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How Eminem became a role model At 50, he is more than just a talented gadfly

The worst thing since Elvis Presley (Sal Idriss/Redferns)

The worst thing since Elvis Presley (Sal Idriss/Redferns)


October 17, 2022   7 mins

The other day, I was pulled up short by a poster on the tube. I didn’t clock what it was advertising, but I was struck by the text: “Guess who’s back? Back again. Guess who’s back? Tell your friends.” It’s a paraphrase of the opening lines to Eminem’s 2002 single “Without Me”, one of several of the MC’s songs which has more than a billion streams.

My daughter, who wasn’t born when it came out, can recite every line, including the time-capsule references to Dick Cheney’s heart condition and a disrespectful Moby video. As Eminem gobbled up the detritus of American culture like Pac-Man, many of his jokes were doomed to age badly, but you don’t need to clock the allusions to get a kick out of his mischievous vitality 20 years later.

Eminem was so central to pop culture in 2002 that he could legitimately launch an album with a song about the importance of his return. Nobody inspired more arguments. Rappers had inflamed politicians and the press before, but none had done so with albums that sold 25 million copies a piece.

The furore over Eminem’s first album was large enough to be the central theme of his second, and the fuss around that one fuelled the third. A bridge-builder of sorts, he managed to unite Christian conservatives with feminists and LGBTQ groups. The Sun accused him of promoting “torture, incest, murder, rape and armed robbery”. (Not just rapping about these subjects, by the way — promoting them.) The editor-in-chief of Billboard condemned him for making “money off the world’s misery”. Culture warrior Lynne Cheney told a Senate hearing: “It is truly astonishing to me that a man whose work is so filled with hate would be so honoured by his peers.” Sadly, the line often attributed to George W Bush (“the most dangerous threat to American children since polio”) was a fabrication, but it was sufficiently credible to appear as the epigraph in Anthony Bozza’s bestselling 2003 biography Whatever You Say I Am. At least Eminem’s notoriety predated social media. If Twitter had existed back then, it might have fried his brain beyond repair.

How can rap’s former enfant terrible be turning 50? It wasn’t guaranteed. In 2001, Joan Smith wrote in the Guardian: “Validating his rage, which is what his fans are doing, is hardly going to help someone whose biography suggests he is already some way down the path to self-destruction.” But here is — alive, well and, as of this year, America’s best-selling singles artist of all time.

Nobody argues about Eminem anymore, which is good for the person but less so for his music. In 2000’s paranoid, semi-sarcastic “The Way I Am”, he declared “I am whatever you say I am,” but now that nobody’s making grand claims about him for good or ill, he seems unsure what he is. After his 2005 singles collection, Curtain Call, he dropped out of sight for four years to wrestle with writer’s block, his grief over his murdered friend Proof and his addiction to prescription drugs. Since returning to music with Relapse in 2009, he has never quite managed to find a convincing second act. The recent Curtain Call II lays bare an ongoing identity crisis as he bounces between throwback provocations, sentimental soft-rock hooks, goofy jokes, lyrical showboating and collaborations with Ed Sheeran and Pink. Some tracks sound great but none has the life-or-death necessity of his early years. “I’m not the person I was at 28,” he told Vulture in 2017. “The passion is still there but the rage mostly isn’t.”

Eminem’s most enjoyable late album is 2013’s The Marshall Mathers LP 2, a shameless nostalgia trip on which his tongue-twisting virtuosity is not just the medium but the message. When I saw him headline Wembley Stadium around that time, I felt like I was watching an athlete as much an artist. “Rap God” entered the Guinness Book of Records for featuring the most words (1560) in a hit single and included Eminem’s explanation for his initial success: “Simply rage and youthful exuberance/ Everybody loves to root for a nuisance.”

In the same song, he boasts that he’s been having hits “ever since Bill Clinton was still in office”. I’ve read three new histories of the Nineties this year and none of them addresses Eminem in any depth. This is possibly because he debuted at the very end of the decade; but in many ways Marshall Mathers III was a creature of it. Raised in poverty and chaos on the east side of Detroit, he was a teenager during hip hop’s golden age, when microphone technique was paramount. He slogged his way through the independent hip hop scene before finding both his mentor, Dr Dre, and his voice. The whiteness that had been an obstacle (blame Vanilla Ice) became an asset. It enabled him to read as a rock star as well as a rapper, and licensed him to write explicitly about mental health issues. He was closer to Kurt Cobain than Tupac Shakur in that respect, his problems more internal than external. He didn’t deny it. “If I was black I would’ve sold half,” he rapped in “White America”.

The rap battles recreated in his 2002 quasi-autobiopic, 8 Mile, taught Eminem the importance of getting a reaction with every line, and nothing did the job like a bad-taste joke — the more offensive the better. Hence his shock-comic alter ego (or id) Slim Shady. “I’m only giving you things you joke about with your friends inside your living room,” he explained on “The Real Slim Shady”. “The only difference is I got the balls to say it in front of y’all.” A frequent comparison when he came out with The Slim Shady LP in 1999 was South Park. “Hi kids, do you like violence?” he leered on his debut single, “My Name Is…”, fully anticipating his role as corrupter of the nation’s youth. Shortly afterwards, the question of lyrics and violence, having steadily escalated through moral panics about heavy metal and hip hop, went nuclear with the Columbine High School massacre, as Eminem’s labelmate Marilyn Manson was accused of inspiring the killers.

Using a technique pioneered by Public Enemy a decade earlier, Eminem performed lyrical judo, turning the backlash to his own advantage. It’s hard to file a case of cultural appropriation against someone who raps, “I am the worst thing since Elvis Presley/ To do black music so selfishly/ And use it to get myself wealthy.” Tough to accuse him of being a bad influence when he has a song called “Role Model”: “Follow me and do exactly what the song says: Smoke weed, take pills, drop outta school, kill people and drink.”

Most important, he had “Stan”, an extraordinary feat of in-character storytelling sweetened by a sample of a pre-fame Dido. Here was a song of such undeniable artistry that even the sceptics had to sit up and listen. Giles Foden, the Guardian’s deputy literary editor, compared “Stan” with the dramatic monologues of Robert Browning; Elton John performed it with Eminem at the Grammys. Years later, it gave us a new word for obsessive fandom. “It’s kind of like a message to the fans to let them know that everything I say is not meant to be taken literally,” Eminem explained at the time, with Columbine on his mind.

Two years later, Eminem’s sensitive performance in 8 Mile, with its motivational anthem “Lose Yourself”, made him almost respectable. Anthony Bozza sums up the rapidly changing media narrative: “(1999) Is he a novelty?; (2000) Does he matter; (2001) Should he be stopped?; (2002) How great is he?” He attracted fans as unlikely as Barbra Streisand and Daniel Day-Lewis, who used Eminem records to hype himself up on the set of Gangs of New York. Sean O’Hagan wrote in the Observer: “It is not overstating the case to say that Eminem is as reflective of his time as Bob Dylan was of his; and, in his own way, just as trenchant a social commentator.” Seamus Heaney praised his “subversive attitude” and “verbal energy”.

No artist can ride the zeitgeist for long, nor should any sane person want to, so there’s no shame in Eminem’s career dropping from a boil to a simmer. Time may not have improved him art but it has clarified it. First, his talent is beyond dispute. Even in the heart of the storm he was committed to hard work and craft. He has not inspired many (any?) great white rappers but his technique and emotional rawness are audible in the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Tyler, the Creator.

Second, it is obvious that controversy was not his motor after all. Unlike the many celebrities who fall from grace when their secrets are revealed, Eminem’s scandal was frontloaded and, despite some legal troubles, mostly stemmed from his lyrics rather than his behaviour. He’s not quite Snoop Dogg, who went from a first-degree murder charge to hosting a cooking show with Martha Stewart, but compared to Marilyn Manson, who faces multiple allegations of sexual abuse, or the endlessly self-detonating Kanye West, he looks remarkably stable and content. When it comes down to it, he simply loves to rap.

Finally, we know what he believes. You might reasonably see in his early work a harbinger of the white male rage that now fuels the alt-right, including the trollish humour that leaves it strategically unclear whether provocation is an end in itself or a vehicle for genuine malice. In the original song, Stan writes fan letters with what sounds like a pencil and records his final message on a cassette. Now he might easily be shitposting on 8chan and fuming about his latest Twitter suspension. Similarly, “White America”’s vision of a ”fucking army marching in back of me” sounds more sinister than it once did: “So many lives I touched, so much anger aimed/ In no particular direction, just sprays and sprays.” We have a clearer idea now of where that anger can spray.

Nevertheless, I don’t think you can blame Eminem for that, any more than you can pin Brexit on Britpop. Crucially, his rage never included racial animus, and he has never swung to the Right. Having recorded a song attacking George W Bush in 2004, he released an anti-Trump freestyle in 2017 and donated “Lose Yourself” to a campaign ad for Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. “Anyone who’s followed my music knows I’m against bullies — that’s why I hate that fucking bully Trump,” he told Vulture. Eminem outgrew his anger, along with his homophobia and misogyny, rather than nurturing it, and he didn’t get lost in his own black comedy. The listener might not always have known whether he was joking or not but he did, and the joke was usually on him.

In “Without Me”, Eminem presents himself as an obnoxious necessity; a fly in the ointment of early 2000s celebrity culture. “Now this looks like a job for me/ So everybody, just follow me/ ‘Cause we need a little controversy/ ‘Cause it feels so empty without me.” Twenty years on, he’s smart enough to realise that we have more than enough controversy and that that fire doesn’t need stoking. Maybe he became a role model after all.


Dorian Lynskey is an author, journalist and UnHerd columnist.

Dorianlynskey

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Matthew Powell
MP
Matthew Powell
1 year ago

“ ‘Till I collapse I’m spilling these raps long as you feel ’em
‘Till the day that I drop you’ll never say that I’m not killing ’em
‘Cause when I am not, then I’ma stop penning ’em
And I am not Hip-Hop and I’m just not Eminem“

Marshall Mathers has not been Eminem for a very long time and whilst, as the author suggest, this has probably been his salvation, I cannot help but feel a sense of sadness that the Enfant terrible of the 2000’s is now beloved of the Guardian reading classes and has all the subversiveness of a Sunday School teacher.

And yet, was Eminem ever more than the performative rebellions of the of 90’s counter culture, sticking it to the man, without ever threatening the status quo? He’s now safely in his mansion, issuing apologies for the controversies he was encouraged to court by the left, because it was all ok when it was only the Christian Right been offended, and railing against the demographics he once claimed to champion.

A role model? Of the courage and spirit to beat addiction and transform your life. Yes, absolutely. But he’s also sadly exemplary of so many liberal artists, who made their names through championing free speech with their transgression of the moral standards of the day, only to abandon these principals as soon as the ideology fell out of favour with the political classes. If Marshall Mathers has anything of interest left to say now, I doubt he would dare say it.

Perhaps, it’s not so empty without him after all.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

“But he’s also sadly exemplary of so many liberal artists, who made their names through championing free speech with their transgression of the moral standards of the day, only to abandon these principals as soon as the ideology fell out of favour with the political classes.”
What’s made you think this? Was he championing free speech? Did people even talk like that back then? It never seemed to me that his “transgression” represented anything except to give voice to his feelings. And that he abandoned the ideology, what ever is meant by that, is more a nuanced and mature view of life and the world that comes with age.

Matthew Powell
Matthew Powell
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

True, artist do mature but the makers of South Park have matured still produce cutting satire. I guess I just thought I’d never see the day when Will Smith was a bigger bad ass than Eminem.

Last edited 1 year ago by Matthew Powell
Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

South Park is a pale imitation of what it was at its prime in my opinion

Nicholas Treklis
Nicholas Treklis
1 year ago
Reply to  Matthew Powell

k

Last edited 1 year ago by Nicholas Treklis
Martin Bollis
MB
Martin Bollis
1 year ago

Why all these articles making a pop singer out to be some sort of messiah/philosopher figure?

He’s a pop star. If he was popular when you were in your teens, his music probably still gets you up to dad dance. If you were outside that age group, he’s another name in an endless rotation of popular culture figures you are vaguely aware of while paying the mortgage and trying to keep the kids on the straight and narrow.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

What an overly simplistic way of looking at music. It’s possible to enjoy something without being limited to your two categories of teens and Dads.

Martin Bollis
Martin Bollis
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

Oversimplified to make the point these people are passing fashions not substantive social phenomena.

Bach will still move the human soul in 200 years. Eminem not so much.

Last edited 1 year ago by Martin Bollis
Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Very few people (myself included) could tell you anything Bach did. It’s survived simply because it’s favoured by the upper classes

Arnold Grutt
AG
Arnold Grutt
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

“It’s survived simply because it’s favoured by the upper classes”

Uh-huh. NEXT!!!!!

Last edited 1 year ago by Arnold Grutt
Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

That’s a very long bow you’re drawing there. Are you disputing that classical music is very much an upper class affair?
It’s a music genre that hasn’t changed or been added to in any meaningful way for a couple of centuries, and to its fans that means it’s better than popular music which is looked down on as it’s constantly evolving. I’ve always found it to be a mild form of snobbery to be honest

Edit: I see you’ve completely changed the nature of your comment so mine now doesn’t make much sense

Last edited 1 year ago by Billy Bob
Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Let us look, regardless of taste, at popular music in the 1970s, and the artistic, creative and musical skill of those who performed, whether motown, pop,R and B, solos, bands, heavy rock, ballads, country, or a number of other genres?

Clapton, The Beatles, Led Zepplin, Crosby Stills, Barbara Streisand, Carpenters, untold numbers of ” one hit wonders” like Procul Harum, Colin Blunstone, and others.. Bee Gees, the Who, and more motown stars than I can remember who combined gospel, blues, wind, strings, beat and electric? And on and on… Why do the youth of today still have this music at their dances, discos and parties,

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

The youth like to listen to music that is relevant to them, if you weren’t still living in the 70s you would realise rap songs like ‘ghetto gospel’ Tupac featuring Elton John do bring all those elements together, there’s plenty more, rap songs like DJ shadow ft mos def 6 days:
I got a feeling there’s gonna be a riot
I don’t read the newspapers because they all have
Ugly prints
Check me out
Check me out
Bring it on! Bring it on!
Bring it on ’cause there’s gonna be some shit tonight!
At the starting of the week
At summit talks you’ll hear them speak
It’s only Monday
Negotiations breaking down
See those leaders start to frown
It’s sword and gun day
Tomorrow never comes until it’s too late
You could be sitting taking lunch
The news will hit you like a punch
It’s only Tuesday
(What time is it?)
You never thought we’d go to war
After all the things we saw
It’s April Fool’s Day
(What time is it?)
Tomorrow never comes until it’s too late
Tomorrow never comes until it’s too late
Tomorrow is another day
Today is another bomb
Tomorrow is another day
Today is another bomb
Tomorrow is another day
Today is another bomb
Tomorrow is another day
Today is another, bomb
Fire!
Here goes a shot!
Escalation, devastation
Generation, separation
Situation, dissipation
Shot!
Another shot another shot
The tender vessel pressure pop
The heart is cold the gun is hot(shot)
I’m not sure if they done or not
I’m not sure that they wanna stop
The gun is cold the blood is hot(shot)
(Shot shot shot shot shot shot shot)
The hearts are weak the guns are not
You hear a whistling overhead
Are you alive or are you dead?
It’s only Thursday
(What time is it?)
You feel the shaking of the ground
A million candles burn around
Is it your birthday?
(What time is it?)
Tomorrow never comes until it’s too late (get tomorrow on the phone)
Trying to be smart, get tomorrow on the phone
Tomorrow never comes until it’s too late (I need to see tomorrow)
You trying to reach tomorrow
Think tomorrow’s come I think it’s too late

And flobots handlebars:
I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handlebars
No handlebars
I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handlebars
No handlebars
Look at me, look at me
Hands in the air like it’s good to be
Alive, and I’m a famous rapper
Even when the paths are all crookedy
I can show you how to do-si-do
I can show you how to scratch a record
I can take apart the remote control
And I can almost put it back together
I can tie a knot in a cherry stem
I can tell you about Leif Ericson
I know all the words to “”
And “”
Me and my friend saw a platypus
Me and my friend made a comic book
And guess how long it took
I can do anything that I want, ’cause, look
I can keep rhythm with no metronome
No metronome
No metronome
And I can see your face on the telephone
On the telephone
On the telephone
Look at me, look at me
Just called to say that it’s good to be
Alive in such a small world
I’m all curled up with a book to read
I can make money, open up a thrift store
I can make a livin’ off a magazine
I can design an engine
Sixty-four miles to a gallon of gasoline
I can make new antibiotics
I can make computers survive aquatic
Conditions, I know how to run the business
And I can make you wanna buy a product
Movers, shakers and producers
Me and my friends understand the future
I see the strings that control the system
I can do anything with no resistance
‘Cause I can lead a nation with a microphone
With a microphone
With a microphone
And I can split the atom of a molecule
Of a molecule
Of a molecule
Look at me, look at me
Drivin’ and I won’t stop
And it feels so good to be alive and on top
My reach, is global
My tower, secure
My cause, is noble
My power, is pure
I can hand out a million vaccinations
Or let ’em all die of exasperation
Have ’em all healed of their lacerations
Have ’em all killed by assassination
I can make anybody go to prison
Just because I don’t like ’em
And I can do anything with no permission
I have it all under my command because
I can guide a missile by satellite
By satellite
By satellite
And I can hit a target through a telescope
Through a telescope
Through a telescope
And I can end the planet in a holocaust
In a holocaust
In a holocaust
In a holocaust
In a holocaust
In a holocaust
I can ride my bike with no handlebars
No handlebars
No handlebars
These are relevant to our times in a way that the beegees or half those band could be.
Do have appreciation for 70s music though, my dad was born in the 60s, he reckoned the bee gees were awful, we used to listen to Ian dury, dire straits, the doors, the eagles and genesis from that era, when we were kids we used to think Ian dury was the coolest, and ‘this is what we find’ would be contraversial even by today’s standards, we thought it was the most hilarious song ever:

Morning Reg, meat and two veg?
He done him with a ten pound sledge
He done himself a favour crash

Forty year-old arse-wipe, Mrs. Elizabeth Walker of Lambeth Walk
Had a husband who was jubblified
With only half a stalk
So she had a milk of magnesia and curry powder sandwich
Half a pound of uncut pork
Took an overdose of Omo, this made the neighbours talk
Could have been watching Frankie Vaughan
On the telly and giving herself a scratch
This is what we find
This is what we find
This is what we find
A sense of humour is required
Amongst our bacon rind
Hello, Brian, wash and iron?
Try it on, it’s only nylon
Single bachelor with little dog, Tony Green of Turnham Green
Said, “Who’s a clever boy, then, girl”
Yes you know whom I mean
‘Cause the mongrel laid a cable in the sandpit
Of the playground of the park
Where they had been
And with a bit of tissue
He wiped its bum-hole clean
A bit of claggy on the waggy
This is what we find
This is what we find
This is what we find
I must have had a funny time

On the Golden Hind
O vanitas vanitatum
Which of us is happy in this life?
Which of us has our desire
Or having it, is gratified?
Hello, Mrs. Wood
This boy looks familiar, they used to call him Robin Hood
Now he’s Robin f****** sh** c**t

Home improvement expert
Harold Hill of Harold Hill
Of do-it-yourself dexterity
And double-glazing skill
Came home to find another gentleman’s kippers in the grill
So sanded off his winkle
With his Black and Decker drill
This is what we find
This is what we find
This is what we find
The hope that springs eternal
Springs right up your behind

Linda Hutchinson
LH
Linda Hutchinson
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

No, no, no. It doesn’t matter if you can’t say anything about Bach himself; it’s the music that counts, and the music has survived because of it is sublime. His music can touch the soul, it can give rise to intense emotional responses, it even has an intellectual power. Perhaps the same will be said of Eminem about 300 years from now, who knows? But I’m willing to speculate.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

no, apparently unless you are wearing a signet ring, have a hunting mascot on your car bonnet, sport a ” Brigade” watchstrap and have tapes on your tail coat, and are wearing a Schoffel, Bach music cannot be played on any electrical device… seriously… I read this on the interweb alongside climate change so it must be true?

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

yes, and The Chief Rabbi is Muslim…

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

”substantive social phenomena.”
Care to have a go at defining that?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Oversimplified to make the point these people are passing fashions not substantive social phenomena.”
But who cares, it was fun.

Tyler Brown
TB
Tyler Brown
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Bach sucks. Eminem is more of a Mozart. He will always be a relevant historic figure. Bach is the Blockbuster on Demand of classical artists. He tried and did well but he had no grassroots, brick and mortar backing. Eminem has, like Mozart, a REAL backing. Mozart has the entire ART industry in his name. Eminem has an entire candy and the spaghetti restaraunt “mom’s spaghetti”. Bach has nothing. Bach is nothing. Go frick yourself Bach.

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

He’s right though. In fifty years time, no-one will remember Eminem except people who can’t dance. There are many global celebrities from the first half of the 1900s who are almost completely forgotten now.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

In 50 years time kids who find Eminem by chance might actually be stunned to hear such lyrics and music and wonder at it.

Tom Houser
Tom Houser
1 year ago
Reply to  Brett H

It was a PERFECT way of looking at music
I outgrew pop music when I was about 25 b/c I had a job, home, and was a varsity coach. I only listen to ANY now b/c I coach teenagers. And music now is just it’s been since Big Band music: for kids. We all grow out of pop music eventually.

Last edited 1 year ago by Tom Houser
B Emery
BE
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

As a kid of the 90s Im an eminem fan, and this song, rather than ‘dad dance’ still makes me want to take on the establishment! (humour intended) I think this article should have mentioned MOSH some lyrics:
Let the president answer a higher anarchy
Strap him with an Ak-47, let him go, fight his own war
Let him impress daddy that way
No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our own soil
No more psychological warfare, to trick us to thinking that we ain’t loyal
If we don’t serve our own country, we’re patronizing a hero
Look in his eyes its all lies
The stars and stripes, they’ve been swiped, washed out and wiped
And replaced with his own face, Mosh now or die
If I get sniped tonight you know why,
Cause I told you to fight.
Come along follow me as I lead through the darkness
As I provide just enough spark that we need to proceed
Carry on, give me hope, give me strength

This is about the Iraq war, and takes bush to task in a way no massive mainstream artists did at the time did, and ‘if I get sniped you know why’ recognised the danger of taking on the establishment, I’m finding it hard to word the effect it had on me and my peers but I will leave it at inspirational and it put into words that fear that actually this war was not in the name of American values and democracy at all, gave us a different perspective. At the time it was reviewed:
] DX magazine wrote that “he (Eminem) turns political and blatantly lashes out at Bush on ‘Mosh’ (sure to cause some repercussions from politicians considering his visibility).NME magazine wrote a favorable review: “And then there’s ‘Mosh’. Oh boy, there’s ‘Mosh’. — Should ‘Encore’ prove to be a swansong, then ‘Mosh’ is its blaze of glory, a scalding assault on the Bush regime that hits all the harder for its arriving days too late. The rapper sounds absolutely livid as he mounts a stealthy assault on the Prez that swells with density and rage over its five minutes until fire and brimstone is raining down on the shitwit Texan’s perpetually befuddled head. Although you might argue that everything Eminem says is inherently political through the sheer numbers that he reaches and the sheer anti-social nature of most of what he espouses, this is a different kettle of politicised fish entirely. “If it rains, let it rain/Yeah, the wetter the better/They ain’t gonna stop us, they can’t/We’re stronger now more than ever”, he rages with a demented fervour that makes Rage Against the Machine sound like Belle & Sebastian. And if that non-specific rabble-rousery is a little on the vague side, the likes of “Stomp, push, shove, mush/f**k Bush until they bring our troops home” should make it crystal clear. On a more base level, it’s f**** fantastic to jump up and down and bang your head to, which is the level where politics and pop most effectively connect.”[7] Steve Jones of USA Today said that the song “[lambastes] President Bush and his war policies.”[8]
]
I think I consider him inspirational maybe rather than a role model as such. But he was no doubt far more influencial than any of the manufactured artists at the time.

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Ian Stewart
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Poets and rock music writers communicated passion, anger and vulnerability far more powerfully using nuance and metaphors. This is crude sledgehammer art, but suited to our times.

B Emery
BE
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Ian Stewart

Taken as a whole I do not see why this can’t be read as poetry I’ll share the lot:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America
And to the Republic for which it stands
One nation under God
Indivisible with liberty and justice for all…
It feels so good to be back.
I scrutinize every word, memorize every line
I spit it once, refuel, re-energize and rewind
I give sight to the blind, my insight through the mind
I exercise my right to express when I feel it’s time
It’s just all in your mind, what you interpret it as
I say to fight, you take it as I’mma whip someone’s ass
If you don’t understand, don’t even bother to ask
A father who has grown up with a fatherless past
Who has blown up now to rap phenomenon that has
Or at least shows no difficulty multi-task
And in juggling both perhaps mastered his craft
Slash entrepreneur who has helped launch a few more rap acts
Who’s had a few obstacles thrown his way through the last half
Of his career typical manure moving past that
Mr. kisses ass crack, he’s a class act
Rubber band man, yea he just snaps back
Come along follow me as I lead through the darkness
As I provide just enough spark that we need to proceed
Carry on, give me hope, give me strength
Come with me and I won’t steer you wrong
Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog
To the light at the end of the tunnel
We gonna fight, we gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march
Through the swamp, we gonna mosh through the marsh
Take us right through the doors (c’mon)
All the people up top on the side and the middle
Come together lets all bomb and swamp just a little
Just let it gradually build from the front to the back
All you can see is a sea of people some white and some black
Don’t matter what color, all that matters we gathered together
To celebrate for the same cause don’t matter the weather
If it rains let it rain, yea the wetter the better
They ain’t gonna stop us they can’t, we stronger now more than ever
They tell us no we say yea, they tell us stop we say go
Rebel with a rebel yell, raise hell we gonna let em know
Stomp, push, shove, mush, Fu** Bush, until they bring our troops home (c’mon)
Come along follow me as I lead through the darkness
As I provide just enough spark that we need to proceed
Carry on, give me hope, give me strength
Come with me and I won’t steer you wrong
Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog
To the light at the end of the tunnel
We gonna fight, we gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march
Through the swamp, we gonna mosh through the marsh
Take us right through the doors (c’mon)
Imagine it pouring, it’s raining down on us
Mosh pits outside the oval office
Someone’s tryina tell us something,
Maybe this is God just sayin’ we’re responsible
For this monster, this coward,
That we have empowered
This is Bin Laden (Bush) , look at his head noddin’
How could we allow something like this without pumping our fists
Now this is our final hour
Let me be the voice in your strength and your choice
Let me simplify the rhyme just to amplify the noise
Try to amplify the times it, and multiply by six…
Teen million people, Are equal at this high pitch
Maybe we can reach alqueda through my speech
Let the president answer a higher anarchy
Strap him with an Ak-47, let him go, fight his own war
Let him impress daddy that way
No more blood for oil, we got our own battles to fight on our own soil
No more psychological warfare, to trick us to thinking that we ain’t loyal
If we don’t serve our own country, we’re patronizing a hero
Look in his eyes its all lies
The stars and stripes, they’ve been swiped, washed out and wiped
And replaced with his own face, Mosh now or die
If I get sniped tonight you know why,
Cause I told you to fight.
Come along follow me as I lead through the darkness
As I provide just enough spark that we need to proceed
Carry on, give me hope, give me strength
Come with me and I won’t steer you wrong
Put your faith and your trust as I guide us through the fog
To the light at the end of the tunnel
We gonna fight, we gonna charge, we gonna stomp, we gonna march
Through the swamp, we gonna mosh through the marsh
Take us right through the doors (c’mon)
And as we proceed,
To Mosh through this desert storm,
In these closing statements, if they should argue
Let us beg to differ
As we set aside our differences
And assemble our own army
To disarm this Weapon of Mass Destruction
That we call our President, for the present
And Mosh for the future of our next generation
To speak and be heard
Mr. President, Mr. Senator

Do you guy’s hear us… hear us…

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Having overseen the use of automatic rifles, including an AK 47, the answer is manifestly ” no” for him… The armourers would not allow him to have a ” card” to get his hands on the weapon in the first place….

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago

He’s talking about president Bush.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Is there actually many on here that grew up in 90s?

Last edited 1 year ago by B Emery
Julian Farrows
Julian Farrows
1 year ago
Reply to  B Emery

Yes, but Eminem didn’t appeal to me very much. That may just be me though. I’m more a musical listener than a lyrical one and was busy clubbing in Amsterdam in the 1990s.

B Emery
B Emery
1 year ago
Reply to  Julian Farrows

Um I meant like a child in the 90s? If you were in Amsterdam clubbing then you were not a kid, I meant people born in the 90s. So I was 14 when mosh was released in 2004. I’ll take it its mostly older folks on here!

Maestro Benir
Maestro Benir
1 year ago
Reply to  Martin Bollis

Spot on m8! alas we r in a PAGAN type culture, GODless in many ways. Esp among Hollywood types! Libertine nitemare! ….people look for morality in Brad Pitt and Jolie types, Kardashians and Crazy Kanye? These people r usually undereducated and have serious orgy parties … and they never invite me! waaahhhh!

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

Eminem/Marshall Mathers: it makes me realise how much things have changed and how homogenised everything’s become. Gluing yourself to the pavement is nothing compared to someone like Eminem rapping. It doesn’t matter if he’s still relevant or not. He was there for a while and that’s enough. Not a role model. Thank god. Role models are about control.

Last edited 1 year ago by Brett H
Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

But it does feel so empty.

Cho Jinn
Cho Jinn
1 year ago

Yeah, no. Talented and influential, sure, but also a brazen misogynist who, on cue, embraces the standard-issue entertainment industry banalities to stay relevant. Certainly not a role model, though perhaps a (yet another) model of an artist who shuns his original fan base.

polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Cho Jinn

Yeah, let’s slap some b*tches and murder some h0mosexuals. It’s rap: Such doggerel, such art, such talent – Such cr@p kultcha!

Billy Bob
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I’ll agree that what you’ve described is 99% of rap music and I can’t stand the genre. Eminem however was a much more talented lyricist, even if I’m not a huge fan I can appreciate he was a very clever writer

polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

What really exercises me is how earlier iterations of “black” music turned from this:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_8yGGtVKrD8
for example.
To that. In just a couple of generations.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

I can’t stand Jazz. Play as many different instruments as loud as you can, all with different timing and you’ve got yourself a jazz band

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Yeah freeform is a challenge I can’t handle, but the jazz rock of the seventies was easier and enjoyable too.

polidori redux
PR
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Okay! Try Bessie Smith then. I accept that we can all have varying tastes, but rap is not a musical taste.

D M
D M
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

thanks for the link. I have seen it before but it is absolute class. Never mind the serious stuff which is normally why we are here, but just watch this people and enjoy genius mixed with pure analloyed joy.

Last edited 1 year ago by D M
Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

You forgot to mention the huge posteriors they love so much!

Nicky Samengo-Turner
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago
Reply to  polidori redux

and such an insult to the creative genius that was Motown music?

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago

White man successfully colonises black music – like the Stones et al, and that’s quite funny. A rebel conformist like the rest of them if they live beyond their twenties.

Allison Barrows
Allison Barrows
1 year ago

The thing about rap and hip hop is that it’s all me, me, ME. Eminem is a virtuoso lyricist, but in the end it’s all just angry narcissism and rival vengeance. Still, a lot of it is very funny. Sure beats the h*ll out of endless grunts of uh, yyeeeah, yo, ungh, and varying levels of filth on offer from other participants in the genre (see WAP, if you’ve got a strong stomach).

Aaron James
Aaron James
1 year ago

I have never heard his music, I bet it is dreadful.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

Unless you’re about 10 years old I find it hard to believe you’ve never heard a single track by Eminem

Arnold Grutt
AG
Arnold Grutt
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I am 69. I have never heard any track by ‘Eminem’. I don’t frequent places where I would be liable to hear one.

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

“I don’t frequent places where I would be liable to hear one.”
Like the radio.

Billy Bob
BB
Billy Bob
1 year ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

You never listened to the radio in the last 20 years then?

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

Stopped when it went hard left in the U.K. news shows, which was about 20 years ago.

polidori redux
polidori redux
1 year ago
Reply to  Billy Bob

I haven’t heard anything by Eminem either. I listen to the radio, but not to stations that play Eminem.

Allison Barrows
AB
Allison Barrows
1 year ago
Reply to  Arnold Grutt

I recommend “Rap God”. I’m 64.

Ian Stewart
IS
Ian Stewart
1 year ago
Reply to  Aaron James

It has very clever insights in the lyrics, but the music itself is quite tedious, like most rap.

Nicky Samengo-Turner
NS
Nicky Samengo-Turner
1 year ago

What on earth is this medium doing writing about this irrelevant quasi pond life? Who even cares, let alone knows who he is?

Brett H
Brett H
1 year ago

But there must be a lot of things out there you don’t know of. Which suggests you only want to know about things you know of. Which suggests you only want agreement. Maybe try and let just a little quiver of excitement enter your life?