There’s a debate going on among TV and film critics that seems to happen every year during list season when some overzealous showrunner insists their show is really a movie. This year, it’s Twin Peaks: The Return, David Lynch’s probably dazzling return-to-form that I still haven’t watched yet (please stop asking me to watch it).
Music doesn’t really have an equivalent to this dumb argument, maybe it’s the EP vs. the album? The mixtape vs. the album? After Eminem performed his attempted evisceration of Donald Trump at the BET Awards, it opened the door for a new sub-field: the freestyle vs. the song.
Although I personally think it’s terrible, Eminem’s freestyle was probably one of the most talked-about pieces of new music to be released this year (it was even enough to convert some Trump-hating skeptics to the genre). But can we consider it a song if he came up with it on the spot, and it was never given a proper release? Eminem recently talked about the alleged freestyle with Elton John for Interview magazine, and, well, about that:
JOHN: Let me ask you, was that totally off the cuff or did you write all that down and memorize it?
EMINEM: I wrote it. The original idea was for me to go to the BET Awards and do it acapella onstage. I went home that same day and wrote it all, but then at the last minute, plans got switched around and we filmed it in Detroit.
So it wasn’t a freestyle after all. Case closed, eh, or something. Anyway, revisit one of the year’s worst songs below: