By James Pavel

“Monster” by Eminem and Rihanna will roar hourly on every pop radio station from now until probably late April. It is a painfully generic duet featuring a half-hearted, mailed-in chorus from Rihanna, and an annoyingly redundant, bitter, and whiny Eminem.

It is one of the lower points of Eminem’s artistic career and another blindingly glaring example of why Eminem needs to finally hang it up.

The Real Slim Shady died after the release of The Eminem Show and has only appeared as a ghost of his former self over his past four albums. Slim Shady is a washed up rapper who now relies completely on pop fans and pop radio to keep him relevant.

When Eminem was in his prime, he had two verses from the track “Til’ I Collapse” that went: “Til’ I collapse I’m spilling these raps as long as you feel ‘em,”and “So while you’re in it try to get as much shit as you can, and when your run is over just admit when it’s at its end.” Why can’t he exercise some humility and heed to his own advice?

Slim is unquestionably one of the most successful artists of the past 20 years and is likely one of the top five hip-hop artists ever. His first three albums are all classic, a feat few others can declare. He has been able to relate to millions by embracing his trailer-park roots and sharing tales of his whirlwind childhood many before him never had the ability to unravel into such epic poetry.

The climax of Marshall Mathers’ career was the 8 Mile soundtrack that contained the bombastic single, “Loose Yourself.” The song was a blazing semi-truck containing all of the violent emphasis and intense momentum stemming from the carnaged venom felt throughout the first three masterpieces (Slim Shady LP, Marshall Mathers, The Eminem Show.) It was Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” meets Tupac’s “Hit em’ Up.” Such velocity. Such brilliance. And then came the album, Encore.

Encore showcased Slim at his most childish and silly. He had returned to his filthy drug habits. He sounded desperate for a first single to market the album. Worst of all, he had adopted a half-baked East-Indian accent on a third of the tracks, a change to the usual Eminem program that even die-hard fans had difficulty accepting. Encore was the beginning of the end. And this was in 2004.

Slim has now released three more albums, all of poor standing when compared with the original trio. His previously fluid and empathetic tirades regarding his mother and on/off wife Kim were once honest and ripe with emotion. But he now sounds like a hypocritical schizophrenic. His emotional mood swings through hist latest material has fans unsure of whether they are supposed to forgive, forget, embrace or hate Eminem’s mother and wife/ex-wife/fiancee/soon-to-be-ex-wife etc.

Eminem isn’t just past his prime. He has driven so far past his original peak that he has practically discovered a new persona dedicated strictly to mediocrity. The Real Slim Shady needs to retire before his original material becomes so concealed in dust that it becomes forgotten in place of his unmistakably weaker and weathered material.