Producer: Bass Brothers, Eminem
Album: The Slim Shady LP
Label: Aftermath/Interscope
Eminem "'97 Bonnie & Clyde (Original)"
Eminem "'97 Bonnie & Clyde (Album Version)"
"Subversive" doesn't even begin to explain "'97 Bonnie & Clyde." Originally called "Just The Two Of Us" (named after the brilliant Grover Washington Jr. and Bill Withers song that it's based on musically), Eminem's version is actually a semi-parody of Will Smith's syrupy radio hit that spoke about the joys of fatherhood. "Semi-parody" because although "'97 Bonnie & Clyde" shits on Will's version in the Realness Dept., it is not totally unsentimental. Actually, it's a very sincere dedication to his infant daughter. Well, sentimental in his own way, since Mathers did rename the ballad in honor of real-life Depression-era gangsters Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow (we wonder if Em was also inspired by Ice Cube and Yo-Yo's "The Bonnie and Clyde Theme"). Now, regardless of how you feel about an artist who does a song about killing his baby mother and then brings his baby girl into the studio to record "googoo-gaga" vocals, there does exist a remarkable amount of artistry in this song. The clever way Eminem makes the whole song a conversation between him and Hailie is damn near-genius level. And the tender words for his child at the conclusion are so genuine that anyone mad at the rapper might even forgive him.