Truth be told, Eminem needs the constraints of mass-market pop: the balance Dido brings to white-knuckle tales of dead girlfriends in trunks, how “Lose Yourself”‘s soaring escape from poverty humanizes the monster that would rape his mom. But it’s already well documented he’s the master of the loophole, so his commercial compromises on The Hits are offset by a seven-track Deluxe Edition CD—Stan’s Mixtape—where Marshall’s inner nut job goes gruesome on tracks with Biggie and (for the interminable “Shit on You”) D12. Unless you still lack “Renegade” with Jay-Z, forget the Deluxe and save four bucks.
Anyway, the three new songs on The Hits form a neat (OK, maybe too neat) X-ray of Eminem’s psyche. “Fack,” featuring several retarded verses about ass gerbils for giggly 12-year-olds everywhere, actually beats the tired misogyny of the Nate Dogg collaboration “Shake That.” And “When I’m Gone” is about Hailey and the price of fame and has dream sequences no less, but also details: Hailey putting boxes in front of the door to keep Dad home, for instance. One can only hope the death that keeps coming back in the chorus is the funeral for Em’s gangster shit.