Eminem at 42
November 26, 2014 10:04 AM   Subscribe

“im bored of the old men threatening young women as entertainment trend and much more interested in the young women getting $ trend. zzzz”
posted by josher71 (57 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
 
I'm no fan of Eminem or Iggy but Azalea seems to have the right attitude. Outrage against anyone doesn't accomplish anything. Being bored by it is the correct reaction.

I'd much rather have these successful rappers say horrible shit but do nothing actually harmful than have the Cosby types who present a holistic image but are actually horrible people.
posted by savitarka at 10:13 AM on November 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


It's definitely true that eventually watching that same trick gets old, no matter how talented at the trick the pony might be. The misogyny, on the other hand, was tired from the very beginning.
posted by BigHeartedGuy at 10:18 AM on November 26, 2014 [7 favorites]


For some reason I was re-watching some Beastie Boys stuff the other day, and was reminded yet again of something I saw in a magazine - the magazine had earlier done a piece on the band and someone had written a letter to the editor complaining about the misogyny and homophobia in their earlier songs. But the magazine had contacted the band for a comment and thus ran a response from Adam Yauch - where he admitted that yep, those lyrics were bad; we were dumb kids then, but that still was no excuse and we regret that now.

...Sad that that kind of thing is an exception that proves the rule.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 10:23 AM on November 26, 2014 [60 favorites]


I'd much rather have these successful rappers say horrible shit but do nothing actually harmful than have the Cosby types who present a holistic image but are actually horrible people.

I disagree. One secretly bad person presenting a positive external message is far less harmful than a good person who is a bad influence on the public. The latter can create a whole lot of bad people who think that behavior makes them cool and acceptable.
posted by rocket88 at 10:34 AM on November 26, 2014 [16 favorites]


Yolandi Visser shits bigger than Mather's "rap god" ass dreams.
posted by The 10th Regiment of Foot at 10:39 AM on November 26, 2014 [9 favorites]


Also, that's kind of a false choice, isn't it? Our options for entertainment are diverse enough these days that we don't have to settle for artists who project negative images or do awful things to the people around them. Why not neither?
posted by Strange Interlude at 10:41 AM on November 26, 2014 [45 favorites]


I was bummed that the quote about "young women getting $ trend" was about Eminem rather than from him, and instead he was just being dumber than ever. I really liked his early music and I was willing to see the not-so-great lyrics as part of a performance art project (that was not totally dissimilar from Die Antwoord in some ways), but lately he just seems to be doubling down on the dumb without the interesting layers of performativity, so no thanks.
posted by Dip Flash at 10:44 AM on November 26, 2014 [15 favorites]


One secretly bad person presenting a positive external message is far less harmful than a good person who is a bad influence on the public.

That sounds like a good defense of censorship. That's the sort of attitude that aids the Cosbys and Sanduskys of the world.

But I do wish Eminem would use his talent and platform to engage people politically, especially given the polarized racial/socioeconomic climate we live in. His misogynistic shtick sounds stupid; punch upward, not down, right?

I bet he lacks the balls to write one bar about Michael Brown.
posted by Renoroc at 10:54 AM on November 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


Ugh yeah that piece was a downer. What a willfully ignorant shit he is.
posted by Mister_A at 11:06 AM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]




But when Eminem isn’t rehashing his life story, which most people know in biblical detail, or rapping about committing random acts of violence against innocent women and perceived feminine men, he tends to go back to his other well: shit and fart jokes. The problem is that without these topics, which make up his entire oeuvre, he seems lost. This is the sad truth: Eminem has become the conservative status quo that he seemingly railed against as a young man. And considering that he has always come down in favor of stomping out all things feminine, sensitive, and different, maybe he always was.

This is the conclusion. I feel like I just got tricked into reading a whole long article about how much Eminem is terrible, always has been terrible, and always will be terrible will because at core he's a terrible person.

The only thing being added to this conversation, by Iggy Azalea of all people, is the articulation that he and his narrative is also boring as hell. If it's so boring then why do we have to keep re-hashing it. I too am much more interested in the young women getting $ story. I think that's why I keep liking Nicki Minaj no matter what she does.
posted by bleep at 11:09 AM on November 26, 2014 [17 favorites]


Remember back when a young Em cracked how Moby needed to stop because he was 36 and no one listens to "techno"?

Umm-hmm.
posted by droplet at 11:13 AM on November 26, 2014 [36 favorites]


He name-drops Slipknot and Kid Rock in “Vegas,” like the 2000s never ended.

Remember when pop culture's #1 priority was validating the violent raging of white dudes over exceedingly petty crap like women being sluts or other men calling you gay? That was a super fun time to attend high school. Teenage boys were unpleasant to be around at that time. I feel some vindictive glee at how out of touch Eminem is now. I honestly just thought that was the world I was living in--the one where the dominant pop culture narrative was "dudes are REALLY ANGRY about stupid shit and that's always justified and noteworthy." I'm really pleased that's no longer the case, but I have a lot of bitterness about growing up in that environment.
posted by almostmanda at 11:16 AM on November 26, 2014 [54 favorites]


I really still think Em is one of the most talented rappers ever in a technical sort of way but he never got over trying to impress 13-year-old boys. That's a pretty sad way to end up in your 40s.

Iggy Azalea is a different kind of embarrassing, unfortunately - beyond the "hood ass beat" and similar racial/cultural cringe moments that "freestyle" is a verse straight off her album - but I dunno once in a while she does something that makes me think she has the potential to shed her ill-fitting packaging.

Nicki Minaj is pretty great.
posted by atoxyl at 11:23 AM on November 26, 2014 [7 favorites]


That was a super fun time to attend high school. Teenage boys were unpleasant to be around at that time.

This is a good insight that I've never seen anywhere else before. I always felt like some kind of weirdo because in theory I liked boys and there was a lot of pressure to be performative of liking boys but all the boys around me were awful, awful human beings.
posted by bleep at 11:26 AM on November 26, 2014 [21 favorites]


I really still think Em is one of the most talented rappers ever in a technical sort of way but he never got over trying to impress 13-year-old boys.

Yeah, exactly. I still think something like "White America" is amazing. But he got really boring, even back in the day, even putting aside the way over-the-top misogyny. How much of his stuff is about how he wants to kill his ex-wife but loves his little daughter? Even as a fictional "character" he was so boring and repetitive.
posted by leopard at 11:28 AM on November 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


violent raging of white dudes

I'll just leave this here.
posted by ostranenie at 11:29 AM on November 26, 2014 [11 favorites]


He name-drops Slipknot and Kid Rock in “Vegas,” like the 2000s never ended.

It's a nostalgia piece, like Sinatra's "Very Good Year" - he name drops one of his Eternal Enemies (Kid Rock) probably because he's now a country rocker and no longer a threat to his Angry White Dude Detroit Rapper dominance. (ICP are still out there, lurking, and they're allied with Jack White. He can't afford to sleep...)

I honestly just thought that was the world I was living in--the one where the dominant pop culture narrative was "dudes are REALLY ANGRY about stupid shit and that's always justified and noteworthy."

Ahhh, yes. 1998 or 1999 or thereabouts. Nu-Metal. Taking the honest emotion of Grunge/Alternative and misinterpreting it as petulant anger, and then doing it louder with more expensive production values. (I still call it chunka-chunka metal).
posted by Slap*Happy at 11:31 AM on November 26, 2014 [11 favorites]


the one where the dominant pop culture narrative was "dudes are REALLY ANGRY about stupid shit and that's always justified and noteworthy."

Ahhh, yes. 1998 or 1999


I am going to go out on a limb here and suggest there has always been a culture of teenage boys being angry about stupid shit and feeling it's justified and noteworthy.
posted by Hoopo at 11:34 AM on November 26, 2014 [14 favorites]


when Eminem isn’t rehashing his life story, which most people know in biblical detail, or rapping about committing random acts of violence against innocent women and perceived feminine men, he tends to go back to his other well: shit and fart jokes. The problem is that without these topics, which make up his entire oeuvre, he seems lost

Don't forget his other favorite topic, reminding us that he's back and that we are listening to him.

Eminem is definitely good at rapping, but he's always been kind of a novelty act IMO. So many wacky, cartoonish beats with wacky, cartoonish videos and silly, "naughty" punchlines for an audience of kids, relying on violence for humor. He's basically a hip hop Bugs Bunny, "ain't I a stinker?"
posted by Hoopo at 11:45 AM on November 26, 2014 [20 favorites]


(ICP are still out there, lurking, and they're allied with Jack White. He can't afford to sleep...)

If that isn't nightmare fuel I don't even know that the term has meaning anymore.
posted by We put our faith in Blast Hardcheese at 11:45 AM on November 26, 2014 [9 favorites]


Hoopo, that was brilliant. I like Em for his skill and shaking things up but all of his stuff is cringe inducing. I was hoping in "Rap God" he would zip past Kanye's Juvenile Renaissance / third life crisis shit but boom he goes right into every cliche. Like he says, call me "rap bot." He uses gay as a slur, goes into violence against women and what about my feelings, and talks about shooting up school shooting survivors. And with a bunch of amazing techniques and flow changes, dude is so fucking insecure and such a waste of talent. Dr. Dre saw his talent and elevated it tremendously. Dr. Dre is a genius producer and recruiter. Dr. Dre is no saint but when he goes through the motions he just rehashes he enjoys casual sex with "hoes" which Eminem had to go and make look innocent by comparison. Thanks dude
posted by aydeejones at 12:03 PM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


And Em was always hyper aware that kids look up to him and was a shit about it. He gets all introspective on that for a minute during his verse on "Monster" with Rihanna and give off the impression that he thinks he's giving hope to people. He also does another track with her where he gives his heartfelt apologia for why it's so passionate and deep to threaten to burn your wife alive in her bed and whatnot. Uhhhhh. The sad part is that he is smart enough to know that some people can compartmentalize his shit, some people can't (has a whole song about that "Stan") and that he has crossed a lot of lines in reality that he sings about and mixes in with "That's my alter ego just saying stuff on a record."

Unfortunately it's a reminder that cleaning up doesn't usually resolve the problems that drug addiction covered up. It doesn't make you instantly a good person and you aren't some inspiration to everyone overnight unless you make something of it.
posted by aydeejones at 12:12 PM on November 26, 2014


And "technical" is overvalued as a rap skill any more as a skill in isolation. "Rap God" has a word count in the thousands that Eminem fans trot out as objective proof that he's better than everyone else to this day. Maybe if he's what got you into hip hop and you've stayed close to him his entire career? I was a NIN fanboy and can relate, but I did myself the favor of exploring similar music and entirely different genres when I realized I couldn't subsist on teen angst alone
posted by aydeejones at 12:16 PM on November 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Holy crap, Eminem is the same age as Elvis when he died. Meanwhile "Kid" Rock is going to be a grandfather in couple months.
posted by 445supermag at 12:18 PM on November 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


*Reads title*

Me to husband, conversationally expectant: "you wanna feel old?"

Him: "No."
posted by taz at 12:31 PM on November 26, 2014 [16 favorites]


"Grumpy Old Man Act Not As Compelling As Angry Young Man Act"
posted by The Card Cheat at 12:36 PM on November 26, 2014 [23 favorites]


Hoopo: Don't forget his other favorite topic, reminding us that he's back and that we are listening to him.

Shady's back? Back again?
posted by dr_dank at 12:55 PM on November 26, 2014 [14 favorites]


aydeejones: ""Rap God" has a word count in the thousands that Eminem fans trot out as objective proof that he's better than everyone else to this day."

So - Eminem is the Yngwie Malmsteen of hip-hop?
posted by symbioid at 1:21 PM on November 26, 2014 [12 favorites]


Elvis was just 42 when he died? Fuck. He seemed so oooold back then.
posted by yoink at 1:34 PM on November 26, 2014 [5 favorites]


He's younger than that now.
posted by chicobangs at 1:46 PM on November 26, 2014 [15 favorites]


savitarka: Outrage against anyone doesn't accomplish anything.
Counterpoint: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Mohatma Gandhi. The creation of the state of Israel. The creation of the United States of America.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:52 PM on November 26, 2014


savitarka: I'd much rather have these successful rappers say horrible shit but do nothing actually harmful than have the Cosby types who present a holistic image but are actually horrible people.
Not only a false dichotomy, but ruinously wrong.

The act of publicly, praising evil acts has a real impact on the social attitudes towards those actions. Cosby could do what he did because of society's attitudes. Supporting those attitudes is downright evil.

It's not a question of which evil is worse. Both are bad.
posted by IAmBroom at 1:57 PM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


IamBroom: Bad phrasing on my part. I was talking in the limited sense of outrage against fading/current pop stars. I can't imagine putting these unimportant people in the same league as the greats you mention.
posted by savitarka at 1:58 PM on November 26, 2014


OK then, I see that point. Outrage is intensely useful... as an energy source for a Plan. In general, without that... yeah, it's just more anger.

And although I enjoy some of Eminem's output, and concede he is very, very talented, nothing would be sweeter than to see some 50yo female rap artist in a triumphal world tour while 50yo Eminem plays the state fair circuit.
posted by IAmBroom at 2:04 PM on November 26, 2014


I especially like these lyrics off the new album:

I'm Eminem
I like Valiems
I go nominom
When I' eating them
Like they're M&M's
Now I'm back again
Like I never wen'
Rhyming raps about
Those comediennes
Think they better than
Me - I'm Eminem!
An' I'm older now
Than I was back then
When I started in
My occupatien
As Eminem
I really hate it when
People spit their phlegm
Or they click their pen
'Cause they see my Benz
That I've plated in
Chromed aluminiem
Whose atomic number
Is three plus ten


Classic Shady.
posted by turbid dahlia at 2:38 PM on November 26, 2014 [3 favorites]


Not really surprised to see him riding the same style he was over a decade ago. It still works. Some people will appreciate musicians who stick with the same style/sound for the entire duration of their careers. It's comforting. You know what you're getting. There's something to be said for that. Those people probably love Eminem and Eminem probably loves the money those people will continue to give him for producing the same style of music.

I enjoy rap, so I was intrigued when a talented white guy named Eminem first came out in the late 90s. He was fast with his rhymes and his nasally, sing-songy voice was unique among a sea of everyone trying to sound as deep-and-masculine as possible. His style was catchy and over-the-top for its time too. As a loner in high school, it definitely tapped into my anger. The violence was both comforting and exciting to a kid who hated the world.

But maaaan, that stuff got old for me even with the Marshall Mathers LP and as I started to pay more attention to the lyrics within it. It certainly doesn't help that lots of young, angry guys at my high school wanted to be 'Slim Shady' and their behavior (towards women and the LGBTQ crowd) certainly reflected that. As such, it was hard to remain a fan of someone who, without apology, encouraged listeners to torture/maim/bully specific groups of innocent people and who LOL'd at the negative consequences arising from kids doing just that.
posted by stubbehtail at 2:55 PM on November 26, 2014 [4 favorites]


Good article. For me, somewhere along the line Eminem became weak when every other song had some whiny singer in the beginning and middle of it, and all the tracks he was promoting and that got played a lot just sounded like alty trash.

Snoop is caught in a similar bind to Eminem’s. The pressure to grow up is drowned out by cheers for “Bitches Ain’t Shit.”

This is a good point from the article, and probably a prime reason a lot of artists talking about making music for themselves, not the audience. But Hip Hop is definitely ruthless. When hip hop decides you're over, like Masta Ace said in Last Bref, you're over. You can put out fantastic content like O.C.'s Trophies, and it will go largely unnoticed. Another thing that happened somewhere along the line, in the mid 2000's or so, was that like Kanye noted on Can't Tell Me Nothing, when you try hard, that's when you die hard. So the more ill lyrics you spit trying to come back, the more you just fall off that much harder. Kendrick and Wu may be among the few new and old exceptions. So Eminem in a way is just throwing out his version of not trying, to hang around as long as possible.

"I had a dream I could buy my way to heaven....when I awoke I spent that on a necklace". Go and read or listen to the full lyrics of "Can't Tell Me Nothing" as if Kanye is rap itself, talking about its own characteristics.
posted by cashman at 3:04 PM on November 26, 2014 [6 favorites]


Oh, man, you guys just don't get it! Eminem is a freaking genius! He's totally doing all this intentionally.

Well, he is talented, I'll give him that. I just wish he'd use his clever rhymes and skillful delivery on some different topics. He's become so one-dimensional. There's a lack of progression evident there, artistically and emotionally.
posted by ChuckRamone at 3:06 PM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


Marshall Mathers, the person, has certainly had enough early life trauma to potentially stunt his emotional and psychological growth and well being to the point I'm not sure he is the one to blame for his shitty lyrics being glorified. A culture that stops finding this shit entertaining will see an emotionally stunted/dangerous person for what they are-- even with compassion, but not with the idolatry or feeding self destruction or culturally destructive messages for someone who could probably use more help, compassion, and some honest feedback that their really seriously, full of shit and not well- (and it's ok! There is help!)

The other problem is that there are legions of people suffering what he did and he is speaking to them in a way that society itself won't-- as fellow humans even if their angry, fucked up, violent, and out of control-- for reasons that often, though not always, include systemic injustice and their families being cut off from resources and support in times of need.
posted by xarnop at 3:44 PM on November 26, 2014 [1 favorite]


I still love his '96 album Infinite - and it's mostly clear of the whole "offend all the people" schtick. And the Slim Shady LP was pretty fun. But after that he mostly just sounds tired.
posted by Drexen at 4:51 PM on November 26, 2014


Oddly enough, out of all the household-name rappers of the past decade and a half, it's Eminem's influence that I hear most distinctly in Iggy Azalea's flow as well as, incidentally, in Nikki Minaj's. Am I way off base or do others pick that up too? Anyway, fuck that guy.
posted by threeants at 6:18 PM on November 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


Can I just say, out of the blue, Slacker decided to play a Morcheeba track while diving deep into recent electronic genres I'm too embarrassed and old to mention. I had never heard Morcheeba before, and it was relevant to my interests! And then the obligatory rap solo. So tired, so lame, so dated... wait. That's Tuna Fish(Chali 2na). He's killing it.

If I can have any rapper from the '90s doing what they do like they never left, I'll take Chali 2na over anyone you care to bring to the party, and win in a landslide.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:16 PM on November 26, 2014


I don't like him or his schtick, and the misogyny and notional violence of it is just so fucking tired and sad these days, but I will say that I saw the video of that freestyle (by that I understand improvised -- is that right?) rap they talk about in the piece a week or two back, and I have to admit that it was seriously impressive in its verbal pyrotechnics, particularly as he ramps it up towards the end. I'll admit, the genre's pretty far outside my wheelhouse, though, so maybe that kind of skill isn't as exceptional as it seems to me.

Shame he's such a shit, or at least pretends to be one for money.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:59 PM on November 26, 2014


Daily Mash: Sleazy men ‘just doing a character’
posted by TheophileEscargot at 10:44 PM on November 26, 2014 [2 favorites]


He's actually sober while spewing this crap now? Cripes.
posted by colie at 12:14 AM on November 27, 2014


This is what happens when bored meets evil.
posted by mannequito at 1:23 AM on November 27, 2014 [1 favorite]


You know when people talk about domestic violence in the abstract, and you have a hard time picturing what the perpetrators look like and how they can do what they do and you know that if you ever met one you would be sick and outraged? Well this is what they look like and there are thousands more.
posted by Summer at 1:52 AM on November 27, 2014 [4 favorites]


But I do wish Eminem would use his talent and platform to engage people politically, especially given the polarized racial/socioeconomic climate we live in. His misogynistic shtick sounds stupid; punch upward, not down, right?
Yes, this. Gentleman Caller has purchased Eminem albums for the library where he works, and will occasionally play me snippets of the songs that are more about class/socioeconomic status ("Elevator" comes to mind, but there have been others). And I listen to it and think "he's smart and insightful about this, maybe I underrated him", and then he drops a line in about Clay Aiken and "faggots" and I'm like "REALLY?"

No one is asking him to be a conscious backpacker type, but I do wish he'd take those moments of being smart and insightful and write an album where he focuses on class and race, rather than taking sideswipes at the gays and the "bitches".
posted by pxe2000 at 6:52 AM on November 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


Also, Ellen Willis's daughter on Eminem.
posted by pxe2000 at 6:58 AM on November 27, 2014 [2 favorites]


My teen daughter is really passionately in love with Eminimen's music, we've used it as a vehicle to talk about a lot of issues in society, in Eminimen's psyche and personal life, and understanding what it means for her and why she feels it so strongly resonates.

For the sake of people (and especially young, vulnerable, and otherwise impressionable) who find the good parts of his music compelling- I hope he grows beyond the shit part because at this point, while I always have empathy for trauma and adversity survivors, he has a platform that many don't-- he could choose to use that for good and society has lifted him out of poverty because of his schtick (many of those buying his music/show tickets being part of the poor themselves) I think he could give a little something genuine and more meaningful back. It's not asking too much, I don't think, that he rethink the hate and promotion of violence toward already vulnerable people as part of his routine. As well as the misplaced blame on the wrong people.

He could be using that power of voice to direct attention to the real causes of social inequality and suffering (which I think he occasionally hits on in a profound way). However, frankly, I get terrified of challenging the way people think or the social norms even anonymously on the internet. His whole identity, peer group, support system, and income is based in this routine. I don't blame him being scared to change it. But still... if you're basing your survival/identity on hurting people EVEN MORE vulnerable than you, it's sometimes worth asking the hard questions or doing things that are hard or scary to change that.

His schtick was also a survival mechanism of the sort that if you fuck up, you can come out under and face more actual real abuse- so the fear he faces if he chooses to change may literally feel like a personally safety issue coming from a world where NOT attacking women and gays or agreeing with the majority can make YOU a target of the violence and hate. These are big deal demons to face. I wish him strength, and compassion to face them.
posted by xarnop at 7:43 AM on November 27, 2014 [5 favorites]


Eminem is a boring joke at 42.

Meanwhile, Michael Gira is 60 and the latest Swans record is a terrifying masterpiece (except for a couple of songs that sound like The Doors, no, c'mon, admit it, you know they totally do).

The lesson I choose to draw from this is that if you are willing to stay near the edges you can scream as loud and as long as you like.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 8:58 AM on November 27, 2014 [3 favorites]


but I will say that I saw the video of that freestyle (by that I understand improvised -- is that right?) rap they talk about in the piece a week or two back, and I have to admit that it was seriously impressive in its verbal pyrotechnics, particularly as he ramps it up towards the end.

It isn't all one take. People noted that Royce changes position from clip to clip. Rappers do this on tracks all the time as well. It sounds like one complete flow but it's clipped in bits and bits if you listen really closely. And it's also not a freestyle in the way (because there are 3 legitimized meanings, jeez) that means "off the head". So it's impressive in that it sounds decent, but it isn't off the head and it isn't all in one take, as it appears.
posted by cashman at 9:12 AM on November 27, 2014


No one is asking him to be a conscious backpacker type

I am. I think his best stuff was when he was on Rawkus.

But, I mean, he knew exactly what he was doing when he signed with Dre. Eminem knew guys like El-P, and he didn't want to be El-P--he wanted to be Snoop Dogg.

(Which probably makes him overdue for a Snoop Lion/Snoopzilla-style reinvention. There's an argument to be made, though, that, much like his pop-culture references, those pill-fueled lost years seem to have frozen him in amber, artistic-ambition-wise.)
posted by box at 8:08 AM on November 28, 2014 [1 favorite]


"Rap God" has a word count in the thousands that Eminem fans trot out as objective proof that he's better than everyone else to this day. Eh, he's no MGK.
posted by MikeMc at 10:36 AM on November 28, 2014




Damn, I had thought Eminem had gotten really bad, which is entirely expected but I hadn't listened to enough of it to know he was still doing that shit he was doing when I was in middle school. I mean, I like OFWGKTA, I liked a few Em songs when I was a teen, I can appreciate the humour in vile things. Still, though, it is more of a young thing, that "edge" is a pretty transparent gimmick and while it has it's uses and shines in certain contexts, generally as your career matures and you age, you'd accumulate the experience and wisdom to progress your material from cheap tricks, ones you already mastered over a decade ago.

I'm actually listening to the album now and it's pretty awful. Confusingly the comments seem mostly positive, sometimes it's really hard to understand how or why other people feel about things that seem so plainly no good.
posted by GoblinHoney at 11:39 AM on November 29, 2014


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