If you know me, you know that I say "I've got no snare in my headphones" at least once I week, and I think it's funny every time. If I'm talking to Yoh or Lucas on Skype and the audio cuts out, they know exactly what to expect.
It took about 97 listens to Eminem's "Cleanin' Out My Closet" before I really appreciated the opening ad-lib, but once it sunk in, it's all I could think about. If it was a genuine studio mistake Em could have easily gone back and cut it from the audio, why did he choose to keep it in? And I'm far from the only one to notice, that small moment has turned into a hip-hop inside joke, with emcee after emcee doing their own take (see Lil Wayne's "music in the headphones please" and Chappelle's classic skit).
And then, after years of wondering, Eminem explained the ad-lib in an exclusive Genius annotation.
"This was true. I was recording and couldn’t hear the snare, the engineer had it muted for some reason. I left it.” —Eminem
I don't expect anyone but the most hardcore of rap nerds to care, but to those rap nerds, this is like Ice Cube telling us exactly what day he had his good day on, like Clipse producing receipts for all those times they stayed at the Hyatt, like finding a picture of Biggie eating a T-bone steak, cheese eggs, and Welch's grape.
There's no larger message here, no deeper analysis. Being a hip-hop fan means reveling as much in the small details as the big picture, and now that I've had one of my most burning questions answered, it's time to focus completely on one of rap's other big mysteries - what the hell is up with Kanye's $250K sex laptop?