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Whatever You Say I Am: The Life and Times of Eminem Paperback – September 28, 2004


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Whatever You Say I Am: The Life and Times of Eminem + Angry Blonde + The Way I Am
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Three Rivers Press (September 28, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1400053803
  • ISBN-13: 978-1400053803
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.1 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #536,014 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The demand for all things Eminem is big, and rock journalist Bozza aims to fill in the gaps with some personal notes of his own. Culling from his own past interviews with the often-reviled rapper, Bozza's portrait begins four years ago, when he first met and interviewed 27-year-old Marshall Mathers III. He stumbled upon a young man growing into his fame and struggling with the demons of his past life. Eminem's music-propelled by Dr. Dre's beats and Mathers's own controversial lyrics-gave rise to a new era. But it was before this big break, before the awards, movie offers and protests, that Bozza met and connected with Eminem. The two would become irrevocably linked-Bozza gained prominence after writing a remarkable in-depth piece on Em for Rolling Stone, which took the cover and helped catapult the artist to superstardom. It is Bozza's relationship with Eminem that lends credibility to this bio, as well as his ability to fold personal reminiscence into longer analytical sections on Eminem's life, the Detroit rap scene and pop culture. Bozza's unprecedented access to Mathers then and now has given rise to one of the only fully honest accounts of the now brilliant star.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

The sine qua non of white rappers gets star treatment by Rolling Stone-r Bozza. Eminem's "sense of timing and image management are nothing short of exceptional," you see, and he "lives in the world he dreamed of . . . when he birthed [musical alter ego] Slim Shady," which is supposed to be a compliment to Eminem's grasp on reality. Still, this is a serious enough book, crammed with facts and the musings of its subject. Yes, it is legend-making stuff, urgently delivered and pretty constantly giving the subject more than his "props" as Bozza dotes on the oh-so-awesome importance of the Great White Rapper's every act. But as the rap analog of Elvis (the white guy who sounds black), Eminem commands a huge audience, and as they did with the King, informed observers (the critics) debate his musical value and import. Oh, what the heck, get the book, display it, and reel in some of the highly prized YA breeder-male demographic. Hey, it's only rock and roll (and they like it). Mike Tribby
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Customer Reviews

After getting this book for Christmas, I was really looking forward to reading it, but kept putting it off.
Meesha
If you are interested in some very basic information regarding rap "history" written in a long drawn out boring way, then this is the book for you.
coffeemeplz
Nevertheless, this book does succeed as a mini-biography of Eminem and hip-hop history, so for those interested , I would recommend the book.
C. Baker

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Irishgirl on December 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
I was so excited when I received "Whatever You Say I Am" for Christmas last year. Now, almost a year later, I've finally gotten through the final pages.

Why did it take so long you might ask? Well for starters, it was all I could do to keep my interest going. This is NOT an EMINEM BIOGRAPHY. I repeat, this is NOT an EMINEM BIOGRAPHY. The subtitle of this book is called "The Life And Times Of Eminem." While Anthony Bozza does a fine job of creating a book about the history of rap and how Eminem has influenced rap, it's culture and overall society, I soon figured out after reading chapter after chapter thick with rap's roots, that Bozza forgot to include Eminem's life in the book. Each chapter I started, I kept anticipating.....oh maybe this is the part where we get to see Eminem's life, influences, etc. But after reading yet another chapter of rap history such as with historical MC's like Kool Herc and Afrika Bambaataa, I realized I was wrong again, and had to psych myself up to keep reading. It just got a bit boring after a while.

Also, I am a slow reader in general, but reading this book made me look like a speed demon before. It was truely agonizing at times trying to absorb what I just read. I cannot tell you how many times I had to go back and re-read Bozza's long, flowery-worded sentences laden with so many commas, you had to literally look back to see where the pause was and where the next statement began.

I realize that all the background of rap is influential. Bozza talks of the Blues, Sly & The Family Stone and R&B, The first known rap song, "Rapper's Delight" by the Sugarhill Gang, famous MC's and the underground rap parties they threw, the controversy of Vinalla Ice, The Beastie Boys, and on and on.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Justin C on November 11, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I just finished reading this book and I thought that it was well written from start to finish. Unfortunately, I did not get the content I was looking for. I was looking mainly for what Eminem did in the past and what he intends to do in the future. The book I would say was only 2/5ths that. The rest was focusing on hip-hop history. Chapter after chapter was the same stuff over again, but focusing on a different artist of hip-hop. Sometimes there was long stretches of pages that seemed to have no end, while not even mentioning eminem. If your looking for a book on hip-hop culture, this is a good one. If you want a book that shows the life and times of eminem, this book only counts as 2/5ths.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Jessica Lux on June 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
In the first few chapters, Bozza did an excellent job of putting Eminem in context. It's important to remember what the culture was like in 99 when the Slim Shady LP came out: TLC's No Scrubs was number one, Lauryn Hill and Celine Dion were superstars, as were the Backstreet Boys and Madonna. The culture was different in 2000 for The Marshall Mathers LP, after Columbine and when the presidency was on trial. Then Eminem lived a reality celebrity life until the 2002 release of his movie 8 Mile, which rocketed him into mainstream praise from "older" critics and a huge, diverse, fan base.

I enjoyed the first few chapters of "putting Eminem in context." But then it went on and on and on and on. I have no idea what point each chapter was trying to make. Bozza wasn't telling a linear story of Eminem's career; rather, these are random essays/parts of interviews which could each stand on their own as a magazine piece. There is no benefit to having them gathered as chapters in a book, and reading chapter after chapter about Eminem's place with Dre, DMX, Puffy, rap magazines, Rolling Stone, the VMAs, etc. gets old. This is much less about Enimen than it is about pop culture, rap, and hip-hop from 1999 through 2003. Bozza doesn't even do a very good job making Eminem the unifying theme between all his comments on pop culture.

Bozza did an outstanding job with Tommy Lee on his auto-biography Tommyland. This was his first effort, and it shows that he is a talented magazine writer, but not a biographer. If you want a good read, go pick up Tommyland.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By C. Baker VINE VOICE on November 9, 2003
Format: Hardcover
If you're looking for a light pop culture, tabloid style biography of Eminem-this is not the book for you.
Instead we have a well laid-out mini-biography of Eminem that places him within the context of American society and current popular culture. It also serves to put Eminem in context within hip-hop history and culture, discussing racial themes and how Eminem has managed to succeed in a predominately black arena, both because of and despite his race.
There are a few key drawbacks, though. First, the book is clearly pro-Eminem. I certainly did not want to read a lot of Eminem bashing, being a fan. But the lack of any real criticism is telling-especially given the controversy surrounding him. Second, occasionally I think the author stretches logic a bit with some of the parallels he draws between the rise and success of Eminem within the context of American culture at large. Finally, the author relies a great deal on the commentary of music critics. It would have been nice to see a broader array of views outside the music industry than is offered here.
Nevertheless, this book does succeed as a mini-biography of Eminem and hip-hop history, so for those interested , I would recommend the book.
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