On The Eminem Show, Slim Shady's latest misanthropic excursion, Eminem is flaunting his influence on suburban youths, boasting about his ability to bring his sharp-tongued, self-obsessed and often hateful rhymes into the bedrooms of white middle-class kids. Expect these young suburbanites to overflow America West Arena this Tuesday, when Eminem hits town headlining the Anger Management Tour.
Anger management must be working for Slim. His new record, while theoretically as vitriolic as any of his offerings, just doesn't sound as genuinely angry; it certainly doesn't approach the homicidal mania of "'97 Bonnie and Clyde" from The Slim Shady LP or "Kim" from The Marshall Mathers LP. He's still hating every MTV star he can name, his litigious mother Debbie Mathers and now-ex-wife Kim, but there's little in the way of new targets or tactics. Nu-metal kids doubtless appreciate the hard-edged, rock-style production, handled mainly by Eminem rather than Dr. Dre, whose thump-and-grind mastery flavored the previous albums.
Originally a Limp Bizkit brain child, the Anger Management Tour this year leans heavily toward rap and hip-hop. Eminem's Detroit homies D12 are along for the ride, despite the disappointing response to their album Devil's Night, as are Ludacris and Xzibit. The most interesting addition to the lineup is X-ecutioners, the turntablist team that toiled in hip-hop's underground for eons before just recently breaking into middle America by collaborating with Linkin Park.
The Anger Management Tour is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, August 20, at America West Arena, 201 East Jefferson. Tickets, $28 to $43, are available from Ticketmaster, 480-784-4444 or www.ticketmaster.com.