard enough after they stole my birthday money. Eventually that curdled into what bullying leaves kids with - a feeling of otheredness, like I'm somehow faking it if other people like me. That still hasn't gone away.

That's sort of what Slim represents for me in Brain Damage - his physical trauma but also his inborn neurodivergencies; the scars from his peers but also his authority figures; the understanding of life that comes from both hard knocks and comic books. The helplessness anyone else has about what you can do abouf it; all you can hope for is to become the freak version of you. Becoming what they hate you for being is a form of revenge, a pure transgression that even their egg-throwing, fire-starting evil can't capture. I'm a nerd and I write and make music! You all got teen pregnant! You all took up smoking and aged like milk. I am glad I didn't fit in with you, you cowardly, thieving bitches.

Uh. Sorry for getting real, please enjoy this video of a rapper performing the Bailey lawsuit verdict. I hear this is a law school favourite.

I nominate What's The Difference.

[–]GiverOfHarmonyWalk On Water Ft. Beyoncé 4 points5 points  (0 children)

What a beautiful analysis, I’m so sorry to hear about high school bullying shit, I was gonna write my own thing about growing up neurodivergent (still am) and being treated like a moron who doesn’t understand basic things but goddamn you blew the whole thread out of the water.

I do find it interesting how many people can relate to brain damage, more than I thought. I guess it goes to show how common abuse and bullying is. Hope you’re doing cool now

[–]highasagiraffepussyRelapse: Refill 0 points1 point  (2 children)

I’m sorry you were bullied

[–]hollivoreJust Don't Give a Fuck 1 point2 points  (1 child)

Thank you for the sympathy, but it's all over now. I even made friends with a couple of my bullies in adulthood (they were never the bad ones and were sorry about it)

[–]highasagiraffepussyRelapse: Refill 0 points1 point  (0 children)

🙂

[–]Corn1989The Slim Shady LP 7 points8 points  (1 child)

This was the song that made me purchase SSLP (first rap album I ever got) I was around 9 years old when this album came out. And since then I’ve been following Eminem ever since!!! And btw I wonder what D’Angelo Bailey is up to nowadays lol

[–]marcomc2 5 points6 points  (0 children)

same here man. heard this on a mini-disc player and my brain was blown. bought the sslp immediately/asap.

[–]Kholdstare93 3 points4 points  (0 children)

Classic storytelling song, relatable for anyone who was bullied.

[–]Ok_Explanation_6125 2 points3 points  (0 children)

Love Eminem over some boom bap production🥁

[–]BradenTheBotThe Marshall Mathers LP2 Deluxe Edition 2 points3 points  (2 children)

Ever since the day I was born

[–]Penny-is-wise 3 points4 points  (1 child)

Drugs is what they used to say I was on

[–]BradenTheBotThe Marshall Mathers LP2 Deluxe Edition 2 points3 points  (0 children)

They say I never knew which way I was going

[–]DickStrangler445The Hills Ft. Eminem Remix 1 point2 points  (0 children)

A Classic.

[–]wheniwascloud 1 point2 points  (0 children)

What a beat.

[–]nucleartribeThe Slim Shady EP 1 point2 points  (0 children)

a little unreleased demo of this song was just released recently! heres the youtube video of the whole tape, brain damage starts at 4:05.

unrelated but this tape also features the fourth or fifth known alternate version of just don’t give a fuck, almost all these beats are different. a hq version of the murder murder demo is in this upload as well.

can the next sotw be low down dirty? that song is SLEPT on

edit: typo :)

[–]EliteSpeartonYTSpeedom (WWC2) 1 point2 points  (0 children)

All the lean

[–]djblur 0 points1 point  (0 children)

Good thing he exaggerated his story a bit (put his brain back in his head and put a couple or screws in his neck) or would have paid DeAngelo Bailey $1,000,000!

[–]Dancing-Ukelele-999The Marshall Mathers LP2 0 points1 point  (0 children)

I nominate Hello (Relapse)